He’s been a soldier, a St. James Fire Department member, a Suffolk County judge and now, John J. Toomey Jr. is the grand marshal of the 28th annual St. James St. Patrick’s Day parade.
Known to his friends and family as “Jack,” he has lived in St. James since he was 8 years old and is 100 percent Irish.
“I’m very happy to have the honor,” said Toomey, 64, whose grandparents were born in Ireland before coming to New York at the turn of the century. “I find it honoring them by being grand marshal of the parade. It keeps the Irish traditions alive. And it’s an honor for me to represent the Irish people.”
Toomey is a 1965 graduate of Smithtown Central High School. He is a former Army infantryman who served in the Vietnam War. In 1972, he graduated from Stony Brook University with his bachelor’s degree and in 1976, graduated from law school. He worked as assistant town attorney, then went into private practice. He started a law practice on Main Street in Smithtown and by 1987, was a sole practitioner.
In 2002, he became a judge in the Suffolk County District Court where he served for nine years. He now presides over the Veteran’s Court, a position he received in 2011 because of his military, legal and judicial background.
He’s also been actively participating in the St. James Fire Department for more than 30 years.
“He’s a very helpful man,” said Kerry Maher, the parade director and member of the St. James Chamber of Commerce “He’s a very giving man. A great family man. He’s a great guy and that’s why we chose him. The board felt it would be a great honor to our town.”
The parade, hosted by the St. James Chamber of Commerce, kicks off at 1 p.m. on Saturday on Lake Avenue.
Toomey has three children – Kerry Stogsdill, Tracey Toomey McQuade and Jack Toomey – who all grew up in St. James.
“It’s great because he’s such an active member of the town community for so many years,” said McQuade, 32, who lives in Manhattan. “My dad has a tremendous amount of hometown pride. I’m excited. I think he’s the perfect choice for the job.”