Ninety-year-old Kenneth Johnson has been selected by the Moriches Chamber of Commerce as this year’s 2022 St. Patrick’s Day grand marshal.
“Just being with the people, I love this town,” Johnson said, excited by the honor.
He plans to attend the parade with his family and even some of his grand and great-grandchildren.
He and his wife, Grace, have four grown children, seven grandchildren and five—soon-to-be six—great-grandchildren. Johnson was born in Center Moriches in 1931, growing up on Redbridge Road. He is now the oldest living resident born in town.
He remembers being one of six people in the first sixth-grade class at the old Mastic, Manorville and East Moriches Middle School. He graduated in 1949 with 43 people in his graduating class.
After his marriage to Grace, they built a home on Howell Place, where they currently live. The couple has been married for 66 years. Grace is 82.
He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps during the Korean War and worked at a local duck farm, Bernstein Duck Farm & Nursery, in Manorville, the current location of IGHL. He eventually went on to work for Brookhaven National Laboratory in 1959. He retired after 42 years.
His Irish roots come from his family’s ancestors, and at the ripe age of 90, he said he now loves the holiday for the traditional corned beef and cabbage meal, though his daughter said he probably loved the holiday for the beer back in the day.
“I put in the paperwork for him,” his daughter Kim Johnson Hennessey said, proud of her father’s accomplishments and submitting him for the honor.
Johnson was known for his community service. He is a dedicated member of the Center Moriches Fire Department with over 70 years in active duty. He also served as a commissioner and chief.
“Ken Johnson was selected as grand marshal in recognition of the decades of service to the community that has included the Center Moriches Fire Department, the Suffolk County Fire Service, and as a member of the Center Moriches Board of Education,” said chamber president Art Gerhauser.
ABOUT THE PARADE
Center Moriches will host the 19th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade on Sunday, March 13 at 2 p.m. on Main Street. The parade begins on Lake Avenue and ends at Railroad Avenue and includes floats, fire departments and Irish bands.
The chamber’s dinner will be held on March 11 at 7 p.m. in honor of Johnson. Tickets are $75 per person.
For more information or to request to be part of the parade, visit www.moricheschamber.org.
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