Wednesday, January 7, 2015

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Victoria Connor named Grand Marshal of the 2015 Parade!

Victoria Connor Named Grand Marshal of
32nd Annual York Saint Patrick’s Day Parade

The York Saint Patrick’s Day Parade Committee is pleased to announce Victoria Connor as Grand Marshal of the 32nd Annual York Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, to be held on Saturday, March 14, 2015, along Market Street in downtown York.

Victoria was honored and delighted upon hearing the news of her selection as the Grand Marshal of the 2015 York Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.  She and her family have long enjoyed celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day and participating in the parade.

A graduate of the Rutgers University, Victoria came to York County in 1998 with her family, making her home in the City of York with her husband, Mike, who was “extremely proud and very excited!” being very Irish himself,  to hear of his wife’s recognition.  Victoria and Mike are hoping to have many family members and friends with them for the parade.  They are parishioners of St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church and have raised two children—daughter Brittany, who currently resides in Sydney, Australia, and son Michael, a freshman at Penn State’s University Park Campus. Their children, both graduates of Saint Patrick Catholic Elementary School and York Catholic High School, have proudly marched in the York Saint Patrick’s Day Parade many, many times!

In addition to being Dutch, German, Hungarian and Polish, Victoria’s deep Irish roots grew from her maternal and paternal great great grandparents on her mother’s side, the Gilligans and Hendersons, who made the journey from Ireland to New York in the mid-1800s and eventually settled in Newark, NJ.  
Peter and Mary Jane O’ Rourke Henderson emigrated with their young son, John, on the ship Triton which sailed from Dublin to New York and arrived June 29, 1848.  Another of Peter and Mary Jane’s sons, Henry Henderson, married a young German woman, Sophia Klingel. They had a daughter, Mary Henderson – Victoria’s grandmother.
John and Clara Gilligan also emigrated from Ireland around 1860. However, no records have been located to date to determine their origins in Ireland. John and Clara’s daughter, Delia Gilligan, married a Dutchman named Isaac Van Driel. Their son, Victoria’s grandfather, Jacob Van Driel married Mary Henderson. They had 8 children, 4 boys and 4 girls including Victoria’s mother, Maryrose Genevieve Van Driel. Maryrose married Richard Lowey, who was of Hungarian and Polish descent. They had 6 children, 3 boys and 3 girls with Victoria being the youngest.
Victoria and her family visited Ireland in 2010—swapping houses for two weeks with a family from DĂșn Laoghaire (pronounced Dun Leery) —where they surprised Mike with a 50th birthday “hooley night” celebration at Johnnie Fox’s Pub. Established in 1798, Johnnie Fox's is one of the oldest pubs in Ireland and renowned for being the highest pub in the country!

Victoria is Chief Executive Officer of York County Bar Association, and its charitable arm, York County Bar Foundation. The Bar aspires to build its capacity for leadership and service to improve the legal profession, the community it serves and the administration of justice. In addition to collaborating creatively and effectively with stakeholders throughout the community, Victoria strives to inspire, lead and support Bar members, staff and volunteers to accomplish these goals. Her passion is related to a strong desire to help York County’s most vulnerable citizens’ children, the elderly, those suffering from abuse and the poor.

In addition to a successful career in management and philanthropy, Victoria has been very active as a volunteer for numerous non-profits is an enthusiastic supporter of York City and its surrounds.  She personally developed and hosted two historic architectural walking tours of law firm buildings located in York City. Victoria and Mike’s historic home in the beautiful Springdale neighborhood as well as its charming city-sized English garden have been included on several home and garden tours over the years to benefit local non-profits including the York Young Professionals and Historic York. From the preservation of residential living and historic architecture to quality of life issues, special events, and tourism, Victoria has been an exceptional advocate for York County.

Prior to joining the YCBA/YCBF, Victoria was employed by the American Red Cross for 12 years and responded to numerous local and national disasters including the Red Cross response to the crash of Flight 93 in Shanksville, PA on 9/11/01.  She remains a proud Red Cross volunteer and will Chair the local 100th Anniversary Celebration Committee in 2017.

Her other civic activities also include:
YDR Community Columnist – 2015
County Conference of Legal Journals – Board Member
Leave a Legacy York County – Non-Profit Partnership Chair
Women's Giving Circle of the York County Community Foundation – Membership Chair
United Way of York County – Communications Committee Member
Uptown Rotary Club – President (first woman!)
Springdale Neighborhood Association – Board Member
St. Patrick Parish Pastoral Council – At-Large Member
NJ Media Arts Center/Rutgers Film CO-OP – Advisor

In recognition of her community leadership, Victoria was named a 2014 York Federal Fellows by the York County Community Foundation. She is one of four nonprofit executives who received fellowships of $5,000 each to complete professional and personal leadership development. Her plan was related to maintaining work/life balance through physical and spiritual fitness activities including yoga and running while expanding both knowledge of legal services programs and connections with the providers network locally, statewide and across the country as well as leading and administering effective programs related to the delivery of legal services to the poor and low-income individuals in need of civil legal assistance in the York community.  Victoria’s plans were unexpectedly derailed with a diagnosis of early stage breast cancer in July 2014. Thanks to early detection and an excellent prognosis, she has worked continuously during treatment, which is expected to conclude in late January, and will complete the remaining portion of the Fellowship – attending a week-long yoga camp and surf school in Costa Rica – this spring. Follow her journey at

Tom O’Shea, Grand Marshal of the 2014 York Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, and now a new parade committee member, was honored to be able to announce that Victoria Connor is the Grand Marshal of this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  Tom said, “I have worked closely with Victoria in her capacity as Executive Director of the York County Bar Association and Foundation and Victoria has been very active with many programs that improve the quality of lives of the citizens of York County.   She does volunteer work for many local organizations and she has been a big supporter and faithful volunteer for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade over the last several years.  She brings energy and excitement to everything she does and she will make a great Grand Marshal.”

Kim Walsh-Phillips, CEO of IO Creative Group, a long-time parade sponsor, added: “I am so pleased the Parade Committee chose Victoria Connor. She is an outstanding example of what it means to be an Irish American-- commitment to family and community and making sure each day gives us a reason to celebrate. It is an honor to know her, work with her and call her my friend and I can't wait to cheer her on in the parade!”

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