Charles E. Breese, a tax lawyer and certified public accountant for more than 55 years who was known for loyalty to clients, classmates, and family, died Wednesday in his Sylvania home. He was 85.
He developed pneumonia after he broke his hip in a fall last month, his wife, Ginny, said.
Mr. Breese, who was self-employed, in 1955 obtained both his accounting license and admission to the bar.
“He had a phenomenal aptitude for numbers,” his daughter Lory said.
Many of his clients were with small businesses in Toledo and, beyond tax season, they called on him to help with financial statements and other filings best served by a CPA’s expertise. He retired last year.
“He wanted to die with his boots on,” his wife said. “His clients became friends, and as they retired, they still had taxes. Maybe their son became president. They still came to Chuck.”
He was thrilled to be invited last year to the annual “Toledo Lawyers Over 80” luncheon, “and they just had a ball,” his wife said. “If you were still practicing, you were proud of yourself.”
He was born in 1926 to Muriel and Harold Breese. He grew up in East Toledo and on Willys Parkway and attended DeVilbiss High School. He was alumni committee treasurer for the graduating class of 1945.
“The strange thing is,” his wife said, “he wasn't there.”
Mr. Breese enlisted in the Navy at age 17 and was called to duty right after his 18th birthday in December, 1944.
“He missed his graduation,” his wife said. He went through Navy radar school, but World War II ended and his service was spent stateside.
As alumni treasurer, Mr. Breese kept track of his classmates for the reunions held every five years. “His reunion committees were so important to him,” his wife said.
After the war, he enrolled in the University of Toledo and received a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He planned reunions for his fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega. He worked for an accounting firm during four years of year-round night law classes at UT. He was a past president of UT’s law alumni association.
Sports was a favorite interest. He played softball and bowled. He golfed at Highland Meadows Golf Club, where he was a member. Mr. Breese had followed UT sports since the 1930s, when he watched his uncle, Roy Hummel, play basketball there.
He was a Detroit Tigers fan. His son, Darrell, played youth baseball, and Mr. Breese became a coach.
Rather than cheer from the bleachers, when his daughters became swimmers, he became an Amateur Athletic Union swimming and diving official.
Mr. Breese made time for the annual family vacation at Miley’s Resort, a rustic getaway in northwestern lower Michigan. He was a charter member of Judson Baptist Church, a former moderator of the American Baptist Association of Northwest Ohio, and a member of the Toledo Club.
Surviving are his wife, Ginny Breese, whom he married June 11, 1949; son Darrell Breese; daughters Cindra Longenecker, Lory Latimer, and Brenda Rand; brothers Ralph and Harold Breese; seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
Services will be at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in the Reeb Funeral Home, Sylvania, where visitation will start at 12:30 p.m.
Tributes are suggested to the Longenecker Family or Hummel scholarship funds at the UT Foundation.
Contact Mark Zaborney at: email@example.com or 419-724-6182.
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