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Former H&T owner Bill Breeden dies at age 82

Former Herald & Tribune owner and publisher Bill J. (Billy) Breeden, 82, 1610 Fairway Drive, Johnson City, died Thursday, June 10, at his residence.
Breeden, son of the late William (Bill) and Hatie Mae Edney Breeden, was married to the late Margaret Ann Hall and later to Marsha Chase Smith. He has one daughter, Linda Sondov, Pompano Beach, Fla., a stepson, Eric Smith-Breeden, Hillsborough, N.C., one granddaughter, Melissa Hoy, Pompano Beach, Fla., three sisters, Carmeleta Hoss, Kingsport, Kathy Louise Anderson, Port St. Lucie, Fla. and Betty Webb, Cherry Point, N.C.
Breeden served in the Navy during World War II. He was on an LSM495 serving in the South Pacific and was part of the fleet that took the first occupational troops into Koble and Osaka, Japan.
He attended East Tennessee State University before going to work for the Johnson City Press-Chronicle in February,1948.
He was with the newspaper for 13 years before leaving to buy the Jonesborough Herald & Tribune with the late Jim Allen.
Breeden became sole owner in 1970, also serving as the paper’s publisher until 1980 when returned to the Johnson City Press-Chronicle as Advertising Manager. Breeden later became Sales and Marketing Director, retiring in 1997.
Former co-owner and general manager of the Johnson City Press, Tim P. Jones, recalls Breeden as one who “was always interested in his community.”
“He was always a businessman first and then a newspaperman,” Jones explained. “He realized in order for the paper to be successful, you had to pay the bills.”
Jones described Breeden as one who was always concerned and caring for the people who worked for him.
“Bill was a good newspaper man,” Jones said. “He knew how to get things accomplished, how to get things done in a community such as Jonesborough and later, Johnson City.”
He served as President and Board Member of the Johnson City Boys Club and also served on the board of the Jonesborough and Johnson City Civitan Club. Breeden also served on other boards, including the American Red Cross, Appalachian District Fair and Johnson City Country Club. He was President of the Jonesborough Community Chest. Breeden was a member of Covenant Presbyterian Church.
Breeden was an avid golfer and was fortunate enough to have six holes in one. He won a new Buick with a hole in one while playing with Bill Jones in Lake Wales, FL.
Longtime friend and colleague, Frank Hawkins, retired advertising sales manager of the Johnson City Press, remembers Breeden’s love of golf.
“Bill was always anxious to get to the golf course,” Hawkins said. “He loved the game and was the one who introduced me to it.”
Hawkins describes Breeden as one who “was quick to forgive and forget and move on.”
“He always said, ‘prepare for the worst and hope for the best,’ “ Hawkins added.
The memorial service for Bill J. Breeden will be conducted Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at 11 A.M. in the East Chapel of Appalachian Funeral Home. The family will receive friends prior to the service from 10 – 11 A.M in the East Parlor of the funeral home.
Memories and condolences may be shared at Appalachian Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 800 E. Watauga Ave., Johnson City, is serving the Breeden family. 423-928-6111