The Creighton home has been buzzing with activity for seven decades. Long before Gerry Creighton’s life as the wife of a town politician, Gerry was the daughter of well-known and beloved Smithtown Police Chief Cy Donnelly. Today she resides in her childhood home.
When Patch caught up with Creighton, she was recouping from a slumber party with three of her nine grandchildren. She says they are the love of her life and they keep her and her husband, Councilman Bob Creighton, quite busy. They range from thirty-two years old down to a set of twins who are eight.
She recalls her upbringing in Kings Park as being idyllic and her house as being open to everyone. Neighbors and friends would often come by the home to consult with her father on an array of personal or political issues and if a young kid in the Kings Park community found himself in trouble, Donnelly would advocate for the youngster to do community service. He was a big proponent of second chances for those who lost their way.
Creighton’s mother Sarah Caulfield left Limerick City and her entire family at the tender age of seventeen and sailed for America in search of opportunity. Like so many other Irish immigrants, she found that opportunity at the Kings Park Psychiatric Center.
Her mother’s memory and sacrifices are why she says she is thrilled to be named Grand Marshall of the 2nd Annual
“I am truly honored to receive this award and I accept it in name of my mother Sarah Caulfield Donnelly and all of the Irish women who came to Kings Park to start their lives in the U.S. Like my mom, many of them left home and family as teenagers and were a big part of making Kings Park what it is today. It’s all for them,” said Creighton.
She tenderly recalls her late mother as being a wonderful human being. Her mother helped so many people over her lifetime that, although long gone, Creighton still receives Mass cards at Christmas in her name. The newly named Grand Marshal recalls relatives arriving from Ireland and staying in her bustling home until they got settled at the hospital and in a place of their own.
Creighton regaled Patch with tales of old Kings Park and the camaraderie that existed amongst the people; everyone knew everyone and everyone helped everyone. She is proud that this philanthropic philosophy still permeates the neighborhood and witnesses that community warmth every week at the Farmer’s Market where she sees residents sharing family news and catching up on their lives.
Creighton, like both parents and her sister, is a redhead and she and her sister have several redheaded grandchildren between them.
The lifetime Kings Parker attended St. Joseph's School and recently helped put a successful reunion together. Creighton has a strong devotion to her life-long parish and can be found at most of the parish's functions.
From St. Joe's she attended St. Dominick’s High School and went on to find her calling at St. Catherine’s Nursing School in the Bronx. It was during the nursing school years that she met her husband Bob who hailed from Queens.
Creighton stayed at home to raise her brood until her fifth and youngest child was ten and then she enjoyed a career as a psychiatric nurse at the Kings Park Psychiatric Center.
Creighton says when she looks back at her life what resonates most are the sacrifices her own mother made.
“This St. Patrick's Day parade is all about my mother and if she were alive to see her daughter be Grand Marshall she would be so happy and so proud, she would be bursting her buttons!”