Mary and Herman dancing at Kelly and Shon's Wedding, 2008
Mary Breden
  • 92 years old
  • Date of birth: May 1, 1919
  • Date of passing: Dec 24, 2011
  • Place of passing:
    Little Neck, New York, United States
Let the memory of Mary be with us forever

This memorial website was created in the memory of our Nana, Mary Breden. We encourage you to share stories, photos, music, and videos here.

Mary Breden of Little Neck passed away comfortably in her sleep on Dec 24. She was 92. She is survived by her loving husband Herman, sons Robert, William, Stephen, children Thomas and Patricia having predeceased her, daughters-in-law Joanne, Eileen, Janet, Nancy, grandchildren Pamela, Christine, Kelly, Joshua, Jeremy, Carolyn, Amy, and great grandchildren Westley and Abigail. 

Mary was dedicated to her family and welcomed many more into her heart and home. She was truly a renaissance woman who mastered the art of living through her music, art, hobbies, and civic activism. Mary received both a Bachelor degree in physical education from NYU and her Master's in education, and went on to teach in universities across the country before marrying a lucky man named Herman and starting a family that has grown with the love, respect, and humor that was so much a part of her. As her family work lightened, Mary took on community service with amazing enthusiasm and many knew her from her work caring for the local park and fundraising for the Little Neck Memorial Day Parade. Throughout it all, she carried music and art with her – mastering the piano, violin, mandolin, and almost any instrument placed before her. For Mary, it was never too late to learn something new, and we will continue to learn from her always. 

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to:

The Tom Breden Legacy Fund


4600 N. Farifax Drive, 7th Floor

Arlington, VA 22203

 The Little Neck Douglaston Memorial Day Parade

42-28 Douglaston Parkway

Douglaston, NY 11363

The American Institute of Cancer Research

1759 R Street NW

Washington D.C. 20009  

The Salesian Mission

2 Lefevre Lane

New Rochelle, NY 10801-5710

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Betty Burke on 1st May 2017

"There was a song any years ago"I'll be with you in apple blossom time "!!  So true for me - every year on your birthday I am with you Mary!! They are blossoming now for your birthday!!  May you be at peace- know that you are loved and admired . ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️"

This tribute was added by Betty Burke on 1st May 2015

"April showers bring May flowers and a wonderful woman born May 1, 1999 !!!  Every spring I remember Mary showing where the bloodroot flowers grow. Picking dandelion blossoms for the family to make dandelion wine  !! Pa  giving Mary a bouquet of Apple blossoms for her birthday . Life was so wonderful back in the day. Thank you Mary for all of your lessons in life ."

This tribute was added by George "Krusze" Kruszewski on 22nd September 2014

"To the Breden Family

My condolences on the passing of your mom. I grew up with the sons and went through scouts with them."

This tribute was added by Janet Breden on 24th December 2013

"We miss you our dear sweet angel. Janet & Steve"

This tribute was added by Betty Burke on 24th December 2013

"Mary had a little lamb, it's face was white as snow.Every where that Mary went Betty was sure to go.She taught me how to laugh and play, while picking posies along the way! I have loved her with all my heart till the day we had to part. Heaven I am sure is a busy place with Mary setting the pace.  Miss you my love."

This tribute was added by Little Neck Douglaston MemorialdayParade on 12th May 2012

"All of us involved with the Parade will always remember Mary who embodied the pure spirit of civic pride and involvement. In her memory, the Parade has received greatly appreciated donations from the Rhor, Barba, Hahl, Rizzo,Hall, McGlone, & Perry families and the Little Neck Lions."

This tribute was added by Barbara Revaz on 14th January 2012

"To My Dearest Friend"
You always said that I was your PR person - so here goes - you were known as Professor Mary Gruber until you changed your name to the honorable and loveable Mrs. Mary Breden.  
The world loves you and so do I.

This tribute was added by Maryelizabeth Peck on 8th January 2012

"To all the Bredens:  For sure, the loss of Mary, my Godmother and my shining star, will tug at my heartstrings for all my days....she leaves behind a wonderful legacy in all of you....."

This tribute was added by Linda McGuffie on 4th January 2012

"I met Mary in '69 through her daughter Patty when we played folk music at Sun. mass. Patty, Chrissy and I got a lot of encouragement from Mary, and once in a while Mary played a tune on the mandolin for us.  I'll remember Mary for her great sense of comedy, her music/artistic talents, and her capacity to think outside the box, love her family/friends, and give all she had to all she met ♥"

This tribute was added by janine befort on 3rd January 2012

"She was THE most giving person, from letting me live in her house for over 10yrs to all her charity work.she was known as NANA to all... i am so greatful to have known such an amazing human being in my lifetime. Plus, she loved to sing & on some nights would  sing me pam and christine a lullaby before bedtime. She was funny and always a smile on her face. i will miss crosswords with her..."

This tribute was added by Janet Breden on 30th December 2011

"Here is the link to the NY Times Obituary."

This tribute was added by jack breden on 29th December 2011

"so sorry  to hear about aunt mary , lots of good memories."

This tribute was added by pamela primi on 29th December 2011


This tribute was added by Joan Hall on 28th December 2011

"Our sincere condolences on the loss of your dearest Mary. She was a wonderful woman who was deeply loved by family and friends alike. She was warm and loving and always made us feel welcomed in her home. Her cheerful and happy disposition was always so refreshing to be around. We will miss her greatly.
Love, Joan, Bill, Sarah & Emily Hall"

This tribute was added by Mary Fencl on 28th December 2011

"To the Breden Family,
    I will always remember Mary with a smile on her face, a dance in her step and a song in her heart.  She was a great  mother, grandmother and great grandmother. My deepest condolences to my dear extended family.  Mary Fencl"

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This memorial is administered by:

Carolyn Breden


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