March 21, 2017

Charles M. Breen

Charles M. Breen Memorial Scholarship

The Salem, NH Exchange Club’s Charles M. Breen Memorial Scholarship is administered by Salem, NH Dollars for Scholars. You are encouraged to apply for our scholarships directly through the Dollars for Scholars website:

Who is Charles M. Breen, Jr.?

October 8th, 1937 – August 1st, 1975

 Charlie was born on October 8th, 1937 in Methuen, Massachusetts, son of Justine (McDonough) Breen and Charles M. Breen, Sr.  He grew up in Lawrence and later moved to North Andover.  Charlie attended the Lawrence School system and was a graduate of Central Catholic High School, Class of 1955.  He attended Saint Mary’s Church in Lawrence with his family.

 Charlie was a lifeguard during summer break in Miami & Sailsbury Beach.   After graduation he enlisted in the Army reserves with his cousin Charles D. Breen. He later attended Mortuary School so that he could work side by side with his  family as a 4th generation of funeral directors.    He attended the University of Vermont, where he met his wife, Susan Adams of Stowe, Vermont.

 While working in his family business, as a Funeral Director, the John Breen Memorial Funeral Home, Inc., Charlie and Susan Adams of Stowe, Vermont were married, in 1962. They  lived above the Family Funeral Home in Lawrence, MA.   They began a family in 1963 with the birth of their daughter Susan and wasted no time adding another daughter Lisa shortly after.  While Charlie’s roots were strong to the Merrimac Valley, his wife Susan longed for a place to call their own.  She searched for many months and came across the homestead she still lives in,  located in a small town called  Salem New Hampshire.  So in the early winter months the young  family moved from the city to the quiet community of Salem.

 After moving to their hobby farm they added to their own brood with two sons, Charles R. & Christian.  Susan had been raised in Stowe VT and was no stranger to farming. Charlie on the other hand was a novice in every sense of the word.  They had many rescued animals including horses, dogs, chickens etc.  They grew a football field sized vegetable garden every season and Charlie was proud to share his crops in the city. The chores were endless, fence mending, updating the old farm house and outbuildings.

 While working in his family business and raising a family, Charlie was a member of the Salem Exchange Club and would often support family and friends in their political endeavors.  He was very involved and had met other friends through the club, such as Ray Landry, Bart Quarinale and Doug Seed, to mention a few.  As a group the Exchange Club was very successful, not only in fund raising but in strong bonding friendships.

 Charlie and his family owned a house in the Lake Sunapee area where they would vacation in the summers and have adventures in the winters.  He was a hard worker and also enjoyed spending time with his family and friends.  Holidays were always about family and so many different adventures.  Charlie’s personality was inviting and intoxicating, he knew everyone and was a guys guy and a gentleman to all the ladies,  young and old. He was an only child and held steadfast to his relationships with his cousin Charles D. Breen and brother in law Steven Adams, they were his brothers not just his family.

During the summer of 1975 Charlie’s whole family shared a water front property at Sailsbury Beach where he spent many summers as a boy.    Late in the evening of August 1st, Charlie tragically died after being struck by a car crossing the street.  He passed while surrounded by his wife, father and close friends.   Susan never remarried and dedicated her life to her four young children, the dream of a simple life in a wonderful community surrounded by great friends and holding Charlie’s parents in very close regard.  Justine and Charles were two of the most active grandparents you could ever have the pleasure of meeting. Always quick to tell a proud story or show off a school photo.

 Charlie & Susan’s children all live within twenty minutes of the homestead. Susan is a beautician at Elegante Salon in Methuen, Lisa & Charles both carry on  the family business as 5th generation directors, and Christian owns and operates the Black Water Grill in Salem.