"Still in shock. It's a complete surprise. I never expected it," said Donoghue, 81, reached by telephone later.
The grand marshal leads the parade, which will be on March 23 and is a 63-year tradition that draws hundreds of thousands of people to the Paper City.
The parade committee announced the selection of Donoghue after a meeting at the Holyoke Elks, spokesman Raymond H. Feyre said.
PAST GRAND MARSHALS:
David K. Bartley
James A. Curran
Rev. Joseph Maguire
Russell McNiff Sr.
Fr. Francis Sullivan