Your 2018 Maple Leaf Parade Marshal – Neil Duresky

This year’s Maple Leaf Parade Marshal lived in La Crosse his entire life with the exception of four years of military service. His mother worked at the Freight House when it was a freight house, at Peerless Brewery, and as a legal secretary. His father worked for the G. Heileman Brewing Company: first as a member of the Old Style Lagers semi-pro football team, and then as a driver and brewery worker. Our parade marshal assures us he helped keep Heileman’s in black ink while attending college.

He was happily married 48 years until his wife died in 2015. He is the proud father of five children and their spouses, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Our parade marshal has a significant other who is a public school classmate, a retired Heileman’s human resource manager, and a past chair of the Miss Oktoberfest pageant.

The Maple Leaf Parade Marshal graduated from Logan High School and UW- La Crosse. He retired after  21 years’ military service as a Naval Reserve petty officer, an Air Force munitions officer, and a Wisconsin Air National Guard aircraft maintenance squadron commander. He is a retired Federal tax collector and a retired executive director of the local American Red Cross

The Maple Leaf Parade Marshal was involved in Boy Scout leadership and Shelby youth baseball coaching. He delivered mobile meals, volunteered at Community Thanksgiving Dinners and was a parent member of the La Crosse School District’s High School Reorganization Committee and Citizens Elementary Long-range Planning Committee. He was on the UW-L Veterans  Hall of Honor Committee and the Chancellor’s Community Council.

He was a commander of American Legion Post 52, and is a member of their military honors funeral detail. He is past Commander of the La Crosse County 40 et 8 veterans honor society, and is a member of the 40 et 8 train crew – raising funds for nursing scholarships and child welfare.

He was a 17-year La Crosse Board of Education member – eight years as president; was a Freedom Honor Flight board member; and was on Congressman Ron Kind’s Academy Selection Committee. The Maple Leaf Parade Marshal earned his private pilot’s license when he was 67 and has been a volunteer pilot and ground crew member for Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 307’s Young Eagles introductory youth flights. He also spent five years on the La Crosse Regional Airport Aviation Board.

He was a board member and president of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards; a member of the Wisconsin American Legion state Legislative Committee; and a member of Governor Doyle’s Task Force on Educational Excellence.

This year’s Maple Leaf Parade Marshal was on the Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction’s Educational Data Advisory Committee; and was a member of Department of Public Instruction task forces on Blind and Visually Impaired Student Needs, and a Library Media and Instructional Technology Guide Revision.

Our new Maple Leaf Parade Marshal had articles published in “The American School Board Journal”, “Wisconsin School News” and the La Crosse school district’s “Community Talk”. He actively advocated for public education in Madison with state legislators; and in Washington, D.C., with Wisconsin’s Congressional delegation.

He played bass in La Crosse’s second rock and roll band – The Saffires, and played in a Logan Dixieland band, The Top Hats, appearing live on Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour in 1959. The Maple Leaf Parade Marshal stopped playing for 41 years, and then joined The Grumpy Old Men swing band for 15 years. He also played with several rock bands; but is now devoted to swing and traditional jazz as a member of The Seven Rivers Jazz Band and The Pearl Street Banjo Band.

Former Maple Leaf Parade Marshals

YearMaple Leaf Parade Marshal
1961Esther Domke*
1962Joan Engh
1963Jack Martin*
1964Frank Italiano*
1965Marge Lienlokken*
1966Jim Conway
1967Babe Weigent*
1968Paul Kreutz*
1969Kootch Carroll*
1970Palmer Hanson*
1971Ed Quillin*
1972Fred Abraham*
1973Alma Burns Zahn*
1974Charlie Kearns*
1975Fred Kramer*
1976Jean Gitz Bassett
1977Paul "Pip" Wuest*
1978Dale Rudy
1979Gordon Feinberg*
1980L. Peter Groves
1981John Alexander*
1982David Nudd*
1983Phil Quillin*
1984Russ Cleary*
1985Raymond Bice*
1986Jim Jacobson*
1987Bob Soules*
1988Noel Richards
1989John Flanagan*
1990Lyle Anderson*
1991Bob Wilhelm*
1992Edgar Kroner
1993Dick Hackett
1994Bob Marck*
1995Bill Hoel
1996Terry Peterslie
1997Pat Moore
1998Al Townsend
1999Dolly Ozburn
2000Elmer Grassman
2001Roger Harring
2002Mike Kearns
2003Marty Severson
2004Max Kottmer*
2005Tom Pahs
2006John Stokes
2007Dave Clements
2008George Smith
2009Tom Thibodeau
2010Ardie Schock*
2011Jim McGettigan
2012Ed Biddick
2013Jean Thompson
2014Mike Desmond
2015Chuck Moore
2016Brad Quarberg
2017Gary Rudy
2018Neil Duresky
* Fondly Remembered

Maple Leaf Parade Marshal Nomination

Know Someone that should “Lead the Way?” Nominate a Parade Marshal today using the Parade Marshal nomination form!

Submit your nomination for a 2019 Parade Marshal by completing the online form below.

Your nominee should be a person who:

  • has contributed positively to the good of the community through leadership and outstanding accomplishments;
  • someone of good character that is well-respected;
  • well-known, well-liked, friendly, outgoing, and has a good personality; and
  • lives within 20 miles of La Crosse.
  • Oktoberfest Parade Marshal Nomination

    La Crosse Festivals Inc. (d/b/a Oktoberfest USA) accepts nominations for Parade Marshals through February for the current calendar year.

    If you know an individual who is deserving, involved, and would be a great fit in our community-focused organization, submit your nomination!

    Your nominee should be a person who:
    • has contributed positively to the good of the community through leadership and outstanding accomplishments
    • is someone of good character that is well-respected
    • is married
    • is a resident for at least 10 years within 20 mile radius of La Crosse
    • is actively involved and well-known in La Crosse community
    • is well-known, well-liked, friendly and outgoing • has the time to devote to Oktoberfest activities!

    All entries must be received no later than 4:00 p.m. on March 28, 2019 to be considered. The final selection is made by Parade Marshal Committee. The new Parade Marshals are announced at the Kick-Off Party in September 2019.

    Eligible nominations shall remain active for three years from the date of the original nomination.