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Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014

Neighbors: Jim Breedon

Saturday, July 20, 2013

(Photo)
Jim Breedon, longtime area resident, was born in 1933 near Caruth Curve, just south of Kennett to Alfred and Lola Breedon.

The oldest of three children, he has a younger sister by the name of Nina Rhew who once served as the county treasurer and a younger brother, Alfred, an employee of Emerson Electric for 28 years who passed away 11 years ago.

Breedon attended Kennett High School which was housed in what is now known as Kennett Middle School.

It was during his sophomore year that he had to drop out because he had contracted Rheumatic Fever. When he recovered enough to go back to school, he found that most of his classes were on the third floor.

Still in the process of recovering from the fever, he found the stairs hard to handle so he once again left school, later on earning his GED.

"To be honest with you, I started back before I was supposed to," he said.

After Breedon finished his schooling, he was drafted but after going through all the exams someone noticed that he had been ill with Rheumatic Fever and it hadn't been quite five years. This caused him to be rejected by the service.

"I never heard another word from them," Breedon said, adding that he used to visit the recruiting office and let them know he was still willing to serve his country, if needed.

Breedon does admit that he regrets not being able to serve. "All my friends had gone and I felt it was my duty."

Over the years, Breedon has worked various jobs, including Grabers and the Kennett Oil Mill. He spoke of one of the first positions he held, as a paperboy for the Daily Dunklin Democrat. On each paper, he said that he made less than a nickel. According to Breedon, most newspapers during that time cost a nickel. He added that at the time, the paper was published twice weekly, Mondays and Thursdays, and was an afternoon newspaper.

During the mornings and evenings, they would also distribute larger newspapers which included the Poplar Bluff, Mo. paper, the Memphis Press Scimitar, the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the St. Louis Globe, the Memphis Commercial Appeal and the Kansas City Star.

In the evening, one of his newspaper runs was the downtown area which included the Palace Cafe, and the Decker Hotel.

"You could sell papers to people that were going to be there overnight and you could make a little more on those," he said.

Breedon remembers Ed Jones, brother of Congressman Paul C. Jones, as the managing editor. According to Breedon, Jones father, William "Will" A. Jones, had started the DDD years before.

Later on, Breedon said that he also worked in the advertising department, pouring the lead for the ads. Remember, this was before computers so everything was done the old fashioned way.

When asked what the population of Kennett was back then, he added that it was around 6,700 people.

Other memories of Kennett included seeing Kennett almost burn down completely, not just once but four different times.

"They had four big fires and each one of them was on the opposite sides of the square," he said. He recounts an incident of two women working on the east side of the square where the old Shelton building stood on the corner.

"It burned and I remember the telephone office at the time was up above and two ladies were working that night and they had to jump out the window onto the awning," he said.

For the longest time he said the awning had a hole where they had jumped. Later on, the telephone company moved to the side of the street where the DDD is now located.

On Oct. 8, 1966, Breedon married Patricia Allen, of Gideon, Mo. After marrying, they moved to the place he has called home for 46 years, a house six miles outside of Kennett just east of White Oak, Mo. Five years ago this past May, Breedon's wife passed away.

During their marriage, the Breedons were blessed with one daughter, Krysty, who is a school teacher in Oran, Mo. She is married to Brian Holt who works for MoDOT. They have one daughter, Allison, 13, and reside in Benton, Mo.

After his marriage, Breedon went to work for Uniroyal where he worked as a forklift operator, later being promoted to production supervisor. He worked a total of 30 years before retiring in 1997. At the time of his retirement, Uniroyal had been sold to Parker.

Since his retirement, Breedon has been very involved with the community, having served on the Holcomb School Board for 24 years, member and treasurer of Independence Township for eight years, four years in the Kennett Rotary, serving two years as treasurer and two years as secretary.

He has also been a member of the Holcomb Merchant's Club for 22 years, and helped for 14 years with the Kennett Wing Ding for the United Way, benefitting the American Cancer Society.

He worked alongside the late Leonard Younger barbecuing chicken wings and later on selling them on the square.

He also helped with preparing meals and selling tickets to area residents benefitting Younger's church, St. John's AME Methodist Church, located on the corner of Commercial and Vandeventer Streets.

"I don't know of anybody that didn't like Mr. Leonard Younger," he said.

Another organization that is near and dear to Breedon's heart is the Cotton Boll Sheltered Workshop where he has served on the board since 1972, becoming involved as a result of a friend's child attending there.

"We just now got back into the business of recycling," he said. Located in the Industrial Park, it is now open again and is planning on having an open house later on to show appreciation to all who have supported it throughout the years.

In addition to the numerous organizations Breedon is involved with, he has still found the time to work for the past nine years as a security guard at Family Services.

He added that the atmosphere at the Family Services building is similar to the one at Uniroyal/Parker in that it "feels like family."

However, as of 5 p.m., Friday, July 19, he officially retired. He said that he would still work part-time if needed.

Breedon's hobbies include golfing, although he hasn't played in a long time, bowling, hunting, softball, and, of course, he enjoys attending any of his granddaughter's sports activities.

When asked if he had any regrets in life, he admitted that perhaps he should have placed more emphasis on education, talking about a dream that he once had of being a draftsman but did not pursue.

"I do wish I'd been a draftsman. I think I would have been a good one," Breedon said.

In closing, Breedon said, "I've put a lot of effort into Kennett, hoping to make it a better place to live and I think it is a good place. I've never lived anywhere else and I am proud I am from Kennett."



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