Reading through history

Saratoga Grove resident named Downers Grove Historian of the Year

John Breen holds his award for being named 2015 Downers Grove Historian of the Year.

John Breen holds his award for being named 2015 Downers Grove Historian of the Year.

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. (May 2015) — After spending more than three quarters of a century in Downers Grove, John Breen knows a thing or two about his town.

The Saratoga Grove resident was named the 2015 Historian of the Year by the Downers Grove Historical Society, in honor of the volunteer work he has been doing at the Downers Grove Museum for nearly 20 years.

Breen was a pharmacist for much of his life, making him more a scientist than a historian. But he’s always been interested in the past.

“I’ve read quite a bit of history,” he said.

In his work at the Downers Grove Museum, Breen has been doing a lot of reading. The museum has to file information on each object donated, and over the last few years, Breen has taken on the arduous task of filing a large collection of letters — which means that he reads through each of them and records the content.

Breen received a crystal plaque bearing his Historian of the Year title, and he was celebrated with a ceremony at the Downers Grove Library earlier this month.

He’s a little embarrassed by the attention he’s received for his recent award, including his newfound celebrity at Saratoga Grove, where he moved in July 2013. His photo is up in the senior living community, announcing his award, and fellow residents have playfully asked for his autograph — Breen joked that he’s not charging for them yet.

John Breen’s dedicated volunteer work has made a difference for the Downers Grove Museum. Providence also benefits from many wonderful volunteers at each of our communities. If you’d be interested in using your time and skills for this ministry, please visit our volunteer page.


Read more stories about Providence residents:

Providence of Downers Grove’s Jim Bersie

Future Park Place of St. John resident Dolores Kubal

Siblings who reside at Village Woods

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