Pauline Stegenga ’48 Breen

Pauline Mildred (Stegenga) Breen, 94, went home to be with her Lord and Savior on February 5, 2021.

She was born on the farm of her parents, Dirk and Maggie (Deur) Stegenga, in North Holland, Michigan, in 1926. Pauline was the granddaughter of some of the first Dutch immigrants to western Michigan. She attended East Crisp School, Zeeland High School, and Hope College, majoring in English. At Hope College, she met Peter Breen from Coopersville, Michigan, who was studying for the ministry. Their relationship began in a class called ‘Our Protestant Heritage.’ Peter and Pauline married on August 12, 1948. Pauline began her teaching career at Rockford High School while Peter attended Western Theological Seminary. Peter’s ministry led them to serve the following churches: Corinth Reformed, Fremont First Reformed, Calvary Reformed, Fourth Reformed, and Orthodox Reformed, all in Grand Rapids. After his retirement, Peter assisted the Protestant Reformed churches in West Michigan. At every step of his ministry, Pauline was his faithful and loving companion, helping him by accompanying him on sick calls and teaching Bible classes. She also taught in many area schools, including Grand Rapids Christian High School and East Grand Rapids High School. Pauline never hesitated to correct her students’ grammar, diction, or posture. She passed down her love of teaching to several of her children and grandchildren who also became teachers. Throughout her life, Pauline loved poetry. Even in her last days, she could recite lengthy poems word for word.

Pauline was preceded in death by her husband of 67 years, Rev. Peter J. Breen, who died in October 2015. She was also predeceased by her oldest son, Rev. Dr. David Breen; great-grandson, Isaac Koerner; and eight siblings.

She is survived by her daughter- in- law, Linda Breen ( Leah and Kent De Young, Rachel and Chad Chapman, and David and Heather Breen); Rev. Stephen and Linda Breen (Rev. Timothy and Tamara Breen, Nathan and Mary Beth Breen, Daniel and Kristin Breen, and Sarah and Tyler Graham) ; Mary and Dr. James Veldkamp ( Benjamin Veldkamp, Dr. Abigail Veldkamp, Elizabeth and Kyle Willard, Rebecca and Andrew Nyeholt, Martha Veldkamp, Peter and Melanie Veldkamp, and LT. John and Taylor Veldkamp); Ruth and Robert Stacey ( Bethany, Deborah, and Samuel Stacey); and Elisabeth and James Koerner ( Andrew Koerner, Joel and Liz Koerner, Joanna, Miriam, Matthew, and Ruth Koerner). Pauline is also survived by great grandchildren Lydia De Young; Makenzie, Jakob, and Lukas Chapman; Adalyn and Graysen Breen; Jericho, Selah, and Alexandria Breen; Jacob and Christian Breen; Faith, Abigail and Isaac Breen; Silas and Hadassah Graham; Matthew, Daniel, and Jonathan Willard; Luke and Chloe Nyeholt; and Micah and Noah Koerner. She is also survived by her sister, Lillian (Wendell) Rooks, and special cousin, Sue Dykhuis.

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