Monday, December 9, 2013
By Melanie Creamer firstname.lastname@example.org
At 98, Elda Breen didn’t show her age. “You saw her excitement, energy and vitality for life,” said Terry Huntley, executive director of the Scarborough Terrace assisted-living community.
Each day the newsroom selects one obituary and seeks to learn more about the life of a person who has lived and worked in Maine. We look for a person who has made a mark on the community or the person's family and friends in lasting ways.
She competed in the relay and later danced to country music. At 98 and all of 4 feet 8 inches tall, Mrs. Breen swiveled her hips like someone years younger.
"You didn't look at her and see her age, you saw her excitement, energy and vitality for life," said Terry Huntley, executive director of the Scarborough Terrace assisted-living community, where Breen lived since 2007. "Elda was one of those people who signed up (for activities) constantly."
On Saturday night, Breen felt achy and was taken to Mercy Hospital. She died Monday surrounded by her family.
Mrs. Breen was remembered Wednesday as a loving and nurturing woman who lived life to its fullest.
Her social life speaks for itself. She signed up for all sorts of activities at Scarborough Terrace, such as dancing, bowling, swimming, art classes and day trips to places across southern Maine.
"It's pretty remarkable that she was able to get around like she did," said her daughter Irene Morgan of Westbrook. "I'm so happy she was able to do all of those things right until the end."
Some at Scarborough Terrace believe the key to Breen's longevity was the relationships she had with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
She was a loving wife to Edward Breen for 47 years. The couple lived on Sheridan Street in Portland, where they raised their two children and she was a homemaker.
Morgan remembered her mother Wednesday as a loving and nurturing woman, who opened her home to family and friends who needed help.
"She was absolutely wonderful. She was very good to everyone," her daughter said. "She was a great mom. She was always there for us. She was always there for everyone. I had a great upbringing and so did my children."
Mrs. Breen helped raise Morgan's two children, Fred Andrews of Portland and Karen Smith of Gorham, Morgan said.
Smith said her grandmother got involved in her grandchildren's activities. When Smith joined the Girl Scouts of Maine, Breen became a scout leader.
"Instead of dropping us off, she joined in and became a part of it," Smith said. "It meant a lot to me. I loved having her there. Everyone loved her. She was so sweet."
Andrews reminisced about the home-cooked Italian and other dinners that brought the whole family together.
Mrs. Breen made her own meatballs and sauce with a recipe she learned from her parents. Her house was the gathering place for family occasions and holidays.
Andrews said Wednesday that his grandmother was his biggest cheerleader. He said she taught him two important things: how to love unconditionally and how to make her meatballs and sauce.
"Unfortunately, I only know how to cook for 80 people 'cause that's how she cooked," he said. "Wednesday was Prince Spaghetti night. I swear, the insurance guy used to stop by to collect payment only on Wednesdays. He would sit down with us and have pasta. Her house was always the go-to place. I'll miss spending time with her. I'll miss the thought of knowing she is there for me."
Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: