When Lee Sinnickson was chosen as grand marshal of the Moriches St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the parade committee asked him if he would submit his own bio.
Sinnickson had never compiled a list of all his associations and accomplishments before, so he and his wife, Loretta, sat down to write one.
“We sat down for a weekend scribbling notes,” he said. “All of a sudden I said, ‘Oh, Wow.’ When you put it all down on paper like that, it looks pretty impressive.”
Gerry Sapanaro, a member of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee and the treasurer of the Chamber of Commerce of the Moriches, which sponsors the parade, said the person chosen for grand marshal should represent the community and have spent time giving back to it.
“He falls into all those categories,” she said. “This was based on his community efforts and all he’s been involved in.”
Sinnickson grew up in Center Moriches and joined the fire department when he was 18 years old. He is currently commissioner of the Center Moriches Fire Department, but also served on the East Moriches Fire Department from 1971 to 2001.
Sapanaro also noted Sinnickson’s dedication to the Moriches Bay Little League, which he organized and coached for many years. Sinnickson said that involvement died out as his children, Keri and Fred, grew up and went away to college.
Other commitments have also come and go with time, though Sinnickson was dedicated to each of them. According to the bio he wrote, in addition to the Little League, he was also once president of the Lion’s Club of Moriches and the East Moriches Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Park. He was a member of the East Moriches Recreation Program and the Sunrise Republican Club, and a charter member of the East Moriches Booster Club.
For more than 20 years, Sinnickson has volunteered at Spooky Walk, the Halloween trail ride that benefits Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck in Center Moriches. He has also been a Relay for Life volunteer in Center Moriches since it began 10 years ago.
The service he is proudest of is that to his country. He served in the Army from 1967 to 1969, including a 14-month tour in Vietnam. After returning home, he received a number of honors, including a Purple Heart.
Sinnickson is also the third generation of his family to own and operate Sinnickson’s Moriches Funeral Home. His daughter, Keri Sinnickson-Ergenzinger, who joined him in 2001, is the fourth.
Sinnickson-Ergenzinger said it was an honor that her father was chosen.
“He loves it here,” she said. “He never left, he’s always wanted to be here. He’s totally committed to working in, living in and being a part of this town.”
Sinnickson’s entire family remains close by. His daughter, her husband Fred, and their children Leah and Kara live in Center Moriches. His son, Ryan, and his wife, Michelle, also live in Center Moriches.
Sinnickson called himself “a parade person,” noting that he attends the Moriches parade every year as a member of the fire department and also marched in the last two New York City parades.
The Moriches parade begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday, and Sinnickson said he’s going “all in” as grand marshal, electing to wear a kilt along with his sash.
Sinnickson said for him, running a funeral home is one more way to help his fellow community members.
“I enjoy taking care of people and helping get through very hard times,” he said, adding that Sinnickson’s does not use an answering machine. He or his daughter answer the phone at all times, day or night.
“That’s how I was brought up,” he said. “We’re here to serve.”
Pictured above: Lee Sinnickson, owner of Sinnickson’s Moriches Funeral Home, was chosen as grand marshal of the Moriches St. Patrick's Day Parade.