PARADE GRAND MARSHAL
Christopher Joseph Behan
Christopher Joseph Behan was born on March 19, 1958 in Newport. The sixth of twelve children he is the quintessential middle child of hard working parents Michael and Helen Donohoe Behan. He and his siblings Peggy, Patty, Michael, Mary, Billy, Peter, Andrew, David, Brigid, Katie, and Barbara grew up on Harrison Avenue where his parents still live and welcome back the multitudes after Sunday Mass and holidays.
He attended St.Augustin’s Elementary School, Thompson Junior High, and Rogers High School, graduating in 1976. He attended and graduated from Providence College in 1980 with honors and then went on to graduate from Suffolk University Law School in 1984. Having to work his way through school to pay tuition, he looks back proudly on his days working for T.J. Brown and helping out Mop and Moe on the garbage trucks.
After law school, thanks to a recommendation by the beloved late Eleanor Finn, he joined the Law Firm of Joseph Nicholson. He then went to work with the firm Palumbo, Galvin, and Boyle and, for the past fifteen years, has maintained a private practice. He served as Newport’s Municipal Court Judge from 1989 to 1996, as acting City Solicitor, and is currently assistant City Solicitor. He was recently elected President of the Gallogly Family Inn of Court - a professional group of attorneys, judges, law professors and law students from throughout the state.
In 1986 Chris took over the reins of the Newport Saint Patrick’s Day Parade Committee and continued in that position for the next seven years. The parade grew substantially during that time and became a top-notch family-oriented parade. By far, the most famous was the parade during the “Mother-of-all-Storms” in 1993. Chris didn’t sleep much the night before; watching the snow pile up and the winds blow at gale force. He insisted the parade go on as scheduled. It has been said that Newport was the only city on the East Coast to brave the storm and continue with a parade that day, making this year the true 50th annual.
While running the parade Chris was busy building his professional career as well as building his family. In 1987 he married Susan Burke, with whom he has three children; Brendan Edward, Kathleen (KK) Rose, and Brigid Loretta. He and his family live 3 blocks from the house where he grew up in the old Fifth Ward and enjoy the company of other life-long Fifth-Warders such as the Sheekey’s, Booth’s, and Coynes.
Chris joined the Ancient Order of Hibernians in 1976 and has served as President of the Dennis E. Collins Division, Rhode Island State President, and as a Deputy National Organizer. He was voted Hibernian of the Year in 1992, served on the Board of Directors of the Newport Irish Heritage Committee, and is counsel to the Museum of Newport Irish History. He continues to attend St. Augustin’s Church where he has served as a Eucharistic Minister for eight years.
In his spare time Chris enjoys quietly watching sporting events with his brothers- often at the Hibernian Hall. He was one of the founders, and a former officer of, the Newport Rugby Club and, along with his brothers, he remains active in the club. In 1999 he found a new niche - coaching girls’ youth soccer - eventually guiding his 2004 under-12 team to victory at the state championship.
Chris is known throughout the city for his honesty, loyalty and passion for many things: family, Church, Red Sox, Irish Heritage, and his beloved City of Newport. He is very honored to serve as the Grand Marshal of the 50th annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.