Robert H. Breeden

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Robert H. Breeden, 97, of Russellville, who co-owned the Town Crier for 20 years with Ron and Nancy Kemp, died Saturday, March 25, 2006, at Saint Mary's Regional Medical Center in Russellville.

In addition to the Town Crier, Breeden and the Kemps also owned the Piggott Times, the Clay County Democrat in Rector, the Campbell (Mo.) Citizen and the Dunklin County Press in Senath, Mo.

Breeden and the Kemps first became acquainted when Breeden co-owned the Russellville Courier-Democrat, where the Kemps were employed. During that period, Breeden also owned newspapers in Paris, Charleston and Greenwood.

Breeden started his newspaper career in 1931 as editor and co-publisher of the Cleveland (Okla.) American. He remained there until 1962. He also served as a director of the Oklahoma Press Association.

As a Republican, he was the minority leader of the Oklahoma Senate for two terms, representing Pawnee and Noble counties. He was active in Oklahoma politics and helped manage Henry Bellmon's successful campaign as the first Republican governor in the state.

In 1963 he resigned from the State Senate and moved to Vinita, Okla., as the director of the Grand River Dam Authority. He served as director of the Oklahoma Industrial Development and Parks Department from 1965 until 1969. He was director for Oklahoma's Office of Housing and Urban Development until his retirement in 1977.

Following his retirement, he moved to Russellville. He owned newspapers in Oklahoma and Arkansas for 66 years.

Breeden was an avid Oklahoma Sooner football fan and rarely missed a home game. He attended all homes games last fall at the age of 97.

He was born to the late Roscoe and Zula Hancock Breeden on May 20, 1908, Vicksburg, Miss. The family moved to a farm in Haskell, Okla., in 1909. He was a 1924 graduate of Valiant (Okla.) High School and earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma in 1929.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Marion Martha Miller Breeden; a brother, J.W. "Bill" Breeden and infant son, Bradley Donald Breeden.

He is survived by daughters Carolyn McLellan of Russellville and Nancy Vaughn of Bethesda, Md., six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

The funeral service was Friday, March 31, at All Saints Episcopal Church in Russellville. Burial was in Woodland Cemetery in Cleveland, Okla.

Memorials may be made to the Oklahoma Newspaper Foundation's Bob and Marion Breeden Oklahoma University Journalism Student Aid Fund, Attn: Mark Tomas, Executive Director, 3601 North Lincoln Blvd., Oklahoma City, Okla., 73105.