The Columbia Lions Club and Sunsnappers are pleased to announce that Mary J. Loreto will serve as grand marshall for the Columbia Mardi Gras/Halloween parade on October 22.
The 69th annual parade will feature several bands, floats, walking groups and costumed individuals. More than $1,500 in prize money will be awarded. The theme for this year’s parade is Fairy Tales and Fantasy Land. For more information or to register, call Cheryl or John Grunden at 684-2714.
Loreto, a lifelong Columbia resident, has a long history of dedicated service to Columbia and Lancaster County. She is a tireless advocate for children, senior citizens and the needy.
Loreto has served on the following boards: Columbia Borough School Board, Columbia Catholic Housing for the Elderly, Community Action Program, Lancaster County Board of Assistance and Housing Development Corp.
Loreto, 90, was instrumental in the effort to open a child care center in Columbia. She also served on a special borough committee that identified affording housing for senior citizens and disabled persons as a critical need in the community. Those efforts led to the construction of Trinity House and Saint Peter’s Apartments. A special tribute to Loreto is planned as the parade passes by both buildings.
Over the years Loreto has lovingly opened her home to many people including new immigrants from Egypt. She also has invited residents of local nursing homes with no family in the area to share holiday meals.
Loreto, who is trained as a nurse, was a successful businesswoman, having owned and operated several antiques and retail stores over the years. She also worked at the former Loreto’s Ristorante, where she prepared many of her family recipes including her homemade signature pasta sauce.
Loreto was a church sacristan at St. Peters Church for more than 40 years. She has 10 children, 20 grandchildren, 27 great-grandchil