Mike McCormick was born and raised in West Orange, NJ, the oldest of three children, with sister Kathleen coming next and then brother Brian, born to Thomas, Jr., and Nora “Pat” McCormick. Before Tom passed in 2014, Tom and Pat were happily married for 56 years, and had their wedding reception at The Manor in West Orange in 1958.
The historic lineage of McCormick’s in West Orange stretches back for 135 years, beginning with Mike’s great-grandfather John McCormick immigrating from French Park, County Roscommon in 1888. Upon arriving in the States, he was greeted by the Blizzard of ’88, but kept the faith and stayed on to create a legacy for generations to come. John started out as a gardener in Llewellyn Park, and once West Orange created the official police force in the 1890’s John found his calling and joined what might be referred to as the “first class” of the West Orange Police Department – Badge #8.
Years later John’s son Thomas, Sr. - Mike’s grandfather - joined the rank and file of the West Orange Police Department and remained a lifelong resident of West Orange. As a child Mike remembers the stories his grandfather told about his retirement years when he ended up working alongside Thomas A. Edison when he worked at his laboratories on Main Street in West Orange.
Mike’s mother, Nora’s family’s Irish lineage begins with her father, Michael Kerr who hails from Portsalon, County Donegal. He came to the United States at the age of 15 with his father John and 2 brothers Daniel and George. His Mother Margaret Sweeney Kerr and sisters Nellie and Peggy came later. Nora’s mother, Mary Kerr, came to the United States in 1920 at the age of 18. She came through Ellis Island, by herself, from Gortiness, Cloghan, County Donegal. Michael’s maternal grandparents met in Brooklyn, NY and were soon married. They eventually settled in Newark, NJ where Nora “Pat” was born, the 4th of 5 children.
Mike’s passion for the Shillelagh Club came from watching his parents work and volunteer their time in promoting their Irish heritage and comradery. Mike is very proud of the years of service he has given to the Club including serving on the Executive Board as Corresponding Secretary, in addition Mike headed up the Annual Dinner Dance Gala as Chairman. Mike and his wife Karen can always be found supporting and promoting the Irish American community at year-round events both in West Orange and throughout the State.
Currently, Mike works in the property management business. In addition, he is the Vice President of the Michael T. McCormick, Jr. Memorial Foundation – a foundation named after their son, Michael Jr., who was suddenly taken from them on his 19th birthday in 2009. The Foundation has raised hundreds of thousands of scholarship dollars to assist deserving students in the community including Seton Hall Prep, and Rutgers School of Dental Medicine. In addition to scholarships, the foundation also supports many community organizations including the WO PAL. The foundation was very proud of its work in providing a new digital scoreboard erected in right field at the PAL complex in 2018.
Thirty-three years ago, Mike married Karen Kodman McCormick (Irish on her Mother’s side – the McKeon’s from County Sligo, the province of Connacht and the Beirne family from County Roscommon in the province of Connacht), and set about to raise their family in West Orange. Together they were blessed to raise two children, Michael Jr., and Meaghan. Mike and Karen are looking forward to an exciting year ahead as Meaghan, who has recently completed her professional schooling at RSDM and her residency at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York, became a licensed Dentist in NJ. Meaghan also recently became engaged to Dr. Marcus Santo, also a dentist. The happy couple are planning a September 2023 wedding and continuing the McCormick West Orange lineage. The joke in the McCormick household is that the wedding will be a West Orange “homecoming” as Meaghan has also kept her strong ties to her hometown like her generations before.
Meg McNerney Brill has been a lifelong resident of the township of West Orange but traces her Irish roots back to Dublin, Ireland. Meg was born Margaret Eileen McNerney (nick Name Meg) and will be celebrating her 60th birthday on March 18th. Meg’s parents, Howard and Dolores McNerney, bought their family home in the 1950s in the St. Joseph’s neighborhood of our town. Meg has 2 sisters Evelyn Jean and Shirley Beth and while their parents have passed away the family continues to be close and love spending time with each other’s families continuing the traditions we were raised with. Meg graduated West Orange high school in 1982 and will forever be a West Orange High Cowboy. Meg’s husband Rick Brill graduated from West Orange Mountain High in 1983. Together Rick and Meg Live Work and have raised the 2 boys in town. Matthew and Luke attended West Orange schools and have successfully graduated Matt from Fairleigh Dickenson and Luke from Kean University.
Meg’s previous work experience includes ten years in New York City with The American International Group (AIG). Shortly after leaving AIG Meg began raising a family and working in downtown West Orange with her husband, Rick as owners of Advantage Pest Control. Currently Meg is the Executive Director for the Downtown West Orange Alliance and has led the organization for the past 10 years.
Over the years Meg has been elected twice to the West Orange Board of Education, is an active member of the Life Christian Church, is a Rotarian and past president of the West Orange Rotary Club, served on the planning committee for the Vietnam Traveling Wall Memorial and many other causes near to her heart. Meg has served on the high school scholarship fund and raises thousands of fundraising dollars in all her positions. Together Meg and Rick are involved in every aspect of life in West Orange and truly love calling West Orange Home.
“The parade” which is what we always called it, has been a family tradition for the McNerney’s ever since we could remember. “I’m honored, humbled, and excited to March this year alongside my family and the other honorees.
