Ready to March

We’re just a few weeks away from the United Irish Associations of West Hudson’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade and in advance of it, here’s a look at the three people who will be leading the parade, which steps off at 1 p.m., Sunday, March 10, in Harrison.

Grand Marshal Bill Dow Jr.

The Dow Family was actively involved in St. Cecilia Church and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks in Kearny, dating back to 1960. Bill Sr. and Florence’s father, “Red” Hawkins were active members of the organization that gave back to others and veterans. Bill Sr., a veteran himself, was involved because he felt the organization truly made a difference locally and in the lives of others.

When Bill Dow Jr. was only 7, his father became ill and died following a brief stay in the VA. It was then young Bill realized how important getting support from family and friends was. With the loss of her husband, Florence moved back into her family home and Bill and Ann grew up with the love and support of their mother and grandfather.

As a teenager, Bill Jr. started volunteering. He began helping the Special Olympics and worked with special-needs children. His love of helping others continued as he was actively involved with the food pantry at St. Cecilia. As he got older, he decided to follow in the footsteps of his dad and grandfather and became an active member of the Kearny Elks. He was especially fond of the Special Children’s and Veterans committees, always rallying others to help those in need.

Bill moved through the ranks within the Elks and has served in almost every capacity. He’s coached Kearny Little League and is actively involved with the Elks Drug Awareness Committee. Annually, Bill helps raise the funds necessary to send the Lincoln Middle School Peer Students to the Path to Peer Leadership.

He ensures his lodge participates in the Walk Out on Drugs program. The lodge donates to Project Graduation. He hopes that these efforts may just save one child that may be on the cusp of making poor life choices. He has rallied to help Kearny become a Stigma Free Community as being actively involved in Kearny Cares and the Kearny Municipal Alliance. Bill has planned and coordinated awareness programs such as Hidden In Plain Sight and the Blunt Truth to help families and members of the community discuss the concerns of the opioid epidemic.

As a way to honor his father’s memory and all those who have served, Bill spends his weekends giving back to veterans, from playing bingo at the VA to making care packages for patients to making furniture deliveries to Veterans who are transitioning from homelessness to housing. You can find him bringing donations to the Kearny VOICE or planning or supporting a fundraiser. He is the current Kearny-Belleville Elks Veteran Chairman and in 2022 was honored as the New Jersey State Elks Association Veteran Volunteer of the Year recipient and was the VFW Post 1302 Citizen of the Year.

Bill’s love for his community led his lodge to become an All American Lodge, a highly sought-after accolade year after year. His lodge donates over $25,000 annually to Elk Charities and the local community.Bill says he believes in teamwork and consistently encourages fellow Elks to participate in many team efforts such as making turkey for over 500 needy families each Thanksgiving, participating in the Kearny Giving Tree Network and more.

Since Bill was impacted with the loss of his sister and cousin from cancer, he raises money annually for St. Baldricks. He shaves his head each year to help support their efforts in curing childhood cancer, each year raising thousands of dollars. He has also raised over $20,000 toward Lupus research.

Bill is married to his wife, Ann, and has three children William W. III, Nicholas and Caitlin Dow. He is also a proud grandfather to Madison Dow.

Deputy Grand Marshal Gloria Spence

Gloria O’Reilly Spence was born and raised in Newark and Maplewood and moved to Kearny in 168 when she married her husband, Robert.

Her involvement in the community is vast.

She’s a past member of the Junior Woman’s Club of Arlington, was chairwoman of the JWCA fundraising efforts of 1974, was co-chairwoman of the fundraising Institute of Medical Research 1975; became president of the Junior Woman’s Club of Arlington in 1975; was a member of a committee to stop ocean dumping in 1977.

She was also chairwoman of programs for the JWCA in 1979, co-chairwoman of the initiative to bring 911 to Kearny in 1979, co-chairpwoman of the Miss Emerald committee of the Peter J. Smith Association in 1981, co-chairwoman of the Neighborhood Watch Committee in 1982, she received an award for 1,000 volunteer hours in 1982 and was aide to the Deputy Grand Marshal of the Newark St. Patrick’s day parade.

She’s been a fierce advocate for awarding of state bids to small local companies and has been a Pathways to Independence board member since 2010. She’s also a member at-large of the West Hudson Arts & Theater Co. since 2015.

Gloria has been the chairwoman of the Pathways to Independence Walkathon since 2020, has been its secretary since 2013, had volunteer for the Kearny senior citizens’ picnic since 2014 and was Miss Emerald

Friends of Erin volunteer 12 years.

She worked at River Terminal in South Kearny for many years before her retirement.

She and Bob have two children — Robert and Carolyn.

Deputy Grand Marshal Stanley Titterington

Stanley William Titterington is the son of parents who emigrated from Belfast, Northern Ireland. They headed out to the US to escape troubles in 1962. They started off their new life in the Bronx, and over a short period of time moved to Kearny.

In 1967, Stanley was born in West Hudson Hospital.  He grew up most of this young life on Kearny Avenue above Graham’s Tavern. He was employed as a boy by Em-Kay Deli. At 11, he would sweep the floor after school.

When he was 14, in 1981, Em-Kay changed hands and became Em-Kay Scottish Butcher. Stanley remained an employee until he became a police officer. When he was working at the butcher shop, he learned all the traditional Scottish and Irish recipes of food from the “old country.”

Stanley is the type of person who never forgets a name or a face. An occupational turning point for Stan occurred when he came home one day to see graffiti on his door. He called the police to report it and was met with an officer who said: “What do you want me to do about it?”

It was in that moment he knew he could do a much better job than that. So he did, and still does, in every aspect of his life.

He joined the Harrison Police Department in January 1995. During his career, he was a founding member of the HPD’s Emergency Response Team and has volunteered for many activities and special assignments. Stan has rose through the ranks and is now one of the top commanders in the department. As a lieutenant, Titterington says he aspires to set an example for younger officers.

He also he went back to his roots and opened a small shop with his wife, Michelle, to bring back traditional Scottish and Irish food and treats to customers near and far.

Stan is married to his wife, Michelle, and has two adult children Matthew and Jessica, who he says have carried on the family’s legacy of service to others.

Learn more about the writer ...

Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.