Alexandria St. Patrick’s Day parade founder, local leader Pat Troy dies at 76

WASHINGTON — An Alexandria “Living Legend” died Thursday: Just days after sharing Grand Marshal duties with his wife in the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade he founded 37 years ago, Pat Troy has died at age 76.

Troy was born in Ireland, but has called Alexandria, Virginia, home for 40 years. He was known as a prominent business leader and a beloved member of the community.

“So many people knew him; he couldn’t walk down the street without being stopped,” Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg said. “He just had all these lasting friendships. It’s amazing. Across the board, up and down the generations. He really will be missed.”

Silberberg said Troy and his wife’s Grand Marshal honor during this year’s parade on a bright, beautiful day was a fitting tribute to Troy, just days before his death. “How incredible it is that he was able to enjoy this moment and the city was able to salute him,” Silberberg added.

The mayor described Troy as “very positive” and an embodiment of the American dream, arriving in the U.S. nearly penniless but with an entrepreneurial spirit. For 34 years, Troy and his wife, Bernadette, owned a popular Old Town watering hole, Ireland’s Own, and took over The Irish Walk import store in Alexandria in 1974.

At a dinner held weeks ago for the parade, Silberberg recalled many people standing up and speaking about Troy’s generosity: how when they came to this country from Ireland, he offered them money, jobs or whatever they might need with just a handshake as collateral.

“A lot of people were helped by Pat Troy,” Silberberg said.

She remembered Troy as tenacious, pushing to get the city to fly flags of Ireland along King Street during the entire month of March. The flags weren’t put up on time this year because of the windstorm that postponed the St. Patrick’s Day parade from its usual first Saturday of March until Sunday, March 18.

“He was on it. He was like, ‘Where are the flags, where are the flags?'” Silberberg recalled.

Troy was active in the Catholic Church and recently attended a mass designating St. Mary’s as a Basilica. At a gathering afterward at St. Mary’s Academy, the school, Troy went on stage to lead a group of children in a song.

“It was just adorable and memorable,” Silberberg said. “He just had a tremendous presence.”

Troy was named an Alexandria Living Legend, “which is a huge honor,” Silberberg added. “He made a tremendous difference in our city, and he will long be remembered.”

Troy is survived by his wife Bernadette, children Patrick and Kathleen, and other family members.


Troy’s viewing will be held on Friday, April 6, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Demaine Funeral Home. Demaine Funeral Home is located at 520 S. Washington St. in Alexandria, Virginia.


Troy’s funeral will be held on Saturday, April 7, at 11 a.m. at the Basilica of St. Mary. The Basilica of St. Mary is at 310 S. Royal St. in Alexandria, Virginia.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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