Spectators watch the 61st annual St. Clair Shores Memorial Day Parade march by on Jefferson Avenue May 26.

Spectators watch the 61st annual St. Clair Shores Memorial Day Parade march by on Jefferson Avenue May 26.

Photos by Sarah Purlee


St. Clair Shores Memorial Day Parade still ‘amazing’ after 67 years

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published May 28, 2019

 The Willow Run Rosies Drill Team participates in the parade.

The Willow Run Rosies Drill Team participates in the parade.

  Luke Witkowski, of the Detroit Red Wings, rides in the parade.

Luke Witkowski, of the Detroit Red Wings, rides in the parade.

ST. CLAIR SHORES — St. Clair Shores Memorial Day Parade Committee Chair Cheryl Furdos said that the 67th annual Memorial Day parade May 26 was fabulous, despite rain that began about a half-hour into the event.

“It was an amazing parade. The crowds were wonderful; the participants were outstanding,” she said May 28. “In spite of the rain, I couldn’t have asked for a better day.

“For eight years, people have been saying, ‘What happens if it rains?’ Well, now we know. We stick with it.”

Spectators said they always enjoy coming out to the St. Clair Shores Memorial Day parade.

U.S. Air Force veteran Randy Tumidajewicz, of St. Clair Shores, came out to watch his son walk in the Lake Shore High School band. Memorial Day means so much more to him, though.

“To me, it means remembering those who have served and given their lives,” he said. Tumidajewicz said that for him, that means remembering the sacrifice of his cousin, Jason Lehto, who was killed in December 2004 in Iraq.

“That’s really what the weekend and the day mean to us,” he said.

This was the first time Donna Jones, of St. Clair Shores, came out to watch the parade. Her daughter was marching in the Lake Shore and Kennedy Middle School bands as well.

“I love it,” she said while watching along Jefferson Avenue. “It’s amazing.”

Jason Stephenson lives between Harper Avenue and Jefferson Avenue, so he has come to the parade “many, many times.”

“Got to support our own community,” he said. “I’m a people-watcher myself.”

Likewise, Maria Pohlman has been coming to the parade for 40 years.

“I just love all the people coming out,” said the St. Clair Shores resident. “It gets people together. I just love everyone getting together.”

Sitting with her was Claudia Fresard, of St. Clair Shores, who grew up in St. Clair Shores and remembers her parents participating in the parade with the VFW.

“I still come to honor my parents,” she said.

Furdos said that the participants made the parade a great success.

“They were all there anticipating a great day, and they made it a great day because they wanted to have fun and, in doing that, they encouraged the crowd to have fun,” she said.

She said that the committee will have a wrap-up meeting in a week and then take the summer off before beginning to plan the 2020 parade in October. The trophy presentation for parade participants will be held at the June 17 City Council meeting.

“The veterans who were honored this year were so appreciative of being included, and their excitement was so heartwarming because most of them have probably been overlooked for a long time,” she said.

Norm Muller, of St. Clair Shores, said that he thinks about his uncle, who received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his service, and his brothers on Memorial Day. The parade is great, he said.

“I just like to watch. It gets us out of the house,” he said.