The organizers of this year’s Memorial Day Parade in Maspeth have selected a Korean War combat veteran and a Navy man who served for 26 years for special recognition during the annual post-parade ceremony. The event will be held at 2 p.m. May 26 in Veterans Square, at Grand Avenue and 69th Street, immediately following the parade, which starts at 1 p.m.
Donald Steinmaker was a rifleman in Korea and Joseph Romano joined the Navy in the final months of World War II.
Steinmaker, like many residents of Maspeth, was born in Brooklyn. The son of Peter and Mildred Steinmaker, he moved to Maspeth with his family when he was a young boy.
He attended Maspeth’s PS 86 and Queens Vocational High School before entering the U.S. Army as the Korean War was in full swing. Steinmaker joined the fray as a rifleman in Company C of the 3rd Infantry Division’s 65th Regiment. There he earned the Combat Infantryman Badge, Korean Service Medal and United Nations Service Medal.
A long line of Steinmakers have served in the military. Steinmaker’s brother was a World War II Navy veteran, and his great-grandfather on his mother’s side, William Eckert, fought for the Union with the Maryland Infantry during the Civil War. He was wounded at the Battle of Sailor’s Creek in Virginia but survived and started the “Steinmaker Family of Outstanding Patriots” in Brooklyn.
Donald Steinmaker was an active member of Trinity St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, a member of the Sons of the Civil War and a founder of the United Veterans and Fraternal Organization of Maspeth. He and his wife, Adrienne, have three daughters, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Romano, born in Corona, joined the Navy at 17, in January 1945. He later worked for the Post Office and then St. Joseph’s Hospital, but eventually returned to the Navy. He served a total of 26 years and retired in 1988 as a chief petty officer.
Romano was president of the St. Stanislaus Holy Name Society and coach of the CYO baseball Tyro Champions and has been a member of Maspeth’s Knights of Columbus, Cardinal Spellman Council, for more than 50 years. He is active with the Catholic War Veterans, Tin Can Sailors and Disabled American Veterans, and supports the Wounded Warriors Project. He and his wife, Martha, longtime Maspeth residents, have two sons, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
In addition to the May 26 parade and post-parade ceremony, there will be a candlelight vigil at Veterans Square at 8 p.m. May 20.