The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of Hunterdon County are pleased to announce that Ken Oldam has been selected Grand Marshal of the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Ken has been very involved in fostering Irish culture in Hunterdon County. He is a charter member of the Friendly Sons Hunterdon County serving as Trustee for many years with the organization, experiencing its’ growth from the initial 12 members to what it is today. For each of the past 8 years he has been a key player in managing and promoting the annual FSSP Charity Golf Outing held every July at Beaver Brook Country Club. The golf outing is the Son’s largest revenue generator, having raised well over $100,000 to assist families in need. The outing regularly sells out to 152 golfers putting the Hunterdon County chapter of the Friendly Sons on the map. We owe much of the outing’s success to Ken and his hard work.
Ken was born in East Orange and spent the first 7 years of his life in Newark. Moving to Cranford in 1966 with his mother Frances, father Joseph. and brothers Joe and Dave, he lived there until 1987. After marriage he resided in North Arlington before making the trip west to Hunterdon. First stopping in High Bridge and currently in Clinton Township. Once Route 78 opened through Watchung, it did not take long to get to Hunterdon, a land that he fell for at first sight.
Unlike many of you reading this biography, Ken’s Irish roots did not begin at birth. They began in his 25th year of life in 1984 when he met his bride to be, the former Brenda Marie O’Sullivan. From the first day he stepped foot in the O’Sullivan’s Kearny household, he was inundated with Irish heritage and tradition. Brenda’s mother Mary hailed from Belfast, her father Michael from Limerick. As such, he heard many stories from two completely different perspectives. One of the conversations he would frequently hear was Penney’s or Roche’s, which one was better? With Brenda’s brother Paul being an accomplished musician, the bagpipes, uilleann pipes, bodhran drum and traditional music became a staple in his Irish life.
Ken made his first (of many) trips to Ireland in 1987. He absolutely fell in love with the country, meeting so many of the Irish people during these excursions. In that first trip Ken, Brenda and their friends visited Limerick, Kilkee, The Cliffs of Moher, The Dingle Peninsula, The Ring of Kerry, Blarney Castle, Cork, Waterford, Dublin, Belfast, Donegal and Galway, without missing so many small towns along the way. Beer, golf, great food and driving a stick shift on the other side of the road became his passion. Ken had one regret with all those trips to Ireland. It took him 20 years to develop a taste for Guinness, something we are sure you will see him enjoying today.
In 1995 Ken and Brenda welcomed both their daughter, Sarah Mary Frances, and their niece, Fethnat Ni Shúilleabháin to the world. Sarah has grown up to become an incredible Irish Step Dancer, currently ranking second in the world, Ken can always be found at Feiseanna (competitions), locally, nationally as well as internationally. Fethnat, with so many talents to share, has become a rather good fiddle player, another part of Irish tradition that Ken has enjoyed. Top off the family with three nephews, Conall, Tiarnan and Seamus, along with Brenda’s other brother Michael, and you have a well-rounded life in the Irish way.
Ken is extremely proud, honored and grateful to be part of the Friendly Sons and to have been selected Grand Marshal for the 2015 Hunterdon County St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Beidh lá mór againn