May 23, 2011 Ned Campbell Uncategorized
We interviewed Ed and Patricia Fletcher for this story on Wednesday May 19. Patricia, 73, died unexpectedly on Friday May 21. As of Monday, parade committee chairs were hopeful that Ed would serve as the parade’s sole marshal. Patricia will be honored at Memorial Day ceremonies throughout the day.
For some 40 years, Ed and Patricia Fletcher were affiliated with the Camillus Memorial Day Parade. For this year’s parade on Monday May 30, they were selected to be grand marshals.
“It’s great, once in a lifetime,” said Ed Fletcher, who was parade chair for 43 years before stepping down two years ago due to fading vision. Pat was at his side through it all. “I’m really proud,” he added.
This year’s 65th annual parade is chaired by Don Laxton and Bernard Bunce and will feature the alumni band, which returns every five years. Upwards of 400 current and former West Genesee Marching Band members are expected to line up for the parade, which begins at 9:30 a.m. at the top of the hill in the village of Camillus. Prior to that will be the annual 5k run.
The band will be one of more than 40 groups marching in the parade.
“It’s overwhelming to me, it’s got to be so big today, so big,” said Ed Fletcher about the parade that is put on by Camillus veterans. “It’s unbelievable what we first started and now … We were lucky if we had 28 participants, now it’s up in the 40s.”
If Ed rides in a convertible during the parade this year his driver will be Bunce, who is also the Camillus American Legion Commander.
Ed was in the Navy during the Korean War years and upon his return to Central New York he and Pat were married in 1957. They lived in the same house on Elm Street in the village ever since.
Ed has been affiliated with the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Camillus for about 40 years – 13 years as commander. Pat was with the Camillus VFW Ladies Auxiliary for 39 years and was a past president of the New York State VFW Ladies Auxiliary.
“It’s important to belong to a veterans’ organization, no matter which one it is, because they have all the information on what’s available out there [for veterans],” said Pat Fletcher.
Ed served eight terms (16 years) as mayor of the village and was once a village trustee. Patricia was the town of Camillus receiver of taxes for 16 years and was previously Camillus town clerk for 10 years.
After the May 30 parade, Ed may be part of the program at the Memorial Day services held in front of the senior center. Awards will be presented and Col. Charles Dorsey, Vice Commander of the 174th New York Air National Guard, will speak.
Memorial Day festivities will start at 7:30 a.m. Monday May 30 with a veterans’ dedication at the Municipal Building, 4600 West Genesee St.