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Robert Edward Breen (Bob)

Aberdeen, SD

1934, 2748, Hazelrodt, Tom Berry, Tigerville, F-15 Member

Robert (Bob) Edward Breen, 101, passed away Friday, January 27, 2017.

Bob was born January 25, 1916, the oldest of four children, to James and Cora Breen in Ipswich, SD. The family lived Aberdeen, and then briefly in Minnesota, returning to Aberdeen in 1923 after Bob's father passed. Bob remembered that "those were lean times" and always spoke with love and gratitude about his grandmother, Mary Ellen Engle, who he credits with helping the small family survive the Dirty Thirties without a father.

Bob attended school in Aberdeen, enjoyed participating in sports and ran track. After graduating high school he left for the Black Hills with other young men looking for work to join the Civilian Conservation Corps. He served in the Tigerville Camp (Hill City) where he likely developed his deep fondness and connection to the Black Hills. After the CCCs he briefly attended Northern College on a track scholarship.

Bob would often reflect on his good fortune upon his return to Aberdeen, where he met and fell in love with Murle Rose Troske. Shortly after, he was offered a job with the Dakota Central Telephone Company on Saint Patrick's Day, March 17, 1936. Bob and Murle were married on June 17, 1939 and spent the subsequent 77 years together and always celebrating the Luck of the Irish.

He retired from the telephone company on March 31, 1981, missing only 7 days due to illness in a 45-year career.

Bob was a deeply committed family man, raising five children, Karen, James, Cheryl, Rebecca and Patrick. After stints in Mobridge, Aberdeen, Gettysburg and Pierre, they moved to Rapid City in 1957. They purchased land in Silver City in the early 60's where Bob would spend many happy weekends building the family cabin. He enjoyed the great outdoors and the camaraderie of hunting, camping and fishing with friends and family. There are many stories of family and friends gathering at the cabin for card games, pontoon parties on Pactola, and making and enjoying home-made ice cream.

Bob was an active member of the Silver City Volunteer Fire Department and served as one of the department's early presidents.

Bob and Murle were very social and belonged to several bridge clubs, loved to go dancing at the Elks, and throughout their life belonged to dinner and dance clubs. They were long-standing members of the Telephone Pioneers, participating regularly in wild game feeds, outings to Blue Bell Lodge, and volunteer work. Bob was instrumental in organizing and running the volunteer golf cart shuttle at Mount Rushmore, shuttling people unable to make the trek to and from the monument, meeting new people and sharing their love of the area with visitors.

They travelled the US in their motorhome, wintering in Arizona for many years. They also travelled the world together, collecting memories in Great Britain, Ireland, Germany, Luxembourg, and Italy, even visiting the Vatican. Bob was a pious man, committed to his faith and his church, attended mass weekly and quietly helped people in need.

We asked family and friends what they remember about Bob - "Always the Eagle Scout; gentleman; kind, gentle soul; always willing to lend a hand; a twinkle in his eye and charming smile; never boastful or loud, but a quiet observer; a joy to be around; ethical, a man of integrity; Murle was his soul and inspiration; he was a hard worker, not a lazy bone in his body; family man, proud of his kids; never boastful about his success with Ma Bell and all his promotions, it was always to better the family and make his loving wife proud."

Throughout his life, Bob was rarely seen without his Sweetheart, Murle. In later years, when illness had stolen so many of her precious memories, and his strength and health had been taken from him, he was still her hero, taking care of her to the end. It is hard for anyone who knew Bob to imagine him without Murle by his side, a smile on his face.

His family and friends will miss him, but take comfort in knowing that he had a good, long life, loved deeply, and is reunited with his Bride. Eternity in heaven is a beautiful thing.

Bob is survived by his children Karen (Breen) and Rudy Dzubnar; James (Jim) and Janet (Jan) Breen; Cheryl (Cherry Breen) and Philip (Phil) Springfield; Rebecca (Becky Breen) and Michael (Mike) Papesh; and Patrick Breen and Pepper Massey; 12 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. Bob was preceded in death by his wife Murle, parents, and siblings Gertrude (Breen) Anderson, John (Johnny) Breen and William Breen.

Visitation will be held 4-6:00pm on Thursday, February 9, 2017 at Osheim and Schmidt Funeral Home, followed by a Christian Wake service at 6:00pm. Christian Funeral Mass 10am Friday, February 10 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help with Fr. Steve Biegler presiding. Interment will follow at the Silver City Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Silver City Historical Society.

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