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.