Each Summer, the Morris County Saint Patrick’s Day Parade Trustees select the Grand Marshal for the following year’s parade. The Trustees unanimously selected T. Michael Quinn as 2017 Grand Marshal in recognition of his community activities and his strong commitment to and support of Irish culture in Morris County.
Mike says he is humbled by his selection. When informed that he was selected he said he was at a loss for words. He had been instrumental in bringing the Parade to Morristown and noted, “Since our first meeting with the then Mayor Norman Block 27 years ago asking him if we could have a Parade in Morristown, I never imagined I would be asked to be the Grand Marshal. What an honor!”
Mike and his wife Jacquelyn are long-time residents of Morris County. Mike’s parents, Thomas and Lois, were both in United States Marines and Mike was born in Quantico, Virginia. After his parents were discharged the family moved to Victory Road in West Orange. Following in his parent’s tradition in 1963 Mike joined the USMC. Mike is the oldest of three children, his sister, Patricia Anne Quinn Walkup and brother, Mark Quinn.
Mike has always been proud of his Irish Heritage, which can be traced back to Galway, Ireland. One of Mike’s fondest memories as a young boy is holding his Dad’s hand and walking in the NYC Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. His Irish Pride has inspired him to be involved in numerous Irish activities. Including but not limited to, helping to organize with the National Park Service, a plaque displayed in Jockey Hollow commemorating the more than 75% of Irish troops stationed there during the Revolutionary War and a reenactment of the first Saint Patrick’s Day Parade held in the United States, as a celebration of Irish recognition during the Revolutionary War. Mike also assisted in many different capacities with the annual Irish Feis sponsored by the Irish American Association of North West Jersey.
At the age of seven his family moved to East Hanover where Mike attended grammar school and three years at Hanover Park High School before moving to Florida. After graduating high school in West Palm Beach Florida, he attended the Dwight Stark School of Art. After graduation, he moved back to New Jersey in order to pursue a career in New York City as an Artist. It didn’t take Mike long to realize that a career in art wasn’t for him. Moving on, Mike found a position with Hewlett Packard as a designer. There he gained valuable knowledge of electricity. He then took an examination to become an Electrician with the State of New Jersey while working at Martland Hospital, in Newark. There he joined Local 68 Stationary Engineers. While working full time he also attended Newark College of Engineering and studied Electrical Engineering. Mike’s Licenses include: New Jersey State License for Interior Design, New Jersey Engineers License and a New Jersey Refrigeration License. For the last 30 years he has enjoyed working in his own business designing, building, furnishing; Commercial, Healthcare, Industrial and Institutional interiors.
Mike has been married to Jacquelyn Swetz Quinn for over 49 years and are parishioners of St. Vincent’s in Madison. They have two children Brian and Amy. Brian, a proud member of the Friendly Sons for over twenty-five years and his wife, Ines and Mike’s grandson Zachary live in Chester, New Jersey. Mike’s daughter Amy lives in California.
In his commitment to being active in the community, in 1968 Mike joined the Morristown Fire Department and held various administrative and line officer’s positions. He is still a member. After moving to Florham Park he joined the Florham Park Volunteer Fire Department and held the position of President and line officer’s positions for many years. He is a New Jersey State Exempt Fire Fighter. Mike also volunteered with Habitat for Humanity spending weeks in New Orleans rebuilding after Katrina.
As a founding member, of the Morris County Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick (FSSP), he has served in many capacities, including President. Mike is also a founding member of the current Morris County Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, held in Morristown the Saturday before Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated. He has served as a Trustee of the Parade organization and for many years on the Finance and Parade Committees.
The Morris County Saint Patrick’s Day Parade started in Wharton in 1979 by the Irish American Association of Northwest New Jersey (IAANWJ). It grew in size and popularity until it outgrew the town of Wharton and was moved to Morristown. Mike worked closely with Morristown administration, the Irish American Association of Northwest New Jersey and the Friendly Sons to bring the parade to Morristown. During the evolution of the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in Morristown, Mike was instrumental in starting the “Pre-Parade” festivities on the day of the Morris County Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. The Pre-Parade show was formed to entertain the large crowd of spectators lining up early by the Green to watch the Parade. It includes the “Painting of the Shamrocks” by local youth organizations. The tradition of painting Shamrock’s dates back 27 years ago to the first modern day Parade in Morristown when 4 members of the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick, known today as the infamous “Shamrock 4”, painted 4 Shamrocks in the street the morning of the first parade. Mike is also a member of the IAANWJ, the founding organization of the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade when the Parade was held in Wharton, New Jersey.
Combined, the parade through both The Friendly Sons and The Irish American organizations donates to various charities and organizations in the Morris County area. In the past 26 years these contributions have in excess of half a million dollars. Mike has proudly served in both of these organizations because they promote Irish heritage, language, traditions and education.
After his successful career, Mike is now retired. Mike and Jacquelyn enjoy traveling in their motorhome sightseeing new places, and meeting new people. They say getting there is part of the adventure as is capturing those memories with Mike’s photography skills.