WH St. Patrick’s Day Parade features honorees Lawless, Schalago and Kennedy

James Lawless, Mayor Alberto G. Santos, LisaAnne Schalago and Marybeth Kennedy Melanie Ryan image

The West Hudson St. Patrick’s Day Parade steps off Sunday, March 12, at 1 p.m. in Harrison, and winds its way north through East Newark and Kearny, with James Lawless as Grand Marshall and Marybeth Kennedy and LisaAnne Schalago as Deputy Grand Marshalls.

Here are biographies on the three honorees.

Grand Marshall James Lawless

Lawless has lived in West Hudson for more than 60 years, the last 20 in Kearny. He and his wife, Lori, have two children — James and John Lawless.

James attended Holy Cross Grammar School and is a Harrison High School graduate. He is a member of  the Harrison HS Sports Hall of Fame. Lawless studied further at Farleigh Dickinson University on an athletic scholarship, where he continued to play soccer. He was a team captain and at one point, was a top-20 rank nationally, having received all Metro Conference honors.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration. After graduation, he worked at St. James Hospital as a financial officer. However, in 1986, he says he was thrilled when he was appointed a Harrison firefighter.

In his time as a firefighter, he was also EMT-D certified and earner numerous commendations and was several times named Firefighter of the Year over his career. He ultimately ascended to the rank of captain and is currently president of the Harrison Firemen’s Relief and Firemen’s Exempts Association.

He retired circa 2011 after 25 years of service and now serves as a vice president of the Harrison Police and Firemen’s Federal Credit Union.

Over the years, he served many charitable organizations, including the Knights of Columbus, the Harrison-East Newark Elks, the Harrison Lion’s Club, the Holy Cross Finance Committee, the Holy Cross Guard of Honor, the Harrison Education Foundation, the Kearny Irish-American Club and the Ironbound Irish Association.

Deputy Grand Marshall LisaAnne Schalago

LisaAnne Schalago has lived in Kearny since 1968. She grew up on Windsor Street in an Irish, German and Italian home. Her paternal grandmother had family roots in the Counties of Dublin and Donegal in Ireland.  LisaAnne, the only daughter of Bernie and Roseann Steiner, attended St. Cecilia Grammar School along with her brothers John and Mark. She attended Washington School for junior high and then went on to Kearny High School, graduating in 1981.

She has four children, Kristine (Bart), Keri (Gabe), Mark (Emily) and Dylan (Emily) as well as her greatest gifts, her grandchildren, Jesse and Carter. LisaAnne was married to the late Mark J. Schalago Sr, who she says is still watching over the “clan” and will be smiling down on her on parade day.

A true “Townie,” she has worked in Kearny and Harrison since she was out of high school, starting with the Hartz Mountain Corporation. Many may recognize her from the West Hudson Chiropractic Center where she has been employed for well over three decades. She also works for the Kearny School District as an administrative assistant.

Understanding the meaning of giving back to the community, LisaAnne was a member of the Kearny Board of Education from May 2006 to January 2013. While she loved all the work she did on the board, the greatest moments were being able to give her sons their diplomas at their graduation ceremonies.

She has volunteered to coach for numerous recreation programs, despite her lack of athletic skills. Her thinking was the kids needed people to help.  With that in mind, she volunteered as a substitute CCD teacher at Our Lady of Sorrows, as a Brownie and Girl Scout leader, an assistant den leader for Cub Scouts, PTA member at KHS and PTA president at Franklin School.

She continues to support many local organizations, whether it is buying cookies, chocolate, shirts or attending tricky trays.

Safe to say, if you need her help, Lisa is there.

Whatever free time she has, she loves spending it with her pups Harper and Dally. You may even find her with her dancing shoes on or with a microphone in her hand, attempting karaoke.

A lover of all Kearny parades, her favorite by far is the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade sponsored by the United Irish Associations of West Hudson. Since she was a little girl, she has been practicing her “parade waive” — and is finally going to be able to use it.

Deputy Grand Marshall Marybeth Ruttler Kennedy

Kennedy has lived in Kearny for the last 35, and is married to husband, Ed. They have a daughter,

To say Kennedy is civic minded is a huge understatement. Among other things, she has been a Junior Woman’s Club of Arlington member since 2001, a member of the Girl Scouts since 2006, was an Elks Auxiliary member from 2006 to 2009, a Boy Scout leader from 2012 to 2015 and was a member of the Harrison Cancer League from 2005 to

Outside organization volunteer activities include participation in/as  Kearny Elks’ food drives, Thanksgiving baskets and toy drives with the Juniors, she’s led cheer patrol for the JDRF Walk for Diabetes, a volunteer with the Valerie Fund, a volunteer at Camp Happy Times and

She’s placed flags for Kearny veterans, took pet pics with Santo, participated in Flag Day ceremonies, took part in the POW/MIA Recognition Day, assisted with the Kearny townwide cleanup, hosted blood drives, collected toiletries for the Ukraine, assembled sandwiches for NJ Food and Clothing Rescue, she’s donated more than 125 coats to the less fortunate, placed temporary tattoos for kids at the Kearny Pawrade, assembled birthday bags for the Kearny Food Pantry Network, collected food for the Kearny cat TNR program and collected used eyeglasses for the Harrison Lion’s

And this is what we were able to recall.

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