Hon. Edward Neafsey
Ed Neafsey was born in Elizabeth and grew up in Linden with his seven siblings. He is the oldest child of Edward Bud Neafsey, Jr., and Agnes Murphy Neafsey. First in his family to graduate college, he received a BA from Assumption College and a JD from Southwestern Law School. He spent a short period in private practice before joining the U.S. Army as a Judge Advocate General attorney. He served as a Captain in Texas and Germany during peacetime, and he was awarded an Army Commendation Medal.
A career public servant, Neafsey worked at the county, State, and federal levels. Most of his career was spent with the State, and most of that time with the NJ Attorney General’s Office. He was a deputy attorney general, an assistant attorney general, and the First Assistant Attorney General. He also served as Chief of the Environmental Crimes Bureau, Acting Union County Prosecutor, and Inspector General.
In other State jobs, Neafsey was an assistant counsel to Governor Tom Kean, assistant commissioner for enforcement in Governor Jim Florio’s Department of Environmental Protection, and a tenured Superior Court Judge in Monmouth and Mercer Counties. He authored the Eagleton Institute of Politics research article entitled “Beach & Ocean Pollution Disaster: The Response of Two Governors,” and he co-authored the National Association of Attorneys General monograph entitled “Environmental Prosecutions: Investigation to Sentencing.”
Neafsey was a certified criminal trial attorney, and he tried murder cases as a military lawyer, defense attorney, prosecutor, and judge. He has been an active member of the NJ State Bar Association for more than 45 years. He spent many years as a coach and a judge in the Mock Trial Program for High School students. He also chaired the Criminal Law Section, and the Military Law and Veterans Affairs Section. At present, he serves on the State Bar’s Board of Trustees. Neafsey has been a Jersey Shore resident for four decades. Though retired when Superstorm Sandy struck, he elected to join FEMA as the lead legal advisor for the NJ Public Assistance Program to assist in rebuilding public infrastructure at the Jersey Shore. He received a Department of Homeland Security General Counsel’s Award for Excellence for that work. While serving on the bench and at FEMA, he held a top-secret security clearance.
Neafsey is an Adjunct Professor at Rutgers Law School, where he teaches courses on military justice, criminal adjudication, and the Northern Ireland civil rights movement. He also volunteers as a mentor for NJ’s Veterans Diversion Program. He has mentored veterans facing criminal charges in NJ Superior Court in Atlantic and Monmouth Counties. In his legal and volunteer work, he is committed to the pursuit of justice through public service, continued learning, and the education of others.
Neafsey’s family hails from Counties Cork and Wexford. He holds dual American and Irish citizenships. He is a member of the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ), a Belfast human rights group, and he conducted legal research for CAJ in Shanahan v United Kingdom, a European Court of Human Rights case, and the Hooded Men Case. He also was a Diplock trial observer and an Apprentice Boys parade observer during the 1990’s. When the NJ Legislature’s bipartisan Resolution designating March as Irish American Month was signed into law in 2022, it recognized notable Irish Americans from NJ including US Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, Bruce Springsteen, and Neafsey for his human rights activism.
Neafsey was named Irishman of the Year by the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick – Union County, and by the Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh (FSOS) – Belmar. He writes the Irish History chapter for the FSOS newsletter. He is a long-time member of FSOS Foundation, and the NJ State Hibernians Freedom for All Ireland Chair.
Ed’s late wife Jane supported the Belmar-Lake Como St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and she held an open house every parade day. Ed is humbled and honored to follow in the footsteps of his father, who was the 2008 parade Grand Marshal, and his sister Margaret, who was the 2019 Deputy Grand Marshal.
Michelle Casserly, Kathleen Casserly & Megan Levis
St.Patrick’s Day parades are a long standing tradition for the Casserly sisters. Michelle, Kacey (Kathleen) and Megan grew up attending parades from Jersey City to the Jersey Shore. The sisters have been proud Belmar Parade Committee members since 2013, having been introduced to the committee by member, Grand Marshal and friend, the late Sharon Day. Upon joining the organization, Michelle, Kacey and Megan started the design and sales of the now annual commemorative t-shirts. The sisters have sold shirts at nearly every fundraiser since 2013, raising valuable funds to power the parade down main street, regularly selling out of more and more shirts each year.
