We have many dignitaries who are chosen annually and ride in the parade including Mr. Pat, Miss Shamrock, the Distinguished Irish Woman, the Grand Marshal, the Celebrity Grand Marshal, and the Honorary Irish Person.
We know the public is excited to see them and we thank them for generously donating their time!
2020-2021 Mr. Pat: Peter Kenefick
The king figure of the parade, Mr. Pat embodies the spirit of Saint Patrick’s Day. Watch for him at our events.
It’s been said, “You can take the boy out of St. Paul, but you can’t take St. Paul out of the boy.” Peter Emmett Kenefick, Mr. Pat 2020-2021 is living testament of this St. Paul wisdom. Born, raised, and a member of St. Therese parish, Peter graduated as Highland Park High School class president in 1974. He married his now wife of 40 years and bought a house in Edina (or, as Peter used to describe its location, as living on “Gleason and Crosstown”). His job 30 plus years ago brought him to the shores of Lake Minnetonka where Peter is a Senior Vice President – Wealth Management with UBS Financial Services.
Peter, along with his partners, owns Emmett’s Public House, hanging its shingle in 2015 on St. Patrick’s Day, a goal and a dream come true for the Kenefick family. Not a stranger to Grand Avenue, Peter has been operating on the Avenue for over 35 years at two long-standing restaurants, Dixie’s on Grand and Saji-Ya. As a board member of GABA, this year Peter is the Grand Old Day chairperson.
By way of pedigree, Peter was recommended by Pat O’Neill, Mr. Pat 2006. Peter’s dad, Emmett Kenefick (1933-2013) was the inspiration for the cozy pub, coming from the Kenefick clan hailing from County Cork. Peter’s mother, Ann, comes from a long line of O’Connor’s, and his grandmother, another familiar St. Paul Irish name, was a Horrigan.
“I am honored and humbled to have been able to have a presence in St. Paul and Grand Avenue for so many years – and many more to come. I look forward to being part of the upcoming events and will not take my duties as Mr. Pat lightly. It’s a privilege to be in the same clubhouse with such outstanding people who have gone before me in this honorary role,” said Peter. “Stop by one of the restaurants and buy your button – we’ve been selling them for years, but this year will be extra special!”
2020-2021 Distinguished Irish Woman
The Distinguished Irish Woman is, of course, Irish. She has also done outstanding work in her field and in the community. Each year the Association recognizes a hard working Irish woman (is there any other kind?) from the community.
The 2020-2021 Distinguished Irish Woman is actually four remarkable local women, Jane, Brigid, Kate and Rita-the McDonald sisters, who are mainstays in local activist circles. They have been working on behalf of peace and social justice for the past 50 years. For decades, they helped keep the weekly Wednesday night protests on the Lake Street Bridge going. Remarkably, despite being in their 80s and 90s, all four were in attendance opening night at the History Theatre play documenting their life: Sisters of Peace.
Among 11 siblings born on a Minnesota farm in the 1920s and 1930s, these four chose to become nuns, entering the convent under the strict rules in place before the reforms of Vatican II in the 1960s. Thereafter, they left their habits behind, and–each in her own way–evolved into non-violent activists practicing civil disobedience. They anchored regular protests here in the Twin Cities against bomb manufacturing and for peace, racking up multiple arrests and building relationship with local police.
They are excited about being part of SPA’s celebration of St. Patrick and are most proud of their Irish heritage.
2020-2021 Grand Marshal: Chief Butch Inks
A guest of honor asked to lead the parade.
Chief Inks grew up in the Rice Street and Como area. He attended Como Elementary, Washington Junior High School, and graduated from Como Park High School. He has served as an employee of the City of St. Paul since 1985, starting his career in the Parks and Recreation Department. He began his career with the Fire Department in 1994 as a Firefighter.
Since then, he has held a variety of positions within the department, including Fire Equipment Operator, Rescue Squad Captain, District Chief, Special Operations Chief, Community Relations Chief, Deputy Chief, and Assistant Chief. Since January 2018, he has served as Interim Fire Chief and was appointed Fire Chief in November 2019. In these roles, he has been responsible for the management of the budget and daily operations of all fire personnel, stations, and apparatus. He also assisted in the development of the department’s Equity Work-Plan.
“For more than 20 years, Chief Inks has brought the values we hold dear in Saint Paul to his service in our community,” said Mayor Carter. “Through his leadership, our Fire Department is poised to continue providing compassionate care and critical, life-saving services for all of us.”
“It is an honor to be appointed Fire Chief of the City of Saint Paul,” said Chief Inks. “I look forward to continuing our important work of ensuring the safety and well-being of our community alongside the incredible members of our Fire Department.”
Chief Inks is a retired Air Force Veteran. He served 26 honorable years, before retiring in 2012 from the United States Air Force fire department as a Deputy Fire Chief. His military experience includes numerous deployments to various parts of the world where he assisted in developing training programs still being used today.
Chief Inks holds a Business Management degree from the University of Northwestern – Saint Paul, where he graduated with Honors Magna Cum Laude. In addition to his work, Inks has volunteered as a youth coach in hockey, baseball, and girls’ fastpitch softball and supports the Sheridan Story-Fighting Child Hunger.
2020-2021 Celebrity Grand Marshal: The Saint Paul Saints
A celebrity guest of honor asked to lead the parade.
The St. Paul Saints are 2019 American Association champions, the team’s fourth championship in its 27 years. The team, which plays its home baseball games at CHS Field in Lowertown, St. Paul, begins its 28th season of providing affordable family fun on May 19th . Be on the lookout for Irish Night in Summer 2022.
2020-2021 Honorary Irishman: Dr. Randy Stinchfield
Saint Pat’s Day may be an Irish holiday, but it’s a day for all cultures to enjoy. Each year the Association names a non-Irish member of the community as its Honorary Irishman. While this person is not necessarily Irish, he embodies the spirit and character of the Irish and the holiday.
The 2020-2021 Honorary Irishman is Mr. Pat’s brother-in-law, and a true Swede, Dr. Randy Stinchfield. Growing up in Richfield and a 1974 graduate of Richfield High School, his geography forever changed to the Summit Hill neighborhood, when his wife of now 39 years, Patsy, fell in love with an old Tudor-style home where they moved into after graduate school, and raised their two daughters, Megan and Shannon.
Randy met Mr. Pat’s sister, Patsy Kenefick, in college and his first invitation/date for Patsy to visit his Swedish relatives’ dairy farm near Taylor’s Falls was declined – who then later agreed (not so stubborn Irish?!)
Randy and Patsy are avid sports fans and coaches, coaching their daughters volleyball, soccer, and softball teams over the years at the Linwood Rec Center. They were recognized for their contributions to the neighborhood, receiving the 2007 Summit Hill Association Good Neighborhood Award. Megan and Shannon have also performed Irish dance at the Irish Fair – so Randy and Patsy have cultivated the Irish spirit in their home, and abroad when they toured Ireland on their bikes. Look for pictures hanging at Emmett’s Public House from their Irish escapades. Randy is also an avid photographer.
Randy’s non-Irish pedigree hails from Leeds England, and Randy is the tenth generation of his Stinchfield family in the US. His mother’s family are more recent immigrants from Sweden, and his maternal grandmother, Gerda Paulson-Berntson spoke Swedish in the home.
“Being part of the Kenefick clan predisposes me to all things Irish, and I am proud to be wearing the green tonight,” said Randy