A week has passed since 23-year-old Dan Breen of Scituate was in a car accident that claimed his life, but his memory in the eyes of family and friends has not diminished.
“He was definitely one of a kind,” said Molly Gavin, a St. Anselm classmate of Breen and close friend. “One of the most outgoing people I ever knew. He always was ready to have a good time and was always there as a friend.”
Breen has been remembered by many over the past week, through candlelight vigils at St. Anselm College, from which he graduated from in 2012, to funeral services at Keohane Funeral Home in Quincy on Thursday.
A son, brother, friend, and athlete, Breen was devoted to his religion, enamored of rugby, and loyal to a fault, his friends recalled.
“He was always there for us whenever we needed a friend. I went to him multiple times with breakups, or we’d study together,” Gavin said. “He was always protective of his friends, he was that kind of guy … supportive of whatever his friends wanted and [whatever] made them happy.”
Breen died following an early morning car accident in Norwell on Oct. 11.
According to Norwell police, Breen lost control of his car at 1:46 a.m. that morning while traveling north on Winter Street. His car struck two utility poles and a tree before coming to rest on its roof. Breen was ejected in the accident.
Police said no other occupants were in the car and no one else was involved in the crash.
Breen was taken to South Shore Hospital with severe injuries, and then taken to Brigham and Women’s Hospital where he died on Oct. 12.
State Police’s Accident Reconstruction Team is still investigating the cause of the accident, and Norwell Police had no new information on Friday.
Family and friends said they had yet to come to terms with the loss.
“We were leaving the funeral and we’re all standing there like someone was missing. We know he’s gone, but we haven’t accepted it yet. You half expect him to just walk in, and say ‘Yo,’ and just be himself,” Gavin said.
Gavin said Breen’s parents were also still very much in shock, and his brother has had a difficult time.
“They are only a year apart, and it was just the two of them. He’s lost his best friend. He’s taken it very hard,” Gavin said.
Despite the loss, friends couldn't help but remember a fun-loving, life of the party man.
Known for his good looks, “weatherman hair,” and love of polo shirts, Breen was known for always changing his mind about what he wanted to do in life.
“He was all over the map, and Father Anselm said that in his homily. That’s how he was,” Gavin said. “He’d say something and be so gung-ho. Whatever he was interested in at that moment he would give it 100 percent, until he changed his mind.”
Though he was interested in environmental science, after graduating from St. Anselm, Breen started working as an emergency room assistant at Beth Israel Deaconess Milton Hospital.
Breen also was very involved in rugby. After being the captain of the St. Anselm Rugby Club, Breen went on to play the sport with the South Shore Anchors.
The loss has impacted many in both the school and local community. Messages of support and love flooded the funeral website. At the wake, people waited in line three hours to greet the family.
The funeral too was fitting for the fun-loving guy everyone knew, Gavin said. Father Anselm Smedile, assistant director for pastoral ministry at St. Anselm, sprinkled humor in to his homily, making fun of how late Breen was for everything, and talking about Breen’s love of church and his athleticism.
A slideshow of photos had everyone remembering the good times with Breen.
“Dan would have never wanted people to be sad. He was just a goof, a life of the party,” Gavin said. “We were joking he would have loved all the girls hugging his brother…that’s what he would have done, the kind of person he was.”
Donations in memory of Daniel may be made to the Daniel J. Breen Memorial Fund, St. Anselm College Development Office, 100 Saint Anselm Drive, Manchester, NH 03102.