They are the eldest three of four children of Michael and Joan Ann Casserly, natives of Jersey City, and grew up in Sussex County, NJ where they graduated from High Point Regional High School. They and their brother Michael have treasured memories of attending the parade since childhood. March was always a particularly festive season as their paternal grandfather celebrated his birthday on lucky March 17. Their family is deeply rooted in the public service sector with roles in education as well as police and fire departments. Bagpipes have always been a celebrated tradition at all family events, as various aunts, uncles and cousins are members of local associations including the Staten Island Pipes and Drums, the Port Authority Pipes and Drums and the Friendly Sons of Shillelagh Jersey Shore Pipe Band.
Michelle, Kacey and Megan have had the opportunity to visit Ireland to experience Irish culture first hand and walk in the footsteps of their ancestors. Michelle and Kacey have visited three times in 2010, 2011 and 2023, and Megan traveled there once, in 2011. On the paternal side of their family tree, their great-great- grandfather, Michael, emigrated from County Roscommon via Ellis Island. Their grandmother’s family traces their routes to County Mayo. On the maternal side, their relatives also traveled to the U.S. three generations ago and hailed from County Cork.
The eldest of the siblings, Michelle, a die-hard sports fan all of her life, originally dreamed of being a broadcaster for ESPN, but after gaining valuable experience at
Elizabethtown College, where she also captained the Blue Jay softball team, she turned down a job offer from the network to pursue event planning as a career. After a position at Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal in Charlotte, NC, she returned to her Jersey roots and worked for the Lakewood BlueClaws baseball team. She also gained experience in other industries including hospitality and pharmaceuticals before moving to the nonprofit sector.
Then as the Executive Director of Strategic Events for Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation, Michelle was responsible for the planning and execution of logistics related to fundraising, cultivation, stewardship and recognition events. She increased the revenue total and strategic value of the activities during her 13+ year tenure. In April of 2022, she moved onto an exciting new chapter in the role of Senior Events & Experiential Manager, Government Systems with Viasat, a global communications company that believes everyone and everything can be securely connected. Since joining the Carlsbad, CA based company, she has had the opportunity to travel around the world. Michelle previously served on the Belmar Zoning Board and served as a volunteer basketball and soccer coach for the Belmar Recreation Department.
Second born, Kacey received her degree in Elementary Education and History from the College of New Jersey and her Graduate Degree in Special Education and Master’s
degree in Reading from New Jersey City University. She has been a teacher in the Matawan Aberdeen School District for close to two decades. Additionally, Kacey worked her way up on the Belmar Beachfront from badge checker to co-director of operations. She also currently serves on the Belmar Library Board.
The youngest sister of the clan, Megan was born March 30, 1983 (the only sibling with a birthday in the holiday season). She grew up involved in many activities including playing soccer, basketball and softball through her school years. She graduated from The College of New Jersey with a degree in Elementary Education and History. Upon graduation, Megan moved to Belmar, where she worked for several years on the Belmar Beachfront while completing her postgraduate studies at New Jersey City University. In 2008, Megan started her career as a special education teacher in the Marlboro School District. In 2016, Megan joined the staff of Belmar Elementary School, which has given her the opportunity to become even more involved with the Belmar community.
Megan met her husband, Mark Levis, Belmar Councilman, on an “Irish night” at Connolly Station in 2008. They got engaged in August 2011 on their first trip to Ireland while visiting the Aran Island Inis Mór. Megan and Mark were married on August 4, 2012 at St. Rose Church. Local Irish band, The Snakes, entertained the crowd at their reception with Irish tunes. Megan and Mark have three children, Molly (10), Morgan (8), and Max (5), who have grown up enjoying St. Patrick’s Day Parade celebrations. The Levis children attend Belmar Elementary School, and are actively involved in Belmar Recreation activities, where Megan has served as a volunteer coach for soccer and basketball.
The Casserly sisters are truly humbled and honored to be part of a storied Irish tradition
which is incredibly meaningful for their entire family and all of their friends. They are
exceedingly proud of their heritage and the characteristics that it represents: loyalty,
resiliency, friendliness, hospitality and a strong sense of community. They are very
much looking forward to spending time with others at the fundraisers and on parade day
celebrating the culture, hearing bagpipes and trad music performed and great craic