James “Jim” Sumbrum Sr. has been chosen as the Grand Marshal of the 25th edition of the “Old Neighborhood” St. Patrick’s Day Parade and will lead the procession through the historic streets of the Valley and Old First Ward neighborhoods on Saturday, March 17th, 2018.
A lifelong resident of the Old First Ward, James “Jim” Sumbrum grew up as one of ten children on Alabama Street. He is the son the late Joseph Sumbrum and the late Mary Ellen (Kearns) Sumbrum, who was the 2012 parade Grand Marshal. Jim attended Our Lady of Perpetual Help school from kindergarten through 7th grade before the school’s closing in 1971. He then attended St. Brigid’s on Louisiana Street and went on to graduate from Seneca Vocational High School.
During his adolescence, Jim could be found playing floor hockey at the Valley Community Center. It is here that he would meet the love of his life, Pamela (Wasielewski) Sumbrum. Jim and Pam have been married for 41 years and have two sons, James “Buck” Sumbrum and Justin “Biz” Sumbrum.
Jim worked a number of jobs throughout his life, sometimes a few at a time. Although his career came as a truck driver for the City of Buffalo, there is no doubt that his time as a recreation aide at both the Old First Ward Center and The Valley Community Center are some of his proudest work. He knew engaging neighborhood youth in athletics and recreational activities would be a means to keeping them off the streets.
When off the clock, Jim’s work continued as he volunteered in many capacities. He previously served as a member of the Valley Board of Directors, coached little league Valley-First Ward football, Mariners, Steamers, and South Buffalo Tigers, and spearheaded food concessions at the “Rally in the Valley” for several years. He would work 5 days from set up to clean up, often seen hauling a large concession stand and all of its supplies.
Across from his home, Jim launched South Buffalo Lacrosse at Fr. Conway Park. The league fielded 160 kids in its first year and introduced dozens to a sport they had never played. Started as a recreational opportunity for community youth, several students went on to play collegiately and receive scholarship funds.
Despite numerous health struggles including a kidney transplant, stroke, congestive heart failure and a leg amputation, Jim continues to persevere with an upbeat attitude and a nonstop sense of humor. He is faithful to his neighborhood, trekking down to Waterfront Memories & More Museum on his scooter to visit Bert, Joan, and Peg, and spending his Wednesday evenings at concerts at Buffalo River Fest Park with his family. Prior to his amputation, when he could manage stairs, he was in regular attendance at Our Lady of Perpetual Help’s Sunday mass.
Jim has been committed to his family, especially his granddaughters Lilly, Maddie, and Adeline, as well as his first grandson who is due to arrive in May. Jim is most deserving to be honored as the Grand Marshal of the 2018 “Old Neighborhood” Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.
The Valley Community Association will formally announce Jim as Grand Marshal along with the Parade Dedications for the 25th Annual “Old Neighborhood” St. Patrick’s Day Parade at their Fundraiser Party on Saturday, March 10th, 2018. The party will be held at the Valley Center located at 93 Leddy Street, Buffalo, near the junction of South Park Avenue and Elk Street from 7pm-11pm. The cost is just $20 per person and includes admission, draft beer, and pop. Canned beer and wine will also be available for sale. Tickets will be available at the door. Entertainment at the Fundraiser Party will be provided by lively Irish band “Emerald Isle”.
This year the parade will be dedicated in memory of three very special people who passed away this past year that were part of the “Old Neighborhood”. Mike Harrington, a First Ward kid who married a Valley girl, was the manager at Tops and always remembered his beloved neighborhoods. Also honored this year will be Bob Bouquard whose son Zachary was part of the Valley Community Association youth programs and who supported many Valley fundraisers including the annual golf tournament. Paul Simonick, an avid supporter of the Valley Community Association, will also be honored.
The Parade Route
The 25th annual parade will kick off at 12 Noon from the Valley Community Center and will wind through the streets of the historic Buffalo River Community. Viewing of the parade is available along South Park Avenue (between Hamburg Street and Smith Street), Smith Street (between South Park Avenue and Elk Street), Elk Street (between Smith Street and South Park Avenue), Hamburg Street (between South Park Avenue and South Street), and South Street (between Hamburg Street and Louisiana Street).
Immediately following the parade will be the traditional grand Irish “Hooley” featuring live music by “Emerald Isle” as well as plenty of food and drink. The “Hooley” runs from 1pm-5pm at the Valley Community Center.
For More Information on the Valley’s St. Patrick’s Day Festivities
- Call Lori at – 716-823-4707 ext. 4
- “Like” the Valley Community Center on Facebook
- Follow the agency on Twitter @VCAssociation