As a young girl, with her parents and sister, Murel, Eileen lived above her parent’s store, Redd’s Grocery, and spent her time dancing and dreaming of becoming a prima ballerina. In 1934, however, in an outbreak in the area, Eileen contracted the Polio virus and lost the use of her legs.
As teenage Eileen Redd struggled to maneuver the stairs of the high school, a very kind hearted boy, along with his brothers, came together to make a chair with their arms to carry Eileen to the various levels of the building. Always one to see the positive side of life’s situations and struggles, Eileen would tell her children and grandchildren that she was grateful for polio because seven years later, in 1942, Eileen married that kind hearted boy, Glenn Breed, who carried her up and down those stairs.
Though her dream of being a dancer would never come true, Eileen never let her physical limitations limit her spirit. After graduating from high school, Eileen held several jobs, worked for the World War II War Food Administration, owned and ran the Rodney Street Confectionary with Glenn, acted as an Operator at the Helena Capitol Building and raised three boys – Gary, Gregg, and Jeff – all with limited use of her legs. When asked if her boys ever ran away from her, while getting in trouble, Eileen answered, “Yes. Once.”
Eileen and Glenn lived on Rodney Street in Helena, Montana, and raised their boys to work hard, follow God and love others through kindness, compassion, commitment, and loyalty. Eileen loved people and loved being a part of their lives. She made friends instantly and called them regularly. She was skilled at “speed dial” on her cell phone and even when she dialed the wrong person, would take the opportunity to turn that accident in to a meaningful conversation.
As Eileen became a grandmother, though they often lived far away, it was important to her that she spend time with each of her grandchildren. Inspired by a trip she took with her aunt to the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1933, Eileen decided that for each grandchild’s thirteenth birthday, she and Glenn would fly them out to spend a couple weeks – often times visiting their favorite Oregon Coast – but other times simply sitting together, playing games, and talking. As each of her grandchildren has grown, they have expressed the impact those few weeks have had on their relationships and their lives.
When they weren’t busy providing for their family, Eileen and Glenn loved to camp, boat, fish, roadtrip, and attend Dixieland Jazz Festivals. Though unable to walk, Eileen still managed to dance circles around her brother and sister in law, Rollie and Laura. In their retirement, Eileen and Glenn spent each winter in Palm Springs in their beloved Minnie Winnie and summers in Helena until moving in with youngest son, Jeff, and his family, in Moscow, Idaho 12 years ago.
Though Eileen’s joy and presence will be so greatly missed on this earth, she leaves behind a lasting legacy with her three sons, three “daughters in love,” sixteen grandchildren, and twenty great-grandchildren. A legacy of Nicknames, Nickel, Cribbage, and Pinochle games, Martini “Tini” Parties, Back Rubs, Anecdotes, Chopped Olive Sandwiches, Dippy Dip, and NPR Jazz on Saturday nights.
Eileen Breed is preceded in death by her loving husband, Glenn, her older, infant sister Billie and her grandson, Chris (“Kisser Chrisser”). She is survived by those who continue her stories – her younger sister, Murel O’Connell, three sons, Gary and Kathy, Gregg and Vicky, Jeff and Carol, her grandchildren, Heather, Grant, Shawna, Tiffany, Karine, Glenden, Bethany, Daniel, Allison, Bonnie, Brian, Stephanie, Danielle, Anna, Maris, and extended and adopted family and lifelong friends too numerous to count. Though no longer with us in this life, we find comfort knowing that she fought the fight, she finished the race, she kept the faith, and is now truly “having a party.”
Eileen passed away peacefully at Considerate Care Home in Palouse on October 14th at the age of 95.
A celebration of Eileen’s life will be held on Friday, October 23rd, at 11:00am at Canyon Creek Church at 417 S Jackson Street in Moscow. In lieu of flowers, please send gifts to the Moscow Volunteer Fire Department (603 S Main St, Moscow, ID 83843).
Arrangements have been entrusted to Short’s Funeral Chapel, Moscow, and online condolences may be sent to www.shortsfuneralchapel.net.