Congratulations to the 2022 Irish Heritage Month Honorees - News and Events - iIrish

Congratulations to the 2022 Irish Heritage Month Honorees

Congratulations to the 2022 Irish Heritage Month /
St. Patrick’s Day Honorees!

Greater Cleveland United Irish Societies (UIS)
Grand Marshall – Thomas McManamon
Tom was born January 10, 1947, to Thomas & Patricia Cahill McManamon. He is the oldest of six sons, with brothers Terry, Tim, Ted, Tracy & Todd. 

Tom’s father was one of the original organizers of the United Irish Societies of Greater Cleveland in 1958 and the first Executive Director from 1958 to 1963. Beginning with the 1959 St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the parade was organized on the family dining room table. He served as Grand Marshal in 1977.  This is the first time that a father and son have been Grand Marshall of the Cleveland St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Tom attended St. Mark School in Cleveland’s West Park neighborhood, as did all his brothers, then attended St. Edward High School in Lakewood, Ohio. Upon graduation, he served in the United States Air Force and served most of his time at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base in Korat Thailand. 

Shortly before he separated from the Air Force, Tom married his high school sweetheart, Jackie Fiocca, on August 23, 1969; they have been married 52 years.  Tom & Jackie have three adult children, Kim, TJ & Patrick, and eight grandchildren. Tom joined his father’s insurance business in 1970, shortly after separating from the Air Force.

Tom has been an active member of the Parade Committee since 1970, and served as Executive Director from 2001 to 2004.

Mother of the Year – Rita Lally
Rita Lally’s love of her Catholic faith, family, community and Irish heritage was born on the southeast side of Cleveland, where she attended Holy Name Church/Grade School and Holy Name High School, along with her family of six siblings. 

Fifty-four years ago, Rita married her high school sweetheart, John Lally.  They raised two daughters, Meegan, married to Scott Spicer, and Sarah, married to Michael Pap.  They are the proud grandparents of six grandchildren. 

Rita retired from the City of Lakewood where she assisted in the administration of community development programs. She and her family have been involved in the Cleveland Irish community for over forty-five years. 

Rita has greatly enjoyed being a member of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, where she continues to develop her faith, commitment of service to others, and her Irish heritage, and where she is actively engaged in various leadership roles.  She is also involved in the Greater Cleveland Feis Society, the United Irish Societies of Greater Cleveland, the Cleveland Gaelic League, and the Cannon/Kish Irish Dance School, where both of her daughters danced until graduating from Magnificat. 

Rita and John have been members of the West Side Irish American Club for twenty years. Rita assisted John in chairing the St. Patrick’s Day Dance and the annual WSIA Club picnic.  She also spent countless hours working to develop a database system for the WSIA, which is still used extensively at the Club today. 

They have enjoyed watching their family participate in the WSIA majorette, fife and drum, pom-pom and ladies drill team units, and play Gaelic football at the WSIA for St. Pat’s and St. Jarlath’s.  Rita was honored as a Co-Chair of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 1995. 

Rita became actively involved in the Cleveland Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann Chapter in response to her daughter, Sarah, being interested in traditional music, and was instrumental in opening the Irish Music Academy of Cleveland.  These efforts were a “breath of life” for traditional Irish music in Cleveland, which resulted in a very special connection between Cleveland musicians across multigenerations throughout the city. 

In the 90s, Rita encouraged and chaperoned her daughter, along with many young Cleveland musicians, to compete at local and international music competitions, including, the Fleadh Cheoil in Ireland.  Her daughter and grandchildren regularly play in weekly Irish music sessions. 

Rita became actively involved in the Irish dance school, establishing a Parents Association, which sponsored activities to enhance the experience of the dancers.  She and her family traveled to compete at feisanna and major Irish dance competitions. 
Rita was a member of adult Ceili dance teams competing in pre-Feis competitions throughout the Midwest.  Rita’s efforts to foster this love of Irish dancing can be seen today in her grandchildren, who have danced for The Leneghan Academy of Irish Dance and the Brady Campbell Irish Dance School.

