Senior center head, WWII vet tapped as grand marshals
May 14, 2019 | 9915 views | 0 0 comments | 284 284 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Maspeth Memorial Day Parade will take place on Sunday, May 26, at 1 p.m.

It begins at Walter A. Garlinge Memorial Park at 72nd Street and Grand Avenue, with a ceremony following the parade at Maspeth Memorial Square at 69th Street and Grand Avenue.

This year’s grand marshals are Maria Dixon and Stephen Marrone

Dixon is director of the Selfhelp Maspeth Senior Center, where she has worked for the last 25 years. Dixon holds a master’s degree in Social Work from the Silberman School at Hunter College, and received an award for her research paper on group support for people living with memory loss.

Dixon maintains and develops programming for wellness, educational, creative and socialization activities for seniors in Maspeth and the surrounding communities.

Selfhelp Community Services was founded in 1936 to help those fleeing Nazi Germany maintain their independence and dignity as they struggled to forge new lives in America.

Today, Selfhelp is one of the largest and most respected not-for-profit human service agencies in the city, and manages five senior centers. The center on Grand Avenue has 1,233 members with an average age of 78 years old.

“Our mission is to provide nutritious and affordable meals and a spectrum of educational, wellness and social activities,” said Dixon. “As well as providing case assistance to help with entitlements and benefits in order to allow older adults to maintain independence and dignity as they age.”

Marrone was born in Brooklyn in 1925, and attended P.S. 145 and Brooklyn Metal Trades High School.

In April of 1943, Marrone was selected for the Navy and attended boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois. His new home became the USS Essex Aircraft carrier, where his focus was to protect the ship from enemy planes and Kamikaze attacks while assigned to a 20-millimeter gun crew.

During an attack in the South Pacific in November of 1943, Marrone saved his good friend, who suffered from a terrible leg injury after an explosion. With shrapnel in his own back and side, Marrone removed his belt and applied it as a tourniquet, saving his friend’s life and allowing him to return to America alive.

During his time in the military, Marrone earned the Asiatic/Pacific Ribbon with 13 stars, Presidential Unit Citation, Purple Heart, World War II Victory Medal and Good Conduct Medal.

After the Japanese surrendered, Marrone re-enlisted for two years as a Gunners Mate. After his return to the states, he married his sweetheart, Rose, and started a family.

While working at Pfizer, Marrone took the Police Department test and entered the Academy in 1955. That same year, he purchased a home in Maspeth.

After 33 years of service, Marrone retired as a sergeant from the NYPD. He still resides in Maspeth.
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