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.