On most weekends, Rita can be seen taking care of her grandchildren, going to MANY of their sporting events and Irish dance competitions, and taking care of her aging siblings.

Inside Co-Chair – Patricia Lavelle

Patricia Lavelle of North Olmsted, Ohio is the daughter of Joseph and Florence Coleman.  The Coleman’s raised their six children in St. Vincent De Paul’s parish and Pat graduated from Holy Name High School.

Pat married Gerry Lavelle and with their instant family of Kathleen, Michael, and Stephen, lovingly welcomed Elizabeth and Mary Bridget. Unfortunately, in 1986, our Lord had plans for Gerry and welcomed him home.  Always striving for self-improvement, Pat went back to school and earned an Associate’s Degree in Accounting, Suma Cum Laude.

Pat followed her grandfather Edward Coleman’s footsteps in the Ancient Order of Hibernians.  As a member of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, Pat has served as the LAOH Division 5/10 President and working diligently with the members, the division was re-named Our Lady of the Rosary. 

She is currently the editor of the Hibernian Newsletter, holds the office of President, and Treasurer for both the Division and AOH/LAOH Ways and Means, and represents the LAOH with the United Irish Societies.  As a UIS Delegate and with the help of Maureen Mohney and Rasa Chambers, Pat has taken on the responsibility of producing the annual St. Patrick’s Day Program Book.

As Co-Chair of the Hibernian 2021 Ohio State Convention, working with all the Committees and the theme of FUN in 2021, it gave the Hibernians an opportunity to showcase Cleveland and surrounding areas.  Pat has been a long time Co-Chair of the Hibernians Annual Reverse Raffle, recently celebrating its 44th year. 

Also known as the Shenanigator, Pat extends the FUN theme by keeping the Hibernians up to date of the various Irish events around town with her HARP (Hibernians Attending Regional Performances) emails.

Patricia enjoys all Cleveland Sports, Ohio State Football, swimming, attending Irish festivals anywhere, a good cup of tea, warm slippers, chocolate, spending time with friends and family, and all things relating to Peter Pan.  Among these hobbies, Patricia has been active with the West Side Irish American Club throughout her adult life.  Each year she marches with the Ladies Drill Team in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. 

She can often be found tending bar in the pub on a Friday evening; she highlights the children’s Easter Bunny breakfast and Hibernian Easter Egg Hunt when she dons her Easter Bunny costume on Palm Sunday and Holy Saturday, poses for scores of pictures, hugs, waves and hands out treats to all the kids.  Additionally, Pat is also a volunteer with Irish American Archives, greeting and registering guests for its various events and a committee member of Fr. Jim O’Donnell’s Annual Fundraiser.

Outside Co-Chair – Eileen Mangan Stull
Eileen Mangan Stull, an indomitable spirit, a ready hand, and a warm “Hello!” are trademarks of Eileen Mangan Stull.  It’s with that commitment and open willingness that Eileen has approached every turn of her life. 

The eldest of seven children, she was a natural leader as she stepped in as a true mother’s helper, caring for the younger ones, often reading to them, teaching letters, numbers, and words: a vision of what was to come. 

All seven siblings were dancers.  Eileen assisted Tessie with the beginner dancers at the Burke School of Irish dance.  While her brothers and sisters won many medals at feisiana, her love of Irish dance brought her back to helping Tessie for another thirty-five years. 

Eileen also taught adults basic steps and ceilis for many years at Darby O’Tooles and St. Clarence.  During this time, she also danced competitively in adult ceilis under the direction of Una Ellis, Bobby Masterson, and Kathleen McGinty. 

She was also a member of the famous Cleveland Straw Boys, known for inviting themselves to crash and entertain at various Irish weddings, anniversaries and other events. Eileen attended Catholic schools from first grade at St. Mel and graduation from St. Joseph Academy and Ursuline College, majoring in education. 

Cleveland Diocesan Catholic and Cleveland Metropolitan Schools both benefited from her energy and inventiveness in the classroom.  Eileen was an elementary teacher for twenty-one years and an elementary principal for an additional twenty years.  This time also reconnected her to Irish dance and culture when her own three children, Liam, Catherine and Fiona were introduced to and excelled in traditional Irish dancing under the direction of Tessie Burke. 

