Peter Cuthbert Named Grand Marshal Of 51st
Annual Westhampton Beach St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Although the new year has just begun, the villagers of Westhampton Beach have already begun preparing for St. Patrick’s Day and the annual parade to celebrate it, to be held this year on Saturday, March 10.
Peter Cuthbert, an 88-year-old former Westhampton Beach High School teacher, basketball coach and summer principal, will head the 51st annual parade as grand marshal.
Mr. Cuthbert, who also served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and has marched in the parade in previous years with the Veterans of Foreign Wars, may be the perfect selection for this year’s parade theme of “Hometown Heroes,” the name shared with the program initiated by the Westhampton Beach Free Library to honor local veterans. Mr. Cuthbert was also that program’s first honoree in March.
His extensive military service helped land him the honor. Air Force Technical Sergeant Lisha Terry, part of the 106th Rescue Wing Security Forces Squadron based at Westhampton’s Francis S. Gabreski Airport and a longtime member of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, nominated him due to his service.
After the committee voted, Mr. Cuthbert’s name was advanced to the group of all surviving past grand marshals, where he won the role, according to Parade Committee President Tim Laube.
“I’m representing all veterans,” Mr. Cuthbert said recently. “I also want to march for the Westhampton Beach Fire Department, all first responders and volunteers like my daughter Lynne.”
Lynne Cuthbert Jones, a Westhampton Beach resident, volunteers with Maureen’s Haven, a homeless outreach center in Riverhead, work that Mr. Cuthbert categorizes as service to the community just as vital as fighting fires and reporting to emergency scenes.
“His daughter Lynne was a grand marshal as well,” Mr. Laube noted. “Clearly, community service runs in the family.”
In addition to Ms. Jones, Mr. Cuthbert had five children with his late wife, Nancy. While the family lived in Westhampton Beach for 17 years, Mr. Cuthbert currently lives in East Moriches.
“I was surprised,” Mr. Cuthbert said of being named grand marshal, although he expressed his excitement at leading the huge affair and visiting the various village establishments that will be decorated in festive green. “There will be lots of bagpipe bands,” he added.
Mr. Laube saw the choice as more predictable. “With his service to the county and community, he is the epitome of a grand marshal,” he said.