The Cadets lose a beloved family member

Former Quarter Mistress Connie Kardash passes away

Connie Kardash

Connie Kardash, center, is greeted by long-time friends during The Cadets 75th Anniversary Summer Diamond Bash in August.

Mrs. Connie Kardash, “Mrs. K,” former Quarter Mistress (1953-61) of The Cadets, passed away Jan. 21st following a brief illness. She was approaching her 98th birthday and, until today, held the distinction of “Oldest Surviving Member of the Cadet Family.” She is the mother of Cadet soprano bugler Bill Kardash who marched with the Holy Name Cadets and later the Garfield Cadets from 1952-61.

Mrs. Kardash was preceded in death by her husband, John, a long-time member of the Cadet Booster Association and Treasurer of the Holy Name Cadets during the 1950s. “Mrs. K”, joined The Cadets in 1953 after then corps Director Bill Kemmerer, Sr., (“Chief”) heard about her seamstress skills and, literally, knocked on her door to ask her to join The Cadets staff.

She was a great asset to the corps, fitting Cadets and maintaining more than 60 uniforms for the active marching corps and “rookies” for eight years - all as a volunteer.

In 1958, after The Cadets left the sponsorship of Holy Name Church, Mrs. Kardash traveled to New York City with Kemmerer and selected, purchased and altered the temporary uniforms of shorts, knit shirts, knee socks and “Aussie-style” hats. These iconic uniforms were used when the Garfield Cadets defended their American Legion Junior National Championship during the summer of 1958 in Chicago.

During the 1959 season, The Cadets selected an interim uniform of long-sleeve white satin shirt with maroon collar and cuffs, accompanied by the traditional white twill pants, gold cummerbund and sash, topped off with the West Point-style plumed shako. “Mrs. K” designed, managed and stitched more than 60 satin shirts and accompanying cummerbunds and sashes during the winter months so the Cadets would have their new uniforms as the 1959 drum corps season began. This dedication caused her to spend many late nights and weekends working to bring The Cadets the best uniforms possible.

To assist with the work, she asked her sister, Nellie Di Domenico, “Aunt Nellie,” also an accomplished seamstress, to help. Soon thereafter, Aunt Nell also became a dedicated member of The Cadet staff and spent more than 27-years with The Cadets, until retiring in 1984. Aunt Nell’s daughter, Marie, was also a long-time volunteer for the Cadets, having served as treasurer and on their Board of Directors. In her later years, Mrs. Kardash remained active and attended the 50th Anniversary of the Holy Name Cadets 1957 American Legion National Championship in Atlantic City. She was honored for her service and received a Presentation American Flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol on the anniversary date of the 1957 National Championship. In addition, she attended the 75th Anniversary of the Holy Name Cadets held in Montclair, N.J., in August 2009. 


The family will receive friends and visitors at Aloia Funeral Home, 180 Harrison Avenue, Garfield, N.J., on Sunday, Jan. 24th, from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. There will be a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 a.m. at the Church of the Most Holy Name, 99 Marsellus Place, Garfield, N.J. on Monday, Jan. 25. Interment will follow at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Outwater Lane, Saddle Brook, N.J.

Email condolences to the family can be sent to

Contributions may be made in her honor to the Cadets Alumni Association. Checks made out to “Garfield Cadets Alumni” should be sent to George King, 69 Thomas Street, Clifton, N.J., 07013. Please indicate that your contribution is in honor of Mrs. Kardash so the family can be notified of your kindness.

Submitted by Alumnus Dave Shaw.


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