Barney Boyce from Milford will lead the St Patrick’s Day parade in Philadelphia next month after he was chosen as the 2017 Grand Marshall.
Barney is originally from Mallymore in Milford, but has resided in Philadelphia for many years.
A well-known and popular figure in the city’s Irish community Barney ran his own building and maintenance company but is now retired.
He is married for over 52 year to Carmel Boyce (nee Crossan) who hails from Trentagh, just outside Letterkenny. They live in the Philadelphia suburb of Upper Darby where he raised a family of six, daughters Colleen and Karen and sons Brian, Jimmy, John and Michael.
Barney is the son of the late James and Sarah Boyce of Mallymore and he still has many relatives in the Milford area including his brother Mandy.
His sister Mary also lives in Philadelphia.
Mr Boyce says he is very happy to have been chosen as the Grand Marshall and he is very much looking forward to the experience.
Speaking to the Donegal Democrat he stated: “I am thrilled to be Grand Marshal of the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade. I left Donegal over 60 years ago, and since then have enjoyed being involved in many aspects of the Irish community here. The time spent with the various organizations, and time spent enjoying and supporting Irish music, dancing, sports, and countless community events has been enjoyable and certainly makes Donegal feel much closer! The Philadelphia Irish Community is a strong community of which I am proud to be part. I am truly humbled, and plan to enjoy this great honour with my family and my wife, Carmel, who’s been at my side through it all.”
The annual parade is organised by the St Patrick’s Day Observance Association and it takes place on Sunday March 12.
Involved in many groups
Barney has been involved with many groups and organisations in his adopted city, including the Donegal Society and the Irish Centre. Other groups he has been involved with are Philadelphia GAA, The Library, Ceili groups, The Donegal Ball, Northern Aid and the Knights of Columbus among others.
Cumulatively Barney has served 30 terms on boards or in positions of leadership across many organizations in the Philadelphia Irish community: the Donegal Association, the Commodore Barry Club/The Irish Center, the Philadelphia Donegal Football Club, and Danny Browne AOH Division 80 to name a few. Barney and Carmel volunteer for many worthy causes in the community the couple and their family have been recognized for their dedication and preservation of Irish Cultureand were inducted into the Delaware Valley Irish Hall of Fame in 2005.
In 2009, Barney and Carmel were honored in the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade Ring of Honour.