Two top members of the Maspeth business community who have been active with civic and service organizations of all kinds will be the grand marshals at this year’s Memorial Day Parade, set for 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 26.
The honorees are Joseph B. Papavero, the fourth-generation owner of Papavero Funeral Home, and MaryAnna Zero, owner of Home Hunters, the oldest real estate firm in Maspeth.
Both said they were thrilled to be chosen.
“I was taken aback by the honor, and I’m going to serve with pride as a grand marshal,” Papavero said. “The parade is a great way of honoring current and past veterans of our Armed Forces, and to not forget the ultimate sacrifice that many of them have made for the liberties we current Americans are able to enjoy.”
“Of course I’m honored, and I think the parade is a wonderful thing for the town,” Zero said. “It’s a wonderful thing for the residents to come out and honor the veterans. It’s something people look forward to every year.”
The parade will kick off at Walter A. Garlinge Memorial Park, at the junction of Grand and 57th avenues. Events begin with the colors massing at the monument at 12:15 p.m., followed by a ceremony at 12:30 and the parade at 1.
Held by the United Veterans & Fraternal Organizations of Maspeth and sponsored by Maspeth Federal Savings bank, the parade will run down Grand Avenue to Maspeth Avenue, turn onto 61st Street and then 56th Drive, continue along Perry Avenue and then 57th Avenue, and go back up Grand to 69th Lane. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Residents are reminded not to park along the parade route.
At the front of the procession will be two people whose service to the community has taken the form of involvement in a number of organizations over the years.
Zero is a member of Community Board 5, director and past president of the Maspeth Kiwanis Club, corresponding secretary and past president of the Maspeth Chamber of Commerce, board member of Maspeth Town Hall and the Greater Ridgewood Historical Society, past secretary of the Maspeth Lions Club and past president of the Queens Real Estate Board and the Western Queens Chapter of the Long Island Board of Realtors.
She has lived in Maspeth for more than 60 years and has two daughters, one an attorney and one a teacher at PS 58, the School of Heroes, and three grandchildren.
Papavero is president of the Maspeth Lions Club, a board member of Maspeth Town Hall, vice president of the Maspeth Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Queensboro United National Italian Cultural Organization, Our Lady of Hope Holy Name Society, Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together, the Cardinal Spellman Knights of Columbus and, on the professional side, the metropolitan, state and federal funeral directors’ associations; and a former member of the Catholic Cemetery Guild.
Papavero is the son of Mary Ann and the late Joseph M. Papavero, whose name is on the Maspeth Walk of Honor in recognition of his community service. He has three children, one a fifth-generation funeral director, one a nurse and one a recent college graduate.
Papavero usually marches with the Lions Club, and said he can’t wait for the parade each year. One of his grandfathers, James Murphy of Brooklyn, served in the Navy in World War II.
A number of Zero’s relatives have served in the Armed Forces, including her father, who was at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, and survived that day’s sneak attack by Japan. An uncle won a medal for taking out a Nazi machine gun nest during the war, while two others served in the Air Force and Merchant Marines. Her grandfather was in World War I and her nephew is a Marine today.
Noting that her parents were second-generation Americans whose family came from Poland, she said of her relatives, “I think they felt honored to come to America and serve.”
The Memorial Day Parade is not the only patriotic event planned in Maspeth this month. Six days before the procession, on Monday, May 20, a candlelight vigil and brief religious ceremony will be held at 8 p.m. at Maspeth Memorial Park, located at Grand Avenue and 69th Street. In case of rain, the event will be held at American Legion Post 783, located at 66-28 Grand Avenue.