Eileen Bree
Eileen Bree

Service Information

1:00 pm
Saturday, June 15, 2013
St. James Episcopal Church
2584 Main Street
Glatonbury, Connecticut, United States

Obituary of Eileen Van Bree

VAN BREE, Eileen H. Brodnax (Skidmore) After a long and courageous survival after a stroke, Eileen H. Brodnax (Skidmore) Van Bree of Glastonbury, CT, and Cold Spring Harbor, NY, peacefully passed away at age 87. Born in 1925 in Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York, she was the beloved daughter of the late Arthur M. Skidmore and Helen V. (Smith) Skidmore. Growing up near the city, Eileen enjoyed a happy childhood with her brother George, pursuing theater, horseback riding in Prospect Park, the subway, growing in her faith, the beach at Far Rockaway, and outings with her friends. A contagious joy to be around, Eileen was voted "most congenial" at John Adams High School, Ozone Park, in 1943. She was predeceased by her husband William Van Bree whom she met at a canteen after WW II while she was employed by J.M. Mathias Advertising Agency in Manhattan, and together they raised three children on Long Island, enjoying Jones Beach and West Neck Beach, mountain vacations in upstate New York, Broadway, and visiting historical sites country-wide. In her personal moments, Eileen modeled for New York department stores, was a beauty pageant winner at Ted Hilton's Resort, Moodus, CT in 1947 and became runner up for Mrs. Long Island at the 1964-1965 World's Fair. Breaking barriers, Eileen attended college at age 44 and graduated from C.W. Post/Long Island University with a B. A. in Political Science, cum laude. She was an avid reader or viewer of anything political or biographical and enjoyed the New York Times. As a devoted wife, she was the first spouse on Long Island to administer Hemodialysis at home; nursing her husband for 6 years. A devoted Episcopalian, Eileen was active in several parishes serving on many ministries. Surviving a devastating stroke at age 54, she became an inspiration with her determination, self-esteem and positive attitude despite the challenges and losses she felt daily for 33 years. Until age 80, Eileen rode a horse at High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Old Lyme, CT. Eileen found much excitement with genealogy discoveries in her later years; sharing her ancestry with Samuel Seabury- first American Episcopal Bishop and with English novelist Jane Austen, and was a descendant of the Mayflower and a member of DAR. Besides her husband, Eileen was predeceased by her son, Thomas W. Van Bree and her brother George A. Skidmore. Surviving her are two daughters, Barbara E. (Van Bree) Edwards of Glastonbury, CT and Nancy P. Van Bree of Cold Spring Harbor, NY; four grandchildren, Jillian Edwards of Glastonbury, CT and Nicholas, Kelsey and Christiana Van Bree of Miami, Florida; son-in-law Richard Edwards of Glastonbury, CT; daughter- in -law Carol Van Bree of Miami, Florida; sister- in- law Carolyn Skidmore of Setauket, NY; and many nieces, nephews, extended family, friends, and her faith community. A Celebration of Life honoring Eileen will take place at 1:00 pm on Saturday, June 15, 2013 at St. James' Episcopal Church, 2584 Main St., Glastonbury, CT. There will be no calling hours. Interment will be private at Calverton National Cemetery, Long Island, NY. In lieu of flowers, those wishing to donate in Eileen's memory may do so in her name to The Cathedral of the Incarnation, 50 Cathedral Ave., Garden City, NY 11530; attn: Marla Wills, Eileen H. Van Bree Memorial Fund.
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