North Meck Christmas Parade Names Two Couples as Grand Marshals
For the first time ever, this year’s North Mecklenburg Christmas Parade will feature grand marshals from Cornelius as well as Davidson. The event, which kicks off at 1 p.m. this Saturday, December 1, has traditionally honored only Davidsonians as grand marshals.
But this year couples from both towns have been selected as grand marshals. The Cornelius honorees are David and Diana Rochester, and the Davidson honorees are Ralph and Carol Quackenbush.
For all its 36 years of ushering in the holiday season, the parade was organized by volunteer fire fighters. However, the grand marshal (s) were always Davidsonians. This year, responsibility for organizing the parade was turned over to the Davidson Parks & Recreation department and the Cornelius Police department. A committee of those groups deemed it appropriate to begin naming grand marshals from each town, since the parade path includes them both.
The Rochesters are being honored for their dedication to the Cornelius police department and the town’s Citizen’s Academy. The Rochesters attended the academy in 2008, and were motivated to accept its call for citizens to serve the town as volunteers. During the past ten years, the Rochesters have each volunteered thousands of hours to help with police department events and tasks. Their service was recently recognized by the town council with a citation that read in part, “These are two of the most selfless people in the town and are a great representation of paying it forward.”
David has logged more than 5,500 volunteer hours, and Diana has logged more than 6,000.
Davidson grand marshals Ralph and Carol Quackenbush are familiar sights in the downtown area. For the past 20 years they have served the town as volunteer parking enforcement officers, regularly walking a two-mile beat from south Main to North Main, ticketing vehicles that overstay the town’s two-hour limit.
But the volunteer service is merely a retirement avocation for Carol and Ralph. The couple has deep roots in the community, having moved to town in 1960. Ralph and Carol operated two popular soda and sundries shops, and then a furniture repair and refinishing service before their retirement to town service. Ralph also taught furniture repair at Central Piedmont Community College for 15 years, and Carol was a practicing RN for many years.
Some of those volunteer roles have been with the Davidson Community Players, the Town of Davidson, and two local churches. In the mid-90s, early in the life of the Davidson Housing Coalition, Ralph joined its board and became Treasurer shortly after that and still serves on the board today.
Saturday’s parade begins at the corner of Griffith Street and Main Street in Davidson, and continues on Main (NC Hwy. 115) into downtown Cornelius. About 120 organizations have registered to take part. For more information, call Davidson Parks & Recreation at 704-892-3349.
Bill Giduz was the son who followed his father’s footsteps into journalism. He has been involved his entire life with news and photography in schools he attended and jobs he’s held. He believes now that he’s got a few good years left to devote to The News of Davidson.