Grand Marshals / Honorees
Grand Marshals: Helene Murtha Dooley, EdD
Parade Honorees: Kathleen Toolan Doody and Christine Doody Doherty
Grand Marshal Helene Murtha Dooley, EdD
Helene’s family came to NY from Ireland in the late 1800s. They hailed from Cork and Roscommon Counties on her Mother’s side and Athlone in County Westmeath on her Father’s side. Upon arrival to the US the family last name of Murtagh was “Americanized” to Murtha.
Helene was born in Queens and grew up on Long Island. Her parents are Arlene Charbonneau Murtha and the late Gilbert J Murtha III. She is the eldest of their 4 children.
Helene graduated from Fairfield University in 1985 with a BS in Business Management. Subsequently she started a career in banking at JP Morgan on Wall Street. This is where she met her husband Joe Dooley. Upon their marriage in 1990 she moved to Yonkers. In 1992 the couple moved to Eastchester and welcomed a son Brian. In 1995 their daughter Caroline was born.
Helene pursued her education while working as a Vice President at JP Morgan, earning a NYS Teaching Certificate, A Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science and a Doctorate in Educational Administration. Helene worked as a part time Children’s Librarian at the Yonkers Public Library for over 10 years. In 1998 Helene left the business world and began work in the Eastchester School District as the librarian at Greenvale Elementary School. She has taught at all the schools in Eastchester, grades K through 12. Helene currently works at the Eastchester Middle School/High School library.
The Dooley family has been members of the Eastchester Irish American Social Club (EIASC) since 2001. Helene has volunteered for the EIASC over the years at multiple social events including at various times on the Christmas Party Committee and organized the EIASC’s Sash Presentation dinner. She has chaired the St. Patrick’s Day Festival several times, which is the preeminent celebration of Irish culture in Eastchester, and served as Mistress of Ceremonies last year. Besides volunteering at multiple social events, she assisted Enda McIntyre as the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade roving reporter.
Helene has volunteered in each of the twelve years that the EIASC has sponsored Eastchester’s St. Patrick's Day Parade and was instrumental in helping it reach the prominent position as the most highly attended St. Patrick's Day Parades in Westchester County. She is an announcer of the parade providing historical context and color commentary regarding the parade participants and supporters with Westchester County Legislator Sheila Marcotte and EIASC’s Pat Murtagh.
Helene's daughter and her six friends began taking Irish dance lessons with Helen's friend Anne Hendry 12 years ago. Helene dedicated time to help Anne organize the Hendry School of Dance. Six students have grown to more than sixty with the Hendry School producing several dancers who have competed on a world-class level. Helene is also an active volunteer in the Eastchester community. Helene served as the Treasurer for the Friends of the Eastchester Public Library for over 5 years. Afterward she was appointed to the Board of the Eastchester Public Library 2004-8 and moved on to become the Eastchester Public Library Board Chairperson from 2009-13. Helene held a position on the Greenvale/Green Knolls Neighborhood Association Board. Helene has volunteered for the PTAs in all the Eastchester schools and served on the Executive Committees for both Greenvale Elementary School and the Eastchester Middle School.
Helene is one of the founders of the Sharon Ann Pollice Memorial Fund which funds a Nursing Scholarship at Fairfield University and contributes to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Kathleen Toolan Doody
Kathleen Toolan Doody is the daughter of Henry Toolan, of Rooskey Knock, County Mayo, and Helen Costello, of the Village of Granlahan, Town of Balliu Lough, County Roscommon. The only girl, growing up among 5 brothers, in the Bronx, Kathy attended grammar school at The Church of the Visitation, high school at Academy of the Sacred Heart of Mary in Manhattan, and graduated from Dominican College in Blauvelt, New York. She married James P. Doody, born in Tournafulla, County Limerick, and together, they moved from the Bronx to Eastchester where they raised their five children and where Jim served as Supervisor of the Town. During that time, Kathy devoted her time and energy to caring for her mother, husband and children, volunteering in Jim’s political campaigns, and in the children’s schools. She also worked as Jim’s assistant, helping him manage his local law practice until his death from cancer in 2003 at the age of 56. She is also the daughter-in-law of Con and Mary Doody, of County Limerick. Con and Mary relocated from the Bronx to Eastchester and were proud members of the Eastchester Irish-American Social Club for many
Kathy and Jim were very active in the early years of the club. There was never a club event for which Kathy did not bake her soda bread or pound cake. Always behind the scenes, she was there to volunteer to help at any club function.
Today, Kathy is still attending club events with her children and grandchildren. Kathy stays busy going to every game, concert, or milestone of her 17 grandchildren. She is happy to help preserve their Irish heritage for them and instill in them a love for Irish culture.
Christine Doody Doherty
Christine Doody Doherty was born in the Bronx, but she has called Eastchester home since 1975.
Christine’s entire life has had one constant: the pride of being Irish. Growing up, Christine, along with her four siblings, was well versed in Irish heritage, history and culture. Christine’s parents recognized the importance of instilling an appreciation of Irish culture in their children. Christine’s father, Jim Doody, emigrated from the village of Tournafulla in County Limerick at the age of four, and her mother, Kathleen Toolan Doody, is the daughter of emigrants as well, from County Mayo and County Roscommon.
Christine attended Immaculate Conception School in Tuckahoe and then graduated from The Ursuline School in New Rochelle. She graduated from Fairfield University, earning a Bachelor of Arts and then completed a Master of Arts at Columbia University. Christine started her teaching career at St. Raymond’s High School for Boys in the Bronx and has spent the last 20 years teaching middle school in the Nanuet Public Schools.
Joining the club in 1978, Christine was always present at various Club events and activities, celebrating with her parents and grandparents. Some of her earliest memories are of the club’s Christmas parties, marching in the Yonkers parade and the many dances the club held in the cafeteria at Immaculate Conception as her
father played accordion, and her grandfather the fiddle.
As Irish pride was passed down to Christine, so was the spirit of service and leadership to her community. As a youth, Christine was a founding member of the Eastchester Youth Council, volunteered on the town’s Committee for the Disabled, and worked on many service projects as a Girl Scout. Christine’s commitment to her community has continued as an adult. Within the Eastchester Irish American Club, Christine co-Chaired the parade festival for numerous years as well as organized the club’s summer picnic. She has also served as a member of the Tuckahoe Schools Foundation, as a Girl Scout leader, as a councilwoman on
Eastchester Town Board, and as a coordinator in the ICS CYO program. Perhaps one of Christine’s proudest accomplishments was working with her family and many friends in town to establish The Jim Doody Foundation, an organization, formed in memory of her dad, dedicated to raising money for brain tumor research at Duke University.
It was probably Christine’s interest in Irish culture and charitable works that led her to meet and eventually marry Steve Doherty. Neither one of them could have ever predicted that Steve, President of the Irish Society at Fairfield University, would someday be the President of the Eastchester Irish American Club. Today, Christine and Steve share the pride of being Irish and community service with their three children, Katie, Mary and Jack.
As 2016 is the club’s 50th year, Christine is especially proud that she and her mom, Kathy, are Co-Honoree’s for this year’s parade. They are proof that the Club’s mission of passing on the love, knowledge, and pride of all things Irish has worked and will continue to work for the next generation.