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Robert H. (Hunt) Breed

December 9,2017

Hunt Breed was born July 27, 1943 in Poughkeepsie, NY. His siblings included an identical twin James Harrington (“Jharry”) and a younger sister Alexandra. Hunt enjoyed camping with his family in the Adirondacks, developing a lifelong love of nature and the outdoors. He graduated from The Loomis School where he was an accomplished athlete, lettering in football, wrestling and tennis. He subsequently spent a year at Clifton College, Bristol, England on a fellowship from the English Speaking Union, earning a position on the rugby team.

At Yale he was a member of Calhoun College where he sang and played intramural squash, football, and baseball. He played for the Yale Rugby Club. He majored in Economics (Omicron Delta Epsilon member) and minored in History of Art. He excelled academically and became the third generation of his family to pursue a career in medicine.

At Harvard Medical School Hunt’s flashy blond hair and compact, athletic body made him a commanding presence on the Vanderbilt Hall tennis court. His passion for action and precision led him naturally to a career in surgery, starting with residency at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital (1970-1975). He subsequently served two years in the US Navy as chief surgeon of the Navy’s 7th Fleet, based on the aircraft carrier Midway. According to The Concord Monitor he earned the nickname “Blades Breed” after being allowed to ride co-pilot on F4 Phantoms and helicopters. To do this he had to receive ejection seat training and convince a pilot to take him. His first request prompted the pilot to ask why. Breed replied, “I’m the only surgeon within 1,000 miles and decide who I care for first.” The pilot replied “Doc, you wanna go up tonight or tomorrow morning?” Hunt kept his word and met downed pilots on the flight deck. His second year in the Navy was somewhat less exciting, serving as Chief of Surgery at Patuxent River Naval Base in Maryland. After military service Hunt did a fellowship in plastic surgery at Barns Hospital, St Louis (1977-1979).

In early 1979 Hunt married Lucy Barber Fowlkes in New York City. In 1980 the couple moved to Hopkinton, NH where they raised their two sons, Allen (1981) and Robert (1983). The family often vacationed on Nantucket where Lucy had spent many summers as a child. Hunt practiced plastic surgery at Concord Hospital until retiring as Chief of Surgery in 2009. He was admired by his patients who described him as “precise, thoughtful and thorough.”

In 1985 he co-founded Healthsource, an organization promoting better insurance for the people of New Hampshire. He spent two years teaching and providing medical care in Nepal. In spite of the rigors of surgical practice he was engaged in his community, serving on the boards of the New Hampshire Symphony Orchestra and the Concord Community Music School. He and Lucy enjoyed collecting modern American art. In 2014 they moved full time to their summer home on Nantucket. In spite of developing Parkinson’s Disease Hunt continued to ski and play tennis. He hung up his racquet in 2016. His family, which now included two grandsons, continued to bring him joy. His dear wife Lucy died of leukemia in 2017. Three months later Hunt died on December 9 with his sons and sister by his side.

Edward Folland