Rich was born August 14, 1961, at Saint Michael’s hospital in Newark, N.J. He is the second of three children by the late Aloysius and Marianne (Sedges) Hughes and is brother to Aloysius Jr. and Christine (Baragona). Rich`s Grandparents Edward and Gladys Hughes moved their family to Newark, New Jersey in a time when many Irish families were moving away from Pennsylvania`s coal mine region`s that were harshly affected by widespread mine closings. Edward found work in the field of Ironworking which was booming in Newark during the 50s and 60`s. Rich`s father Aloysius and two brothers, Jerry, and John, who also had a sister Patricia, followed in their dad`s footsteps working out of Ironworkers Union Local 11 in Bloomfield. His mother Marianne was a lifelong server, working in several West Orange locations, The Tory Corner Diner, Ann`s Clam Bar, and Rock Spring Country Club.
Rich moved to West Orange in 1969 at the age of eight. He attended Washington and Fairmont Grammar Schools, Edison Middle School, and West Orange High School. While in school, he excelled in sports having earned All-State honors in football and wrestling his way to a championship in New Jersey District 8 Tournament his senior year in 1979. After his school years, he continued his passion for sports playing in several adult softball and flag football leagues, played rugby for the Newark Shepherds, and enjoyed coaching for the West Essex Youth Wrestling and football programs.
Rich marched in his first West Orange St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 1979 as an aide to the Grand Marshal for the late Terry O`Reilly. He Joined the Irish American Society of the Oranges at the age of 22 in 1983 and went on to serve as Sargent of Arms, Vice President, and President. He has carried their banner with pride in the parade for more than 35 years, most years with best friend John O`Reilly, and recently with his son Rudi Hughes. In that time, he has supplied the banner and flags to the parade`s yearly morning mass. He is also the father of Casey Hughes, his eldest, and is proud to say that both son and daughter have marched in every West Orange St. Patrick`s Day Parade since their birth. Whether pushed in a stroller by their mother Margaret O`Reilly (2010 Deputy Grand Marshal) or eagerly helping dad carry the banner and flags, it has always been a treasured tradition in the family. He has also enjoyed being chairperson for many of the IASO`s annual picnics and served in the past as the society`s delegate to the parade committee.
Rich is the Chief Engineer at the Doubletree Newark Penn Station Hotel in Newark, where he just celebrated his 30th year. He is a 43-year member of Local 68 Operating Engineers of West Caldwell and is a graduate of their apprenticeship school. He holds a Red Seal license in steam generation and a Blue Seal license in refrigeration. His other employment through the years have included, The West Orange Board of Education, Macy`s in Menlo Park, and Bloomingdale`s in Short Hills. He is a member of the Red Bank Elks and is a long-suffering fan of the New York Jets and New York Mets.
Rich and his wife Filomena (Loffredo) who is also a 1979 West Orange H.S. graduate reside in Red Bank and love to cook, entertain, and travel. They look forward to the upcoming West Orange St. Patrick`s Day Parade festivities and invite all family and friends to join them for a walk-up Main Street on parade day!
Michele McCue Shaffer was born in East Orange, New Jersey to William Spanky McCue and Ann Durkin McCue. Michele is proud of her Irish heritage and roots, which are on both sides. Her paternal grandparents are from Donegal and Sligo, and her maternal grandparents are from Mayo and Roscommon.
Michele grew up in the Doddtown section of East Orange, attending Holy Name Grammar School, and then moved to Denville (Morris County). She attended Morris Knolls High School (Class of 1979), Katharine Gibbs School in Montclair (Class of 1983), and received her Bachelor of Science in Human Resources from the College of St. Elizabeth (Class of 1995).
Michele’s father, Spanky, was an East Orange Fireman for almost 40 years and the proprietor of McRoy’s Pub in Clifton. Her parents were very involved in the Essex County Irish Community, including the Cryan Association, the Ruane Association, Project Children, the Women of Irish Heritage, the Shillelagh Club, the Essex County Emerald Society, and many other organizations. Michele’s parents were adamant about instilling the Irish culture, tradition, and pride. The West Orange Parade was a coveted event for the McCue family, and still is for the Shaffer family. Growing up, the families that ran the parade were affectionately referred to as “our West Orange Camelot”, signifying the importance and royalty of this parade. Michele’s
father was Deputy Grand Marshall of the West Orange Parade in 1994, walking proudly with Fran McEnerney, Susan Quigley Aker, and John McCrone. Her godmother, Ann Cully Malkinski was Deputy Grand Marshal in
Michele had promised her parents that the Irish heritage and culture they had instilled in the McCue family would be continued with their grandchildren and generations to come. In particular, that Michele and her family continue to support the West Orange Parade and work toward being an honoree.
Michele is active in her church, is the Unit Chairperson for the American Legion Girls State Program, and a volunteer for Wreaths Across America. She is also involved in the Eddie Mal Association, is a member of the Executive Board for the Women of Irish Heritage, a member of the Executive Board for the Sisters of St. Brigid, and the Irish American Association of the Oranges. She continues to be an active supporter of the Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh and the Essex County Emerald Society. The Shillelagh Club has always been
and always will be a special place, having grown up here and knowing how important the Club was to her parents, and 2022 was an especially endearing year when the Club nominated her as Friend of the Friendly Sons
for her work and support of the organization.
Michele and her husband, Steve, have been to Ireland three times since they got married and look forward to another trip upon retirement.
Michele is married to Stephen Shaffer, and they reside in Denville. They have three daughters – Anne, currently working on her Master’s Degree at Stockton University; Molly, a Criminal Justice/Sociology Major, graduated from Moravian University; and Colleen, a Politics/Journalism Major, graduated from Sacred Heart University.