Wednesday, December 9, 2020

RIP Bill McEvoy


It is with a saddened heart and deep sense of loss that we announce the passing of our long time County Laois Association member and senior statesman, Bill McEvoy.  Bill passed away on Wednesday, November 25 at his home in Lake Grove, Long island surrounded by his loving family.

County Laois President, Mike Dunphy, Fran Dumphy and Vice President Larry McEvoy attended the Bill’s wake at Moloney’s Funeral Home in Ronkonkoma on December 1 and wore the Laois sashes in his honor.

We would like to extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to Bill’s family and friends on their deep sense of loss of a great man. 

We have been greatly honored and privileged to know Bill for many years and he has continued to be a wonderful inspiration to us all. His many accomplishments will live on in our memories. Since Bill joined the County Laois Association many years ago, he never missed a single St. Patrick’s Day march up Fifth Avenue under the Laois banner. Even this year, Bill fully intended to join us again before the parade was cancelled due to the pandemic. In recent years Bill, already well into his 90s, refused to quit and was helped to march by his grandson, William McEvoy, with the aid of a wheelchair.

We will greatly miss Bill’s presence and enthusiasm in our future St. Patrick’s Day parades.

May He Rest in Peace. 

Larry McEvoy


Bill McEvoy Obituary

Date of Death: November 25, 2020

William “Bill” McEvoy – of Lake Grove, NY. Bill passed away peacefully in his home Wednesday, November 25th, at age of 97, surrounded by his loving family. His wife the late Lily predeceased him at age of 92 after sixty-six years of marriage. He is survived by his siblings Mollie Stapleton, Bridie O’Kane and Maggie Duggan, the late Judy Dowling  and the late Sean McEvoy. He is the father of nine children, Patrick, Kieran, Margaret, Billy, Joe, Lillian, Colleen, and Kathleen, the late Marian predeceased him in June of 2016. He is the grandfather to twenty five grandchildren, and great grandfather to twenty six great grandchildren. God’s divine hand print can be seen interwoven throughout our parents life. My dad made a decision to quit school at an early age to help provide for his parents. My grandmother spoke a blessing over his life “May God bless you and grant you a long life” indeed that is what God did. My parent’s love of God was instilled in all of us from a young age. We were taught to pray and always acknowledge God in all our decisions. To God be the Glory! Bill McEvoy was born in Kilcoke, Ballybrophy, Co. Laois Ireland, on January 19th 1923, the oldest of six children. Born into a musical family, his father played fiddle and was a renowned singer while his mother played concertina. Bill’s entire life centered on traditional music and Ireland’s Gaelic games(G.A.A). His early days were in Dublin, where he spent much of his free time at the Stonybatter home of Jim Seery, later among the founders of Comhaltas. He also linked up with the late Leo Rowsome and joined the Piper’s Club at 14 Thomas Street, serving as its Runaí in 1947-48.

At this time, Billy met Lily Kelliher from Banemore, Co Kerry, and they were married in Lixnaw, on February 21st,1950. Bill emigrated to America on July 3rd 1954, with his Kerry-born wife, Lily and three small children aboard the S.S Britannic (sister ship of the Titanic). They stood on the deck of that emigrant-ship and watched the distant hills of Kerry slip slowly beneath the horizon and wondered if they would ever see Ireland again. They arrived at Pier 37 New York Harbor on July 10th 1954 and soon settled into  America’s way of life. Bill’s family grew from three children to nine and they made their first trip back to Ireland as a family in 1964. Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éirinn approached Billy in 1972 to organize the first CCE Concert Tour of North America to help financially support the founding of Cultúrlann na hÉirinn in Monkstown, Dublin. The concerts grew into an annual event, that contributed to the formation of 40 branches with over 3,600 members of Comhaltas in the USA and Canada. Bill retired as CCE Provincial Chairman for North America in 1997. He maintained his involvement with Comhaltas as Honorary President for Life of Comhaltas North America and as a member of the Ard Comhairle’s Coiste Cheoil and Fleadh sub-committees. Bill was awarded “Laoisman of the year in 1995 and reflected  that this night was the “greatest  honor of his life”. In 2000 he received Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éirinn’s highest honor Tionól Leo Rowsome for his exceptional contribution to the preservation and promotion of traditional Irish culture. In 2009, he was selected to be part of an exhibition by The Irish Arts Center and the Consulate of Ireland entitled “To Love Two Countries”. He worked his entire life on Long Island as a spackler by day and in the evening worked at the New York Telephone Company, completing thirty years of service without ever missing one day. To date, Bill had made 135 trips home, always returning to Laois, marveling at the green fields and the bird song which he loved. Recently he had remarked that he intended making “one last trip home”, and so, it was with heavy hearts, that we learned that Billy was in the final hours of life. As he passed he was surrounded by his loving family, and by the music and songs that he so loved and cherished so much. He passed to his eternal home to be reunited with his beloved wife Lily and daughter Marian to the strains of“Lovely Laois” in the early hours of Wednesday morning, the 25th of November, two months shy of his 98th Birthday.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis. A leithéid ní bheidh ann arís

Friday, March 6, 2020




The Saint Patrick's Day Parade in New York this coming Tuesday, March 17, has been cancelled and postponed until later this year. Governor Cuomo made the official announcement on Wednesday evening having consulted with the parade leadership.
We will keep you posted on further details as they develop.
Enjoy and celebrate  the special on the 17th. Happy Saint Patrick's Day to you all.


Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Assembly Time  Our Laois Association will assemble this year at its usual location opposite 48 West 48th Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. We are scheduled to assemble at 3:20 p.m., after County Meath and ahead of County Wicklow.  Please remember to respect the parade committee’s dress code, which prohibits sneakers, jeans, or inappropriate dress and head gear.
Grand Marshal   William Traver has graciously accepted the Laois Association’s invitation to serve as its Grand Marshal this year. Over the past 30 years, Bill has helped carry our Laois banner and flags on St. Patrick’s Day. This year he will wear the Laois Grand Marshal sash, and he tells us he is very proud to lead his fellow Laois marchers up the Avenue.  Bill has marched with Laois ever since he joined the Kehoe family several years ago his through marriage to Lesley Kehoe, herself a former Grand Marshal. He traces his Irish ancestry back to the Faheys of Galway, where his daughter Jennifer currently makes her home.
     A graduate of Bucknell University, Bill earned his MBA and MS in data analysis from Miami University of Ohio. Professionally he advanced through various positions in marketing and operations management in several companies including Reader’s Digest, FlexPak, and Ashland Inc. When he retired from the corporate world, Bill turned his attention to managing his real estate portfolio. He is an avid sportsman, having played rugby at college and later with several senior rugby clubs. Bill has continued to coach the sport, and for many seasons he led his team--on which his son, Will, was a player--to a top ten standing nationwide. Moreover, he’s an accomplished martial arts practitioner, with a third-degree black belt in taekwondo and hapkido. Bill also finds time to be an active member of his parish, where he co-teaches a third-grade CCD class with his daughter Elizabeth. One of the guiding principles in Bill’s life is the importance of a strong family, and he is exceptionally proud of his wife, Lesley; son, Will; and daughters, Jennifer and Elizabeth. He is most appreciative of all of their support. 
Delegation from County Laois  The Laois County Council in Ireland has kindly accepted our Association’s invitation to fly into New York and march with us on Fifth Avenue. The County Council delegation includes Councillor Conor Bergin, who will be representing the County Chairman (Cathaoirleach) Willie Aird. He will be accompanied by John Mulholland, the Laois County Chief Executive.
Mike Dunphy, President, (973) 886-6097,                                                 Larry McEvoy, Vice President, (917) 833-3218,
Minister Charlie Flanagan   Our sincere thanks to Minister Charlie Flanagan, whose constituency is Laois-Offaly, for marching with us last St. Patrick’s Day. The Laois Association congratulates him on his recent reelection.
Bill McEvoy  Congratulations, too, to Bill McEvoy, our association’s senior statesman, who recently celebrated his 97th birthday. Bill hopes to join us on the Avenue again this year, even though he has just overcome a tough fight with pneumonia. We wish him a speedy recovery. Still active at 97, Bill continues his great life’s work with the Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann in the U.S. and Canada, which he founded in the 1960s.  Bill still takes pride in playing a mean fiddle in his own band, especially on St. Patrick’s Day.
Tom Phelan   Mountmellick author Tom Phelan’s acclaimed memoir of growing up on a small farm in Laois, We Were Rich and We Didn't Know It: A Memoir of My Irish Boyhood, has now been released in paperback. Following its launch in New York last year, the memoir was also published in Ireland and the U.K.  In the coming weeks Tom will give talks about his Laois boyhood and read from his memoir at several venues. These include:  
·         Thursday, March 5, at 7 p.m., Hillside Public Library, New Hyde Park, NY
·         Thursday, March 12, at 2 p.m., Bethpage Public Library, Bethpage, NY 
He is also scheduled to participate in the following festivals:
·         Sunday, March 8, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Hofstra Irish Festival, Hempstead, NY
·         Saturday, April 25, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Baldwin Library Author Festival, Baldwin, NY
     We would like to thank Patricia Phelan, Tom’s wife, for helping to edit this newsletter. Patricia is the program chair for the Irish Family History Forum genealogy group (, which meets monthly at the Bethpage Library. Please contact: for further details.
2020 Scholarship Contest  The Parade Committee offers several scholarships this year, three for a college-level research paper and three for a high school–level research paper. Details, eligibility, and forms for applicants are available on the Parade’s website at:  Deadlines for research papers must be submitted no later than Wednesday, April 1, 2020, at 11 p.m.

Important Websites
·         NY Co. Laois Assn: And please follow us on Facebook.
·         United Irish Counties: 
·         Laois news from Ireland:
·         Official NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade:
See You on the Avenue ... Le Chonaigh De