Robert Huntington "Hunt" Breed II
1943 - 2017
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NANTUCKET, Mass. – Robert Huntington "Hunt" Breed II, of Nantucket, Mass. died peacefully on Saturday, December 9, 2017, at Nantucket Cottage Hospital with his sons and sister by his side, following a long battle with Parkinson's disease. He was 74.

Hunt's life was defined by family, his tireless work ethic, lifelong natural curiosity, care for others, and raw brilliance. Hunt was born in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. on July 27, 1943, to Jocelyn Harrington Breed and Dr. James Roy Breed. He and his identical twin Jharry and their younger sister Alexandra grew up in a Norman Rockwell-esk neighborhood, exploring the woods and roaming the streets on bicycles with their rifles, hunting rodents for 25 cents. Having lived through two World Wars and the Great Depression, their parents instilled in them the importance of hard work, and camping in the Adirondacks sparked a boyish fascination with the natural world and universe that would remain with him throughout his life.

After graduating from The Loomis School, Hunt was awarded a yearlong English Speaking Union Fellowship at Bristol College in England. He lettered in football, wrestling and tennis at Loomis, and his natural athleticism and speed earned him a spot on Bristol's rugby team. At Yale University, he played intramural sports and sang for Calhoun College, lettered in rugby, and graduated with a degree in Economics. He followed his father and grandfathers into medicine, graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1970, and completed his Medical Residency in General Surgery at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City in 1975. After Residency, Hunt was activated as a Medical Reserve Officer in the U.S. Navy and served as a Lieutenant Commander for two years, spending a year aboard the Aircraft Carrier USS Midway as the Chief Surgeon for the 7th Fleet.

He was proud to continue his family's Tradition of military service. Just before departing San Diego for a Southeast Asian deployment, he learned flights off the Carrier required ejection seat training, and went AWOL to NAS Miramar to obtain the required certification. Once at sea, when the pilots asked condescendingly why they should take him up, he replied "I'm the only surgeon within 1,000 miles and decide who I care for first." In a suddenly alert tone, they replied "Doc, you wanna go up tonight or tomorrow morning?!" He kept his word, and when a downed pilot was helo-ed back to the Carrier, he met him on the flight deck. He earned their respect, the opportunity to ride co-pilot in F-4 Phantoms and helicopters, and the call sign "Blades Breed".

After the Navy, Hunt fell in love with Lucy Barker Fowlkes, a girl he'd met in New York City who shared his love of adventure, the outdoors, and community, and encouraged his social and family side. In 1979, after completing a two year fellowship in Reconstructive and Plastic Surgery at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, they were married at St. James Episcopal Church in New York City, and soon moved to New Hampshire, where his medical practice, the community, and his family were his focus. Hunt developed a reputation for the warmth and kindness with which he treated others in his practice and at the hospital, as well as the precision, thoughtfulness, and thoroughness of his work. As a patient once wrote, he "ministered to the entire person, not merely to the physical areas of concern." He helped the Concord Hospital expand into a regional medical center, and ultimately served as Chief of Surgery. 

Hunt's involvement in the community extended beyond his medical practice. He would stop at accidents on the highway to help first responders, and once accepted handcrafted furniture from a patient unable to pay. He co-founded Healthsource in 1985 to provide better health insurance in New Hampshire, and served on the Board of Directors until it went public. He served on the Board of the Concord Community Music School for many years, valuing the enlightenment music can provide. Hunt spent two months in Nepal teaching surgery and providing medical care throughout Himalayan Villages. Early in his practice, a one-year old girl was brought in on New Year's Day, her ring finger crushed by ice. He performed a more complicated surgery, noting she might one day want to wear a ring on it. He thought about the lives of each of his patients, the effect his care would have, and constantly tried to be his best for each.

Hunt loved being with his family. He was wonderfully close with his siblings, and regular adventures with the extended Breed family culminated each year with the whole group gathering for Thanksgiving. Often he would come home from work to play outside with his boys, help with science experiments, and clean up after dinner, before returning to the hospital to visit his patients. Family travel took them to all corners of the globe, and when Lucy introduced Hunt to Nantucket, he relished conservation land walks with the dogs, tennis marathons, and exploring remote beaches by boat. Always an athlete, he skied and played tennis every year and all over the world, maintaining his impeccable form and control well-into the advanced stages of Parkinson's, taking his final turns and last strokes in 2016.