Eileen was invited to assist with teaching the youngest dancers, both solos and groups, and ran innumerable dance shows throughout the community.  She was lovingly known for her story of seeing a leprechaun in Ireland as a child with her grandparents – proving that leprechauns are real! 

Eileen’s volunteering fired her passion for all things Irish and spurred travel opportunities to Ireland and her involvement with the West Side Irish American Club and their various events and groups, particularly supervising countless numbers of children in junior marching units and Little Bridgies for the Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  She annually volunteered as a stage manager at both the Cleveland Feis and Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival for over twenty years. 

In the practice and development of her Catholic faith, she has served her home parish, St. Mel, as both a Eucharistic Minister and Lector for about thirty years, hoping that her involvement will spur the evangelization of more Catholics.

Eileen maintains her membership at the WSIA, where she was Woman of the Year in 2010, still investing in her beloved Cleveland Irish community.  Her consistent and tireless efforts have enriched every organization to which she’s belonged and impacted those individuals with her generous and gracious giving.

Ancient Order of Hibernians / Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians
(AOH /LAOH)
Member of the Year – Fr. Thomas Mahoney
Fr. Thomas Mahoney was born June 21, 1939, in the old St. John’s Hospital on Detroit Street; and was ultimately taken home to West 87th St., just south off of Madison Avenue.   His parents were Leo B. Mahoney and Margaret C. O’Connor.  They had both been baptized at St. Augustine on the South Side on W. 14th Street and were married in St. Colman’s where Fr. Thomas Mahoney was also baptized. 

At the age of three, or so, the family moved to Lakewood, and it was there that he attended all eight years of grammar school at St. Clement’s.  Tom’s older brother, John, was a doctor on the West Coast before passing away a few years ago. Two yoiunger brothers, Leo, who is married to Sally Coyne, and Robert.  He has nine nieces and nephews and seventeen grand nieces and nephews.

Tom’s grandparents, who came from Cork and Kerry in Ireland, came to Cleveland between 1848 and 1867. The great grandparents began at St. Mary on the Flats, some married by Bishop Rappe, the first bishop of Cleveland, and others receiving first communion from him. 

They lived on the “South Side” in the area now referred to as Tremont.  When St. Augustine’s parish was established, his great grandparents and grandparents (except for a Connolly and O’Rourke branch that came from Columbus) lived in and belonged to St. Augustine’s.  From there it was on to St. Colman’s and then to Lakewood: St. Clements and St. James.

Tom attended St. Ignatius High School (‘57), and then Borromeo College Seminary (‘61) in Wickliffe and St. Mary Seminary (the Theologate). He was ordained in 1965 for the Diocese of Cleveland. 

In May 2022, he will be ordained for fifty-seven years; all but five have been in Cuyahoga County.  In those years, he managed to serve Immaculate Conception, Willoughby (1965-1970); St. Francis de Sales, Parma (1970-1975); St. Michael, Scranton Rd. (1975-1978); St. Angela Merici, Fairview Pk., (1978-1980); pastor St. Cecelia, E 152nd & Kinsman (1980-1987), pastor St. Ann, Cleveland Hts., (1987-1996), back to associate at St. Patrick’s, West Park (1996-2001); pastor St. Pius X, Bedford (2001-2009) administrator St. Malachi (2018-2019).

Fr. Tom retired in 2009; he now lives about nine miles from where his great grandparents – the Mahoney, Scanlan, Corkery, Flanigan, O’Connor, and O’Loughlin antecedents settled. 

Somebody recently asked him how he got involved in the Irish community.  He answered, “I guess that I just assumed that I always was part of it, simply by birth.  We were raised with a strong sense of Irish nationalism and pride.  My father’s sister, who was a schoolteacher, would never allow ‘My Country ‘tis of Thee’ to be sung in her classroom because its melody was that of ‘God save the King.’  This same aunt sang at the International Eucharistic Conference in Dublin in 1932.  My mother’s father was born in Cleveland in 1875.

“I don’t exactly remember when I got involved with the LAOH, but I do remember where. It was at the baseball stadium in Eastlake during an Irish Festival that I think was being sponsored by Pat Coyne and it may have been more than fifteen years ago.   Joan Cavanaugh, God rest her, asked me if I could help out when needed. 

“I responded that I would be happy to, and all of a sudden, I was the LAOH chaplain; I have to admit that it has been a hoot ever since.”

The Daughters of Erin (Central Ohio)
Member of the YearMary Grady Strickland
Woman of the Year – Debbie Lynch

Columbus Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians Franklin County Division

 

 

Member of the Year Janell Brown;
President Lisa O’Connell-Paccioretti

 

 

 

Commodore Barry Awardee 
George Penree, President Ken Stebleton
Hibernian of the Year Bryan Horn

 

 

 

Irish American Club East Side (IACES)
Co-Members of the Year – 
Mary Jo Gurry & Michael Byrne 

 

Ancient Order of Hibernians Joseph T. Nalley Sr. Mahoning County Division 6
Irish Man of the Year Mark Klacik

Mark is a lifelong member of the Mahoning Valley, the youngest of three sons to Julie (Curran) and Paul Klacik. Mark has worked at the family business, Cyclone Auto Seat Cover, since his childhood and currently runs it with his brother Tim Klacik.

Mark is a lifelong Catholic, having received Baptism at Holy Name, making his sacraments of initiation at St. Joseph’s Church in Austintown. He has attended Men’s Renewal, worked on a Renewal Team, attended Crissio, and has been an adult supervisor in the youth CELEBRATE! Program at St Christine’s since 2000.

Mark was very involved in Austintown Wrestling After a career ending injury during his freshman year, Mark began helping his brother Tim and Coach Rich Burton with the 7th & 8th grade team.  He became the Head Coach and Manager of the Austintown Wrestling Club at age 22, the club was comprised of 150 6–12-year-old wrestlers. He then went on to coach Austintown Wrestling for another ten years.

During high school, Mark was a member of Junior Achievement, a program that fosters entrepreneurship through starting a business, developing a product and actively marketing it. He was chosen as President of his company and made a profit on his product. He was chosen to attend the Junior Achievement Nationals to represent the Mahoning Valley.  He went on to attend ITT Technical College and earned a W/A degree in Electronic Engineering Technology

Mark is an avid golfer and joined the St Joseph Golf League in 1991, became League Vice President in 2000 and served as President from 2005 – 2020.

Brother Klacik joined the Ancient Order of Hibernians in 2010, served as Sentinel until he was elected President in 2014. He served two terms and then was elected Treasurer, a position that he currently fills. During his tenure as President, Mark oversaw four “Irish Man of the Year” Luncheons and the hosting of the Ohio State Convention in 2017. He volunteered to undertake the annual Ancient Order of Hibernians Invitational Golf Tourney the last two years and been able to attract more golfers and increase earnings each year, even during the pandemic.

Mark is dedicated to our Irish culture and the AOH, if you come to any club function he will be in attendance, usually working.

Irish Woman of the Year Shannon Colleen Price Lehn

An Austintown native, Shannon graduated from Fitch High School in 1990 and has been a very active member of the community.  Mrs. Lehn has run the Austintown Farmer’s Market in the Austintown Township Park since 2013.

In prior years, she was a military wife for thirteen years and very proud of her service to the country. Shannon held the position of Key Wife in USMC, providing support for wives of deployed Marines.  She was Leader of Family Support Group for 141 soldiers & families in the 216th Engineering Battalion Ohio National Guard 2003-2005 while they were deployed in Iraq.  

Shannon joined the LAOH in 2014 and has held numerous offices on local, state and national level, including Division Webmaster & Publicity 2018 – present. She is currently Division President, since 2020.  She was also State of Ohio Webmaster & Publicity 2017 – Present and held the position of National Assistant Editor for the Hibernian Digest 2018-2020. Additionally, she heads the Lady Hibernian Toy Drive, which benefits St. Vincent de Paul Christmas party.

In addition to her work with the LAOH, Shannon has started Advocates for Austintown and is the Founder of the Mahoning Valley Irish Festival.

