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Aides to the grand marshal named for Jim Thorpe parade

Published January 29. 2010 05:00PM

This year's aides to the grand marshal have also been announced for the 13th Annual Carbon County St. Patrick's Day Parade in Jim Thorpe.

Ronald Sheehan, Carbon County treasurer and charter member of the Carbon County Ancient Order of Hiberians, said they are selected by the A.O.H. and the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians members, based upon how they represent the motto of friendship, unity and Christian charity.

The aides include Marie D. Mriss of Lehighton; and Rita O'Donnell, Noel Behan, and Ron Sheehan, all of Jim Thorpe.

Mriss is the daughter of the late Edward J. and Rotha (Dot) Snyder Conarty of Packerton.

A lifelong resident of the Lehighton area, Mriss attends SS. Peter and Paul Church, and has been active in numerous fundraising projects within the parish. She is also a member of the Altar and Rosary Society, where she served as vice president.

Mriss worked at the former Cohns and Brights Department stores and Allen shoe store, and is a charter member of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, Molly Maguire Division 1 of Carbon County.

She is the widow of Paul S. Mriss. They had one son, Paul E. and his wife Ruth Ann. She also has three grandchildren, Michael, Patrick and his wife Dawn, and Allison; and a great-granddaughter, Brynn. She also has a brother, Edward J. Conarty Jr.

O'Donnell was born in Erie to Frank and Mary Vandenbord, and moved to Mauch Chunk in May 1945, when her father was named the executive director of the Carbon-Monroe Association for the Blind.

She attended Immaculate Conception grade school and graduated from Mauch Chunk Catholic High School in 1950.

She is the widow of Leo "Chubby" O'Donnell, who passed away in 2002. They have three children, Leo and his wife Jane; Marianne and her husband George Lazorick; and Tom and his wife Donna; and eight grandchildren.

She is a member of Immaculate Conception Church and is a member of the choir and the clean team.

As a member of the L.A.O.H., O'Donnell serves as the mistress at arms.

Behan was born in Dublin, Ireland, and currently resides in Jim Thorpe with his wife Bernadette Behan. They have three children, Mark and Darren, both of Jim Thorpe; and Paul of Florida.

He is co-chairman of the parade committee, having been one of the originators of the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade; and is an active member in the A.O.H. In years past, he has also been known to sing the Irish National Anthem in Gaelic at the start of the parade.

Behan is also a well-known business owner in Jim Thorpe, opening the Emerald Restaurant in Jim Thorpe in 1993 and the Molly Maguires Pub in 1994.

The two establishments have since combined with JT's All American Steak and Ale House, another restaurant owned by Behan, to become the Molly Maguires Pub and Steakhouse in Jim Thorpe.

Sheehan is the youngest son of John W. and the late Shirley (O'Neill) Sheehan. He has 10 nieces and nephews, three of whom died in infancy. He also has one grand-niece.

After graduating from Jim Thorpe High School in 1983, Sheehan spent nine years in the banking industry before being named to the position of accountant/ fiscal deputy in the Carbon County Controller's office.

In 2001, he was elected the county's treasurer, a position he still holds today.

A lifelong resident of Jim Thorpe, Sheehan has always been very active in the community.

He served on the Jim Thorpe Borough Council for eight years; was chairman of the Police Pension Fund Board and Fire Department Trust Fund Board; represented council on the board of directors of the Dimmick Memorial Library; and served as secretary to the Memorial Park Commission, Jim Thorpe Planning Commission, and Jim Thorpe Civil Service Commission.

His other affiliations include holding officer positions in the Jim Thorpe Area Sports Hall of Fame, Mauch Chunk Historical Society, Jim Thorpe Rotary Club, Jim Thorpe Lions Club, Community Nurse program, Evergreen Cemetery board of directors, Jim Thorpe National Bank, Asa Packer Mansion, the A.O.H., Carbon County Democratic Executive Board, Jim Thorpe Democratic Association, and World War II Monuments Restoration Committee.

He was also instrumental in the Jim Thorpe Borough's 50th Anniversary Committee and the "Jim Thorpe Athlete of the Century" celebrations; as well as one of the originators of the St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Sheehan was honored as a community hero by the Mauch Chunk Trust Company in 2002; was named Hibernian of the Year in 2004; and served as grand marshal of the 10th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in 2007.

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