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Joseph B. Breen
June 28, 1930 ~ September 23, 2023 (age 93) 93 Years Old
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Joseph Benedict Breen passed away in Maplewood, Danbury CT, age 93, on September 23rd, 2023.
Born in Elmhurst, NY, on June 28th, 1930, he lived in Westchester County for 65 years. Big Joe Breen, as he was known to his friends, attended Regis High School, NY, Holy Cross College, Fordham Law School and New York University Graduate School of Law. He joined Emmet, Marvin & Martin of 48 Wall Street — the firm founded by the famous Irish barrister, Thomas Addis Emmet, brother of the Irish patriot, Robert Emmet — in 1955. As managing partner, Joe was instrumental in the firm’s win in the leading case of In re Bank of New York in which the New York State Court of Appeals established definitive guidelines for New YorkStare trust investments. In 1976, he joined Huntoon, Paige & Company, specialising in government-backed mortgage securities (GinnieMaes), and served as president of the NY Dealers Association. Later, he joined Merrill Lynch Huntoon Paige, as their chief counsel in its international real estate division.
Son of Irish immigrants, Joseph was the youngest of the seven children of Joseph A. Breen and Catherine McTigue, and nephew of Mike McTigue, light heavyweight boxing champion of the world from 1923-25, Ireland’s first world champion. His six children remember getting boxing gloves at Christmas.
Among Joe’s achievements, he played centerforward on Regis High School’s basketball team, most notably winning the historic National School Boys’ Championship in 1948, proving to be the greatest basketball team of the small, prestigious, scholarship-based Catholic high school in New York City. They outwitted their opponents by speaking their plays in Latin. In later years, Joe would pull out his Regis yearbook and give a play-by-play account of the team's greatest games.
“Fabulous was the word for him,” wrote the editors of his college yearbook. “Wherever he went, the extraordinary was inevitable. Because of his rejuvenating spirit, the golden subtlety of his humor, his dramatic flair, his inexhaustible repertoire of poems and Irish ballads, any evening or weekend became an occasion if Joe was there.” Even into his late years Joe would regale gatherings with his word-perfect rendition of The Face on the Bar Room Floor.
A proud veteran, he served as a captain with the U.S. Marine Corps and stayed loyal to the memory of those he knew who served in the Korean War. Joe was an avid golfer, tennis player, bridge player, and great admirer of the works Henry James. A dog lover, he is remembered walking along the streets of Ennis, County Clare, with his Irish Wolfhound during the few years he lived in Ireland. After his Jack Russells—Machusla and Annie—died, a little bit of him died, too.
He is predeceased by the mother of his children, Christine O’Connell, and his son Stephen G.Breen, the death of whom affected him the rest of his life, and is survived by his children, Christine Williams of Co. Clare, Ireland,, Regisof Easton, MD, Joseph of Katonah, NY, Deirdre of Cranston, RI, and Sean of Seattle, WA, andby his second wife, Polly Breen, and his stepchildren, Billy and Lisa. He is predeceasedby six sisters and is survived by 14 grandchildren, seven great grandchildren, and nephews & nieces, and by his loving partner of the last 13 years, Patty Gallin of Somers, New York.