A tireless worker, Shannon is employed as a Medical Transcriptionist, Spinning and Yoga Instructor at Creekside Fitness, and runs an online clothing business called Echo Resale, in addition to her work with the Austintown Farmers Market.

Shannon lives in Austintown with her husband, William Lehn.  Together, they have three children, Shannon’s son, Brian Royea, and stepdaughters Victoria Lehn and Erica Lehn of Canfield, Ohio.

Shamrock Club of Columbus 
Parade MarshallTim McSweeney
Member of the YearDoug Eakins
Irishman of the YearEd Gaughan

West Side Irish American Club (WSIA)
Queen – Margaret Lavelle
Margaret Lavelle is the daughter and middle child of Michael and Anne Lavelle of North Olmsted, and sister to Mary Therese, Michael (Gerry), Sean, and Maeve. Margaret is the third generation of Lavelle’s to have the honor of representing the West Side Irish American Club as Queen. She is following the footsteps of her grandmother, Mary B. Lavelle (married to past club president Gerry) in 1973, her aunts, Kathleen (McLouglin) in 1992 and Mary Bridget in 2009, and most recently her older sister, Mary Therese (Donaldson), in 2015.

Margaret is a graduate of St. Bernadette Elementary School and Magnificat High School. During her time at Magnificat, she was actively involved in campus ministry and the Outreach program, where she was able to nurture her Catholic education and commitment to serving her community.

Margaret is a fourth year at the Ohio State University, studying speech and hearing sciences, and will graduate this spring, the attend graduate school to pursue a master’s degree in speech-language pathology. She is a proud Buckeye, following the footsteps of her older sibling alumni.

Margaret has marched with the WSIA in every St. Patrick’s Day she can remember, with the majorettes, flags, and the pom-pom units. She led the pom-pom unit in 2017 and 2018 parade seasons. Her favorite memory from St. Patrick’s Day is taking the annual family photo each year when she and her siblings are dressed in their marching uniforms.

In addition to her involvement with the WSIA, Margaret danced competitively with the Leneghan Academy of Irish Dance for twelve years, participating in numerous Feiseanna and the Mid-America Oireachtas. Margaret served as an apprentice for the school and was able to help younger dancers advance their skills. Since starting college, Margaret has continued dancing with the Ohio State Irish Dance team, performing at various shows on and off campus and competing at inter-collegiate level competitions. She currently sits as President of the team, responsible for leading practices, choreographing dances, and facilitating shows.

Woman of the Year – Colleen Hansen

Colleen Hansen is the daughter of Rosemary (nee Kilbane) and John Smyth, who was born in Co. Clare, Ireland.  Both parents are deceased.  She has three siblings, Kevin, Karin, and Colin (deceased).

Colleen attended St. Joseph Academy, majoring in secretarial practice and shorthand.  She graduated in 1976. After graduation, Colleen worked for Stephen J. Knerly, a domestic relations attorney, for six years.

Colleen married George Hansen in 1981.  They were blessed with three beautiful children, Kelly, Scott (deceased) and Christopher.  George Hansen died in 2006.  Colleen has a 2-year-old grandson in California.

In 1988 Colleen attended Jane Addams School of Nursing.  After a twenty-nine-year career in nursing, Colleen retired in 2017.  She started volunteering at the West Side Irish American Club and became a part of McDonough’s Brigade.
Colleen’s hobbies are swimming, bowling, and playing pinochle.

Man of the Year – Vincent Beach
Vincent was born in 1980 in Flint, Michigan to parents Tom and Mary and is brother to Dr. Jordan Beach and Aimee Breetz. At an early age, the family moved to Cleveland and settled in Fairview Park, attended St. Angela Merici School and Fairview High School. Vincent went on to study Civil Engineering at the University of Cincinnati, where he met his wife, Michelle. 

The couple moved back to Cleveland a few years after graduating, married, and bought a home in Columbia Township, where they are raising their children, Ambrose (12), Bernadette (11), and Cedric (7). 