When Parkinson's "took away the keys", the two decided to move full-time to Nantucket. He never once complained despite the disease's frustrations and indignancies, and retained the sharp-witted twinkle in his eye. The community and friends welcomed them, and an amazing group of caregivers became like family as his needs increased. As those who knew him well attest, he could be defined by his kindness and an unrelenting desire to understand the world around him. Time spent with Hunt often required a baffling attempt to keep up as his mind, full of wonder, leap-frogged from lily pad to lily pad. He jumped seamlessly from astrophysics and plate tectonics to obscure language and historical references - all conveyed through an intertwined sequence of puns, metaphors, and allusions.

Dr. Breed is survived by his sons, Allen Huntington Breed and Robert Taylor Breed; daughter-in-law, Tarah Carroll Breed; grandchildren, Robert Huntington Breed III and George Garland Breed; identical twin brother, James Harrington (Jharry) Breed; and sister, Alexandra Taylor Breed. He is predeceased by his wife, Lucy Fowlkes Breed.

A service will be held at 2 p.m. on January 20, at St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Hopkinton, with an internment on Nantucket in April.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Hunt's honor can be made to the Concord Community Music School.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Concord Monitor on Jan. 4, 2018.
Memories & Condolences
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12 entries
January 6, 2019
As Hunt used to like to remind me, he and Lucy met at my family's apt. in New York at a party. I last saw Lucy at our 55th Reunion with her son and she told us she had leukemia and Hunt Parkinson's. Sincere sympathy to the family for a wonderful couple. Peace.
Susan McLaughlin
July 3, 2018
What a great guy, doctor, and human being. Made my surgery pass quickly while being entertained with first class humor and conversation. Such a friendly, classy man who I will always remember with fondness and gratitude. Thanks much Huntington for helping me. You were so special.
Art Posner
February 1, 2018
Thank you everyone for your thoughts and notes. It means so much to Taylor and I to hear stories of Dad. We are fortunate to have had all the time and experiences with him that we did. Allen Breed
Allen Breed
January 7, 2018
Oh Dr. were such a gem to work with!! May your Angel wings help you soar to places you could only imagine!!!! Sincere condolences to all Hunts family! Much love and tight hugs!!!
January 7, 2018
It was an honor working with you at Concord Hospital. Thank you for the care you gave my mother.
Kathy Drown RN
January 5, 2018
Wonderful Doctor! He saved my husbands fingers many, many years ago and cracked jokes the whole time to keep us at ease. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
Priscilla Tiede
January 5, 2018
Allen, Taylor and Family

I was so saddened to read of Dad's passing and even more surprised that Mom had passed before him. Having worked for them since 1980 until their move, I came to know them as compassionate individuals devoted to family, friends and their community. Conversations with Dad were always enlightening by his knowledge on so many diverse subjects. I would often wonder why he needed my opinion on something. Mom was just a delight and could be so funny. Working with her in the home office was always an adventure. Her mind was going in a number of directions and focus was something other people did. However, get her involved in one of her projects at the Currier or Children's Place and she was all over it. Having known you since you were little boys, I know you have plenty of memories to make you smile whenever you think of them. All my best to you and your family during this difficult time.
Peg Flint
January 5, 2018
One of the finest Doctor and man I was honored to call a friend. To Hunt's family, please accept my condolences and to Hunt; rest in peace.
Chief (Ret) Ira Migdal
January 4, 2018
My heart goes out to your family of your precious loss. Dr. Breed cared for our daughter when she was born with a cleft lip/palate since she was 24 hours old! He took awesome care of her throughout the years until he retired. Our sympathy goes out to all your family. He was a good man, very kind and caring to all.
David & Carol Lamprey
January 4, 2018
I was so sorry to learn of Dr Breed's passing.
I met Dr Breed on 2 South at Concord Hospital.
I was a young nurse and will never forget how kind, caring and thoughtful he was to his patients. I learned a lot about wound care and hyperbaric chambers while caring for patients.
My deepest condolences to his family.
Sue Gielen
January 4, 2018
May you rest in peace.
katherine and bill SIMONTON
January 4, 2018
My condolences to the family.
I worked as Hunt's office nurse at his office on Wall St. His skills were remarkable and yes, he was always very kind, very informative and very supportive of his patients. I learned a lot from him and enjoyed working with him.
katherine simonton
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