Sally Breen, an outspoken activist and longtime member of Peace Action Maine, died Feb. 14 after a battle with cancer. She was 82.

Mrs. Breen was known for bringing homemade brownies to sit-ins at the Maine offices of Sen. Susan Collins and former Sen. Olympia Snowe. With a cheerful demeanor, she would demand to meet with the senators and other lawmakers to discuss issues ranging from nuclear weapons to climate change. Friends say she was arrested five times for refusing to leave the premise.

“She was so proud to have had that kind of notice taken on her position,” said Rosalie Paul, a member of Peace Action Maine. “She was absolutely consistent in what she cared about and absolutely fearless in doing the right thing.”

Sally Breen, who died of cancer on Feb. 14, was a member of Allen Avenue Unitarian Universalist Church. She served as president of the congregation from 1993 to 1995, and chair of its social action committee for several years. She also joined the Rock My Soul Gospel choir. Family photo

Mrs. Breen was a member of Peace Action Maine for more than 25 years. She served as chair, vice chair and treasurer on its board of directors. She also served as head of its action committee and organized various events and protests throughout the state.

“Sally was the light,” said Jacqui Deveneau, a member of Peace Action Maine. “She was always smiling and always happy. She was very politically involved. Even from her hospital bed, she would call her Congress people. They knew Sally by name.”

Mrs. Breen authored several letters to the editor that appeared in publications such as Keep Me Current and the Portland Press Herald. One of her last letters, published in the Portland Press Herald in July 2017, drew attention to world events relating to climate change and nuclear weapons.

“Each of these events plays its own part in what is coming to be called the two most existential threats to life on Earth,” Breen wrote. “As we humans have the whole world in our hands, we surely must open our eyes each morning knowing that it is possible we could be facing an end to life on this beautiful planet that we so nonchalantly call Earth.”

Mrs. Breen was married to Keith Williams for 31 years. It was the second marriage for both. They lived in Texas before moving to Windham in 1987.

In her later years, she was an office manager at what is now Maine Medical Partners Endocrinology and Diabetes Center. She worked there for less than 10 years before retiring.

Mrs. Breen was a member of Allen Avenue Unitarian Universalist Church. She served as president of the congregation from 1993 to 1995, and chair of its social action committee for several years. She also joined the Rock My Soul Gospel choir.

“Sally was agnostic,” said her husband. “She loved the music. She just ignored the theology.”

Mrs. Breen was remembered by her husband on Thursday as a strong and independent woman who lived with passion and purpose.

He told many stories of their adventures together – visiting the island of Capri and the Ruins of Pompeii in Italy, to singing at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus in Greece.

“It was really an adventure,” her husband said.

Williams shared stories about hiking the Maroon Bells in Colorado, seeing a 2,000 year-old tree in Mexico, and visiting a war zone in Honduras in 1990.

“One night on the western coast of Ireland, we saw a moonbow,” Williams said. “The moon was so bright it made a moonbow. She thought it was glorious.”

Mrs. Breen’s life was turned upside down in 2011 when she was diagnosed with cancer. She had a five-year reprieve, but then in 2017, doctors found a rare and deadly sacral sarcoma. Her husband said she declined treatment and lived as best as she could in the time she had left. She visited family in Texas twice before she died.

Her husband said he will miss her companionship.

“She was my best buddy,” he said.

A celebration of her life will be held at 2 p.m. on March 24 at Allen Avenue Unitarian Universalist Church.

Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MelanieCreamer

Correction: This story was updated at 12:30 p.m. Thursday March 8, 2018 to correct Breen’s role in the Rock My Soul Gospel choir.

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