Vincent’s Irish roots are through his grandmothers, Dorothy Ranville (nee Wallace) and Doris Beach (nee Madden).  Patrick Wallace who left Limerick in the 1840s and made his way to Ohio.  From there, the Wallace’s continued their western migration, ending in Ludington, Michigan, where Dorothy served ice cream to vacationers, and her brother Lloyd boxed anyone who wanted (or so they said) when not running the lake ferry to or from Manitowoc, WI.  The fierceness never left. Go ndéana Dia a mhaith orthu.

The Maddens hail from Galway, made their way through Canada, and settled in Merrill, Michigan. Doris’s family, uncles, and cousins (Ryan’s, Kennedy’s, Fleming’s) built St. Patrick’s Church, in Ryan, Michigan. Years later, Doris was honored by the Flint AOH as Irish Mother of the Year for her devotion to family and St. Michael’s Church, Flint.  Go ndéana Dia a mhaith orthu.

Vincent’s Irish heritage was sparked at the age of eighteen when he was asked to play Gaelic Football for Cleveland St. Pat’s. Despite his studies in Cincinnati, travelled whenever possible to matches in Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Buffalo. 

It was also at the University of Cincinnati where he escaped the engineering and math of his major to learn the Irish language with Dr. Edgar Slotkin. To continue his Gaeilge journey, he entered the National University of Ireland, Galway’s Irish language immersion program in An Ceathrú Rua, Galway.  He also worked at farm in Gort an Doire, Uachtar Ard, Galway. 

It was hard to leave a whole summer in the Gaeltacht.  Upon returning to Cleveland, Vincent studied and taught Irish language with Bob Carney at Speak Irish Cleveland. 
Today, Vincent continues his grá (love) for Gaelic Games and Irish along with his father, Tom, (a GAA board member), and wife, Michelle (footballer), through the Cleveland St. Pat’s-St. Jarlath’s Gaelic Athletic Association.  The GAA’s work at the WSIA supports Irish culture through sports.  With Kevin Hayes, he co-hosts the annual Night at the Races for the benefit of the WSIA and GAA. 

Throughout the spring and summer, the GAA has other events at the WSIA, including field capital improvement projects, adult hurling and football practices, youth practices and official men’s and ladies’ football, hurling and camogie matches.  Each month’s events are captured in his iIrish (formerly Ohio Irish American News) columns. 

Vincent is the current Chairperson of the Cleveland GAA, is a hurler and footballer, and is a youth coach to many, including the All-Stars, Ambrose, Bernadette, and Cedric. Cleveland Abú (/uh boo/ – forever). 

Volunteer of the Year Christi Dreamer Cruz 
Christi is the daughter of Robert and Kathleen Dreamer. She is second oldest, and the proud sister of Robert, Michael and Kelly. Christi is the granddaughter of Mary Ellen (McGinty) and Steve Mikanovich (deceased) and George (deceased) and Lillian Dreamer. 

Christi grew up on the west side of Cleveland, where she graduated from Saint Augustine Academy and finished her Bachelor of Arts Degree in History at Cleveland State University. After graduating college in 2006, she began her career at Marketing Communication Resource, Inc where she still works as a Data Analyst. In 2012 she married Jaime and together they have three children – Julicia, Jaime III and Nathan. 

Christi has been a lifelong member of the West Side Irish American Club; her love for her Irish heritage and the club was instilled in her from a young age, as her family brought her to the club for events and dances. She began marching with the majorette unit and continued to both Pom-Pom and Ladies Drill Team.

Over ten years ago, Christi began volunteering with the Junior marching units and leads the charge on organizing sign ups, Co-Chairing the Junior Unit Exhibition Dance, and helping with the units on Saint Patrick’s Day. During this early volunteering experience, she realized how important it was to the WSIA to dedicate time and talent back to the club.

While she still volunteers her time to the Junior marching units, she is also heavily involved with the Night at the Races, chairs the Annual Family Picnic and can be seen on occasion helping with Friday night Pub Grub. In 2016 she and Heather Harvey became Co-Chairs of the Largest Fund Raiser at the club – The Annual (Thanksgiving Day) Raffle. In 2021, Christi was selected for the Board of Trustees and has worked on getting the club social media and website updated. 

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