{ "" }
Share TOM's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
Tom Breen Indian Harbour Beach Longtime journalist Tom Breen, who headed FLORIDA TODAYs Space Team coverage from 2000 to 2002, died suddenly at his home earlier this week, June 22, 2011, in Indian Harbour Beach, Fl, of cardiac arrest.

He was 65, with a vigor and insatiable curiosity about life that led him back to school to pursue a late-in-life masters degree from Rollins College in Winter Park in 2005, and then a doctorate in liberal studies from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., which he still was pursuing. He completed "all but the dissertation," an academic saying that used to annoy him greatly. But for the past five years, he used his newfound academic credentials to teach as an ad junct professor of humanities at Brevard Community College on both the Palm Bay and Melbourne campuses. He also recently became a member of the Brevard County Historic Commission.

Tom had an eclectic journalism career, which began with weeklies in his native Massachusetts, but eventually took him to Washington, D.C., where he worked as the night city editor of The Washington Star, and then U.S. News & World Report before moving out West to work first as the city editor of the Palo Alto Tribune and later as an assistant sports editor at the Arizona Republic. In 1982 he moved back East to be come the first city editor of The Washington Times, where he also wore innu merable other hats during his seven years there. He served as the papers sports editor, movie critic and finally as a foreign cor respondent, covering the fall of Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines in the 1980s. Upon his return, he was invited to the prestigious Cosmos Club in Washington to talk about his two-year experience. Tom later worked for several newsletters in the D.C. area, had a brief stint as the executive editor of a chain of weeklies in Richmond, Va., then learned the defense and space in dustries from the ground up. Before coming to FLORIDA TODAY, where he returned briefly as a feature writer, Tom worked as editor of Air Force Times for three years.

He is survived by his wife, Susan Jenks Breen; a son, Jeb, of Indian Harbour Beach and Washington, D.C.; his brother, Tony of Las Vegas; and his father, Thomas J. Breen, Sr., a former paratrooper in World War II who lives in Groton, Mass. In lieu of flowers, his family asks that contributions be made to the American Heart Association or Doctors Without Borders.

Burial in Massachusetts will be private, but a memorial will be held at the Eau Gallie Yacht Club in Indian Harbour Beach on Thurs day, June 30 from 5 to 6 p.m. Light refreshments with a cash bar will follow the service.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in FloridaToday on Jun. 26, 2011.
Please consider a donation, as requested by the family.
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
View Printed Guest Book
19 entries
July 19, 2011
Mrs.Breen, I am truly sorry for the loss of your husband. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to the entire family. May the God of all comfort be with you in your time of sorrow. 1Corinthians 1:2-5
D Beckett
June 29, 2011
Mr. Tom Breen was one of the best college instructors at Brevard Community !! A very dedicated and caring teacher. There are not a lot of teachers who care for the material they are presenting or the students. RIP Mr.Breen thank you for being such a great mentor!! you will be missed. -(Melbourne, FL)
Katerine Hernandez
June 28, 2011
Tom was a great editor, mentor and friend. I will never forget him. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. He touched many lives - more than he will ever know.
stephanie mangini
June 28, 2011
Tom was a great editor, boss and mentor. I will never forget him.
June 28, 2011
Tom was a great editor, boss and mentor. I will never forget him.
stephanie mangini
June 28, 2011
I knew Tom when he was the editor of Air Force Times in the mid 1990s. He was an incredible boss, friend and mentor who led with such passion. I'm so glad to see he spent the last few years teaching at the local community college; I often thought Tom should share his talents with students after he came to speak to my American University graduate school class. I'm so pleased to hear how he touched others' lives in the same way he touched mine.
Dana Shamblin Andy
June 28, 2011
Tom was like some kind of super life force, exuding energy and passion that either strengthened you or knocked you flat. He cared so deeply about everything -- his family, his staff, his readers and, of course, his Red Sox. He drove me crazy but also left me in awe at his intensity and his raw talent. I have been incredibly blessed to have known him these past 18 years. Godspeed, Tom.
Julie Bird
June 28, 2011
I met Tom when I was a rookie editor. He was the best investigative reporter I knew because he not only explained complicated ideas, but he made you think. And he was always a gentlemen. I'm a better person for having known him. And while I didn't stay in journalism, the lessons he taught me were far more important to every day living. I will miss him.
June 28, 2011
I can still hear you saying, "Get out of here, kid. Go and make something of yourself." Your mentorship to me and many others and passion for your work, will live on. My prayers and sympathies go out to Susan and the rest of your family. May they find comfort. You will be missed.
Keilani Best
June 28, 2011
Mr. Breen, I truly admire you and thank you. You sent me home when the tears got too heavy, where do I go now?
Walter Kowalczyk
June 28, 2011
You supported me through Tyler's death and you join my grandson on his birthday, I hope Tyler finds you, you could teach him so much. You are the best teacher I ever had and I cry tears for our loss.
Walter Kowalczyk
June 27, 2011
Mr. Breen,

I was saddened by the news of you passing on into heaven. I enjoyed your Humanities class last semester and am thankful for the influence you had on me. You helped me view the world differently. I will always credit you for that. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. May you rest in peace.
Leah Stigall
June 27, 2011
Mr. Breen was an engaging and lively humanities teacher that pushed his students towards excellence. Perhaps his journalist background allowed him to see the stories in each of his students and pull those stories out through interactive assignments. I am fortunate to have had him as my professor.
Matt Keene
June 27, 2011
Tom Breen hired me in about 1993 to write an opinion column in Air Force Times that still appears weekly in that trade journal. Tom also fired me -- every couple of weeks or so, before re-hiring me in the same conversation. He gave me wonderful opportunities to gain access to the Air Force and encouraged my other writings including my current book, "MISSION TO BERLIN." Those who say Tom was passionate have only the half of it. Our telephone conversations were so loud, my wife feared our house would collapse. I accompanied Tom to a Paris Air Show and to the 50th anniversary of the Air Force in Las Vegas in 1997. He drove me crazy but I learned more from him than from anyone else I can remember.

Robert F. Dorr
Robert F Dorr
June 26, 2011
I’ve known Tom for 20 years as a personal friend and mentor. It was impossible not to admire the passion, playfulness, intelligence, humor, generosity and uncompromising dedication he brought to everything he did. My life is far richer because of him and his example. I miss you.
Steve Watkins
June 26, 2011
Tom wrote for DEFENSE STANDARD in our premiere edition and nearly all editions since. He became the backbone of our editorial contributors and was the soul of the publication. He brought to light the heroics of Navy Lt. Michael Murphy, Army SFC Jared Monti, both Medal of Honor recipients and several others. Though he has left us, his words will continue to comfort the families of those lost and enlighten those who might have never heard of these fine young warriors. Tom will be greatly missed.
David Peabody
June 26, 2011
Tom was a great editor, reporter, mentor and a friend. He taught me much of what I know about reporting. He was one of the good ones.
Tom Carter
June 26, 2011
Tom will be missed as a friend and colleague. Please accept our deepest sympathies.

Washington Star Alumni
June 26, 2011
Tom was a wonderful man and a fine writer.
Frank Thomas
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences