We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Shelburne Funeral Chapel of Corbin and Palmer
Burlington, VT - Margaret “Peggy” Breen passed away peacefully on June 21, 2022. Born in
1929 to Willard T. & Marguerite M. Keane in the Bronx, New York, Peggy attended Ursuline
Catholic Schools in New York City and New Rochelle, NY, after her family moved to Scarsdale.
She graduated from Trinity College in Washington, DC (now known as Trinity Washington
University) in 1950. After college she attended Katherine Gibbs School and worked as a
secretary to various executives at Time-Life, Inc. During this time she took several trips to
Europe with church groups and caught the travel bug.
In 1955, Peggy married the love of her life, Jim Breen, in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New
York City. Over the next six years, she gave birth to five children - four boys followed by one
girl. In 1964, Peggy and Jim moved into a small house in the New North End of Burlington “for
a year or so” when National Cash Register (NCR) transferred Jim from New Jersey. Their last
child, another girl, was born in Vermont. Their new neighborhood teemed with children, had a
private beach, had good public schools nearby, and soon had Leddy Park and the Burlington
Bike Path within a stone’s throw. Appreciating their new home as a terrific place to raise their
family, Peggy and Jim decided to stay. Peggy lived in that house until just before her death,
seeing the neighborhood grow and change over the past 58 years and cherishing the
friendship of many dear neighbors.
Peggy was a devoted wife to Jim, and they raised their six children in the Catholic faith
that meant so much to them. Peggy was a natural caretaker, enjoying raising her children and
putting her travels aside during those busy years. After her children were grown, she cared for
her grandchildren and great grandchildren whenever she had the chance. “Grandma Breen”
was a beloved matriarch, hosting countless holiday meals over seven decades, and never
missing a recital, game, graduation, or other event to which she was invited.
During her later years, Peggy embarked on multiple ocean cruise trips, mostly with
friends (Hawaii, Panama Canal, Alaska, the Caribbean) and once with Jim (Mediterranean Sea).
And she was always eager to “tootle around” Europe, New England, New York, Canada, or
other points with friends or family, doing her research and mapping her route with great
enthusiasm. She also gave generously of her volunteer time to Meals on Wheels and the
American Red Cross.
Peggy was predeceased by her husband, Jim, and son, Chris (Amy). She is survived by
her two younger brothers, Bill and Frank Keane, her three sons, Joe (Jackie McBride), Mike
(Maureen) and Kevin (Janet) and her two daughters, Mari Palace (Josh) and Cathy (Jay Geller).
In addition, she is survived by her twelve grandchildren and five great grandchildren. A
funeral mass will be celebrated on June 29, 2022 at 10:00 am at Christ the King Church. In lieu
of flowers, please make a donation in Peggy’s memory to UVM Medical Center Foundation,
Courtyard at Given 3N, 111 Colchester Ave., Burlington, VT 05401. Corbin & Palmer is
handling funeral arrangements.