Howard Charles Breen, 83, of Kansas City passed away March 11, 2014. He was a lifelong Platte County resident who had significant impact on shaping the Northland area. Born in Parkville, MO, on July 7, 1930 to Howard M. Breen and Frances Renz Breen, Mr. Breen was a real estate developer who specialized in building quality homes, among them the residential subdivisions of Breen Hills, Weatherby Highlands and the Highlands of Weatherby. But it was as a community leader that he made his greatest impact through his years of public service through an array of governmental and civic bodies.
Howard was appointed as the Platte County representative to the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority when it was created in 1965 and went on to serve 35 consecutive years on the commission. During this time he also took an active role in the American Public Transit Association, serving as Chairman from 1998-99. In 1991, the KCATA christened its newly opened administration building the Howard C. Breen Building to recognize his unprecedented service. Howard also served as the first Chairman of the Spellman/St. Luke’s Hospital Board (now St. Luke’s Northland), Chairman of the Platte County Board of Adjustment, Director of the Sheltered Facilities Workshop, and a Director of the Platte County Industrial Development Authority. He was a founding member of the Platte County Business and Professional Association and named “BPA Citizen of the Year” in 1990. In further recognition of his contributions to the area, he was named the “2003 Northlander of the Year” by the Northland Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Throughout his life, Howard honored the legacy of his forebears by working to keep their life’s work vital and relevant in a changing world. To this end, he served as Trustee on the Board of Park College/Park University where his grandfather, a master stonemason, directed the construction of the original campus buildings with the help of student labor, and he also served on the Board of Directors at the Farmers Exchange Bank of Parkville, now a part of Bank Liberty, which was founded by his grandfather, father and uncles.
Despite his many achievements, Howard was a humble man who valued his family above all else. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Bethene, son Patrick (Jacki) Breen, daughters Sarah (Ric) Noreen of Vernon Hills, IL, Susan (Bob) Silvy of Kansas City, and Laura (Rob) Nevitt of Louisville, CO, and grandchildren Renz Breen, Keighty Noreen, Beth, Rachel and Christina Silvy, and Trey and Charlie Nevitt.
The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 11:30 a.m. Friday, March 14, 2014 at St. Therese Catholic Church, Fr. Joe Cisetti presiding. The Rosary will be prayed at 11:00 a.m. prior to Mass at the church. The family will receive friends from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Thursday evening at St. Therese. Memorial contributions are suggested to Park University, where an annual scholarship in Howard’s name will be established. The Meyers Northland Chapel in Parkville has been entrusted with the funeral arrangements. Memories of Howard and condolences may be left online at meyersfuneralchapel.com.