By Kevin Matyi
Some would say the Nally family name is synonymous with Kings Park.
Tom Nally, who shares a name with his late father who died in 2017, said that his family has been deeply ingrained in Kings Park’s community. Both Tom and his father worked as teachers and coaches for Kings Park High School. His mother, Diane, worked for St. Joseph’s School of Religion. His brother, John, worked as a pharmacist at Genovese Drug Stores while Gene Nally went into local politics.
“It just feels like Kings Park is an extension of my family,” Tom Nally said.
“It just feels like Kings Park is an extension of my family.”
— Tom Nally
The family has lived in the community for nearly 120 years, spanning six generations.
“This community has shown me what it means to care for your neighbors and to be there when they need you,” John Nally said. “This town has always been there for my family through good times and bad, and I am forever grateful.”
These contributions are part of why the Nally Boys, Tom, John and Gene, were selected as grand marshals for the 2019 Kings Park St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Together, the three brothers will lead a multitude of bands, floats and local organizations and businesses in marching along Main Street.
“Since the parade’s inception, the Nally family has been a staple in the parade, resplendent and enthusiastic in a pickup truck … emblazoned with the Nally Boys banner,” reads the parade’s website.
Both Tom and John Nally attributed the original concept of the truck and its banner to their father.
Tom Nally said one of his favorite memories of the past was seeing how excited his father would become while gathering items to decorate the truck.
“He was always figuring out ways to make more room in the back of the pickup truck to fit more family members,” he said.
His brother recalled the family’s first time preparing to take part in the Kings Park tradition.
“I remember when Tom [Sr.] first told us we would be in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade,” John Nally said. “He was all excited and worked hard to get the truck clean and had a banner made heralding our family’s roots in County Westmeath in Ireland.”
Each year, the number of Nally family and friends riding along the parade route in the pickup truck has continued to grow, turning it into a tradition. Upon being presented with their sashes at the Grand Marshal Ball in November, John Nally said he was filled with a sense of pride.
“Our Irish heritage has always been important to our family and to be singled out was extremely humbling,” he said.
“Our Irish heritage has always been important to our family and to be singled out was extremely humbling.”
— John Nally
While the three brothers are often called the Nally Boys, John Nally said they would never forget their sister, Terri, who passed away in 2002.
“She was a very important member of our family and an integral part of the community,” he said.
John Nally said he knows that his father and sister will be with them in spirit as the three brothers take their places March 2.
“When we take our place in the front of the parade this year, I know Tom [Sr.] will be smiling down on us,” John Nally said. “He was the architect of this journey and to not have him with us will be extremely bittersweet. To have his son, Thomas, walk with us will ease the pain and we know Tom will be with us in spirit. Both he and my sister, Terri, would be extremely proud.”
The 2019 Kings Park’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade will step off March 2 at noon from the intersection of Lou Avenue and Pulaski Road at the Celtic Crossing bar.