Grand Marshal of the Parade

Being Grand Marshal of the New Haven Parade is unlike most Grand Marshals of other parades. Our Grand Marshal position is not a honoree position or special guest. The Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade Grand Marshal position is a working position of the Parade Committee. He or She is part of the Parade Officers for that year overseeing the daily operations and working to raise funds. This person has worked as a Parade Committee member for several years (average 10+ yrs), and moved up the ranks in various positions. They include but are not limited to; General Committee Member, Special Committee Chair, Event Chair, Chief of Staff, Secretary, and Parade Chairperson.

On this page you will find information on our current Grand Marshal, a list of our Past Grand Marshals (modern time), information on how the Grand Marshal is chosen, and his/her duties.

Grand Marshal Kelly Canning Ruickoldt

The 2014 Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be led by Grand Marsh Kelly Canning Ruickoldt.

nonameKelly Canning Ruickoldt, daughter of the late Francis (Buddy) & Joan Canning. Kelly is a second-generation Irish American. Her paternal grandfather, Francis Joseph Canning was born in the Townland of Gortnalug in the Parish of Mohill, County Leitrim. Kelly’s grandmother, Catherine Louise O’Brien Canning was born in Drumsna, County Leitrim. They immigrated to America in 1906.

Kelly was born in New Haven, CT. Her parents Buddy and Joan and siblings Karen, Holly, Michael and Peter moved to West Haven in 1960 from New Haven.  The family enjoyed all that West Haven has to offer and spent many wonderful years at Savin Rock and the West Shore beach.

Kelly is a very proud mother of her three grown children. Rebecca Sage, Melinda Kate (2005 St. Patrick’s Day Parade Queen) and son Michael Joseph Enright.   Kelly is married to Doug Ruickoldt. She is blessed to be a “Bonus Mom” to her husband’s two sons, Douglas and Nicholas Ruickoldt. Kelly and Doug reside in West Haven.

Kelly has been employed at the West Haven Community House since 1990 in the Head Start program as the Office Manager.  She enjoys many aspects of her job, most especially when reading in the classroom to the children as “Cat in the Hat”.

Kelly is a member of the West Haven Irish American Club. She has held the positions of Secretary, Vice President and became President in 2008. Kelly continues to be an active member in her Club and currently convenes on their Board of Directors.   Dear to Kelly’s heart is the not-for-profit W.H.E.A.T (West Haven Emergency Assistance Taskforce) programme.   Kelly donates and promotes this organization every chance she gets.

Kelly’s first march was in 2001 as a Parade Marshal for the West Haven Irish America Club.  She wore her top hat and tails with enormous pride as she marched down Chapel Street. It was that day she decided to join the Parade Committee…. the rest is history.

Choosing our Grand Marshal

The Grand Marshal of the Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade is chosen by the Executive Committee. This is done at its annual meeting in June.

The Executive Board consists of Permanent (Life) Members and Associate Members. The Permanent (Life) Members will include all past Grand Marshals of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. This may also be called the Past Grand Marshal Committee. Associate Members include the Presidents of the four (4) Sponsoring Irish Societies along with the Parade Treasurer and Parade Coordinators, if not past Grand Marshals.

Our Grand Marshals


Grand Marshal

2014 Kelly Canning Ruickoldt
2013 Joseph M. Lynch
2012 Kevin A. Smith
2011 Walter J. Nester, Jr.
2010 James J. McGovern
2009 Brian G. Enright
2008 Bernadette Smyth LaFrance
2007 Mary Lyng Malenda
2006 John E. Cannon
2005 Coleman W. Walsh, Jr.
2004 Eileen Sullivan Donadio
2003 Dorinda Keenan Borer
2002 Kevin J. Smith
2001 John J. Doyle
2000 Thomas E. Gallagher
1999 Michael McCann
1998 Mary Gallagher Carter
1997 Edward O’Neill
1996 Katie O’Keefe Gerhard
1995 William F. McCabe
1994 William T. O’Brien
1993 William M. Hackett
1992 Laurence McGivney
1991 Michael Bohan
1990 Thomas F. Slater
1989 Kathleen A. Reilly
1988 Cmdr. John R. O’Connor
1987 Robert C. Shanley
1986 Patrick J. Hanlon
1985 James H. Sullivan
1984 Finbarr Moynihan
1983 Capt. Walter J. Walsh
1982 Michael V. Lynch
1981 James C. Bohan
1980 Hon. Charles D. Gill
1979 Robert J. Eagan
1978 James J. Dinnan
1977 Stephen Madigan
1976 John C. O’Donovan
1975 Edward P. McMahon
1974 Raymond J. Eagan
1973 Wiliam J. Heffernan
1972 Joseph T. Carr
1971 William T. O’Connell
1970 Col. James T. Fleming
1969 Edward A. Taylor
1968 Ray Ward, Jr.
1967 Chief Francis J. Sweeney
1966 James C. Bowe
1965 Howard J. Sullivan
1964 Chief Francis V. McManus
1963 Col. Joseph H. Fleming
1961 John M. Golden
1960 Chief Thomas J. Collins
1959 Majr Gen. James M. Quinn
1958 Hon. James S. Shanley
1957 Patrick J. Goode
1956 William J. Clancy
Hon. Mayor Richard C. Lee
Hon. William F. Gallogly
Hon William F. Gallogly Jr.

Duties and Responsibilities

The Grand Marshal shall:

A)  Attend all meetings of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee and as many standing committee meetings as possible;

B)  Lead the St. Patrick’s Day Parade;

C)  Review and sign the Parade orders;

D)  Assist the Chairperson on all matters pertaining to the Parade;

E)  Chair the General Committee meetings in the absence of the Chairperson;

F)  Meet with the present officers, along with the Executive Committee Chairperson, prior to the first General Committee meeting to explain and coordinate officers’ duties;

G)  Be responsible for collecting minutes of each meeting, any correspondence, and all public relations material pertaining to the Parade. All this shall be kept in a binder during the year, and at the first executive meeting attended it shall be turned over to the Executive members;

H)  Be directly involved in all aspects of fundraising to support the parade.