The Rev. Irwin and Janet Jennings honored as Grand Marshals of Fourth of July Parade

Posted on June 27, 2019

Lakeside is honored to have the Rev. Irwin and Janet Jennings serve as this year’s Grand Marshals for the Fourth of July Parade.

The Jennings are beloved longtime Lakesiders who have given much to the community. Irwin has served as Chair of the Lakeside Chautauqua Board of Directors and recently retired as the Dockside Worship Service Coordinator after 12 years. Janet has served as President of the Lakeside Women’s Club and has supported the Dockside Worship Service alongside her husband.

“Lakeside’s Fourth of July Parade is the highlight of the summer for us, but we never dreamed we’d be Grand Marshals and get to ride in Bill Shannon’s red convertible,” Janet said. “We have known and respected all of the previous Grand Marshals, so it was an honor to be selected.”

Irwin and Janet started their journey together on New Year’s Eve in 1957 when Irwin’s sister, Sue, who was also Janet’s classmate at Muskingum College, talked her brother into calling Janet and inviting her to a dance. Reserved at first, Janet accepted the last-minute invitation.

“It was the best snap decision I ever made. We recently celebrated our 59th wedding anniversary,” she said.

Their three children grew up coming to Lakeside when Irwin and Janet would attend the East Ohio Annual Conference. Their children, as well as their grandchildren, each have their very own unique Lakeside story.

“Our daughters and granddaughters worked at Lakeside. They waitressed, cleaned hotel rooms, lifeguarded and worked in the golf hut,” she said. “Our son loves history. When he was younger, he liked to crawl under Lakeside buildings and collect old bottles to add to his collection.”

As for Irwin and Janet, they each have their very own special Lakeside memory as well.

Irwin’s favorite memories include family gatherings around their big table on the back porch. Not only this, but another memory is the summer after they attended the Wimbledon tennis tournament in England, Irwin organized a Lakeside Wimbledon where he, his sister, brother-in-law and cousin competed for trophies that Irwin provided.

As for Janet, her favorite Lakeside memory involves their Siamese cat getting into wet paint and tracking orange paw prints all over the floor, window sills and on the white bedspread.

Irwin and Janet have both made a special mark on the Lakeside community, and this year’s parade honors them for their years of service.

Lakeside’s unique Fourth of July Parade will take place at 10:15 a.m. Thursday, July 4 along Second Street with decorated golf carts, antique cars and other floats.