Somerville/Medford Remembering Ruth A. Breen


Breen, Ruth A. (Hoey), of Somerville, passed away peacefully on Wednesday October 5, 2022, at home with her family by her side.

She was the daughter of the late James J. and Nora (McLaughlin) Hoey, and was a lifelong resident of Somerville, MA.
Beloved wife of 71 years to the late Anthony A. “Tony” Breen who passed away in 2021, Ruth was the devoted mother of James J. Breen and his partner John A. Haley of Norwood, Robert M. Breen and his wife Lynne of North Reading, Maryann Breen of Somerville and the late Anthony A. “Tony” Breen Jr. and his surviving wife Penny of Ohio. Dear grandmother and forever “Ma” to Kelly Gallant and her husband Doug of Ohio, Anthony A. Breen and his wife Gabby of Ohio, and Harper and Tatum Breen of North Reading, MA. She was the loving great-grandmother of Gabriel Douglas Gallant. Also survived by many loving nieces and nephews.
Ruth lived her life with humility and dedication to her family and faith. The youngest of 7 children, she grew up in Somerville, attending St. Teresa’s grade school, followed by Somerville High School graduating in 1946. After graduation, she worked as an executive secretary at New England Gas and Electric Association (NGEA) in Central Square Cambridge. During this time, she met and then married her brother Jimmy’s best friend, Tony Breen of Somerville, after an initial kiss under the mistletoe!
Ruth and Tony raised their 4 children in Somerville, and both were highly active in St. Catherine of Genoa parish and the Somerville Youth Hockey League. Ruth enjoyed games, especially cribbage, and astonished her cribbage league colleagues when she scored the coveted and extremely rare “29” point hand!! Ruth and Tony loved to dance, often attending and/or running dances for the parish church or Somerville’s VFW Logan Post. Ruth spent her summers at Whitehorse Beach in Plymouth, where she enjoyed time with her family, siblings and many nieces and nephews making memories she treasured for years.
Ruth loved spending time with her family, often playing card and board games late into the evenings. She even surprised many with competitive and spirited games of ping-pong! One of her greatest loves was listening to music from her generation where she knew “verbatim” the words to every song. Using her shorthand skills, she frequently wrote down words to songs she wanted to learn. Her love for music was shared by her husband and they were frequently found enjoying sing-alongs with family and friends into the wee hours of the morning.
Ruth will be dearly missed by all.
A Funeral procession will be held from the George L. Doherty Funeral Home on Thursday October 13th at 9:00AM, followed by a funeral mass celebrated in St. Catherine of Genoa Church, 185 Summer St., Somerville, MA at 10:00AM. Relatives and friends invited.
Calling Hours will be held Wednesday October 12th from 4:00PM to 7:00PM. Interment to follow at St. Joseph Cemetery, 990 LaGrange Street, Boston, MA.

In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Ruth can be made to the Usher Syndrome Society, or to Camp Fatima Exceptional Citizens’ Week at

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