Russell Lavan, an active Carmel resident, will be the grand marshal to the 35th annual Northern Westchester & Putnam St. Patrick’s Day Parade that will kick off at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 11.
The parade will begin at the corner of Route 6 and Croton Falls Road, by the Mahopac Fire Department in Mahopac. It will travel east along Route 6 and concludes at the Lake Plaza Shopping Center, where Kmart and Key Food Marketplace are located.
Russell Lavan is one of three sons born in the Bronx to Thomas and Margaret (nee Lehanka) Lavan. He lived in the Highbridge section of the Bronx until moving to Carmel in 1965. In Highbridge, Lavan attended Sacred Heart Grammar School. Then he went to Cardinal Hayes High School and later graduated from Manhattan College.
While attending high school and college, Lavan worked as a vendor at Yankee Stadium and the Polo Grounds. In college he worked evenings at Hoffman Soda Company making soda, at an insurance company and then the US Post Office at Christmas time. In the evenings, Lavan also worked at the Federation Bank and Trust Company in the personnel department where he was responsible for the bank’s payroll. Upon graduating from Manhattan College, Lavan continued to work at Federation Bank as an auditor. It was at the bank that he met the ‘love of his life’ Patricia O’Byrne. He went on to work for a business consultant and in 1962 he began working for International Business Machines (IBM) from which he eventually retired thirty years later.
At IBM, Lavan started in the personal property tax department, where he became supervisor in 1965. He was responsible for the timely filing of all of IBM’s personal property tax returns throughout the country. From there Lavan went into the systems department where he developed various systems.
While working in the education department, Lavan developed computer courses on different subjects. In Buenos Aires he presented a course for all of South America countries. The course material was printed in Spanish and accepted by all delegates.
In 1962, he had married O’Byrne in Incarnation Church in Washington Heights and the two lived on Shakespeare Ave. in the Bronx where they had two daughters, Patti and Jeanne. After moving to Carmel in 1965, they had two more children, Eileen and Russell. They have eight grandchildren: Liam, Jack, Logan, Paige, Lauren, Jenna, Jordan and Audrey.
In Carmel, Lavan became very active in the Holy Name Society of St. James the Apostle in Carmel. He was also a charter member of the Brewster Ancient Order of Hibernians chapter, as well as past president. While their children were attending St. James Elementary School, Lavan was very involved with the St. James Parents’ Guild and became president.
For the Parents’ Guild, he ran various fund raisers including dances (square and round), annual picnics, as well as Nights at the Races. During these years, Lavan also volunteered as an EMT with the Carmel Volunteer Ambulance Corps.
Along with his wife, Pat, Lavan joined the Emerald Association of Putnam County in 1994. They have chaired many Christmas parties, both have worked on the Annual Feis in Putnam County Park and, at various times, each has served on the executive board. In 2002, the Lavans were named ‘Emeralds of the Year’ at the Annual St Patrick’s Day Dinner Dance and both are still enjoying their Irish heritage and culture.
Lavan is also a charter member of Our Lady of the Lakes Council of the Knights of Columbus in Carmel. It was formed in 1971 in the basement of Our Lady of the Lake Church in Lake Carmel. Starting with Financial Secretary, he held many officer positions. For the Knights, he ran many dances and picnics as well as a book drive for prisoners at Green Haven Prison. Lavan also ran a fund raiser for a family that was trying to adopt a Korean orphan. In addition, he worked on and ran Christmas parties for special needs children as well as starting the council’s first free-throw basketball tournaments for children. Lavan instituted the first Knights of Columbus Blood Drive and ran it for several years. He also initiated and ran a number of tail gate parties at West Point.
In 2003, when the Knights needed a representative for the St. Patrick’s Parade committee, Lavan volunteered and has been proud to serve as their delegate each year on the parade committee.