Ethel "Hedy" Breunig

December 4, 1927January 15, 2019

Ethel “Hedy” Breunig, 91, longtime resident of Keene, NH, died Tuesday the 15th of January at Lahey Hospital in Burlington, MA.

She was born on December 4, 1927 in Manhattan as Ethel Catherine, to Joseph and Ethel Prendergast. She was the oldest of four siblings. She grew up as a city girl, in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City. She told stories of her early years there—saving up money for the movies by pocketing her trolley fare and walking to school, and what a treat it was to eat at the Horn and Hardart Automat with friends.

Hedy graduated from George Washington High School and went on to Brooklyn College. She also worked part-time as a hand model and dabbled in radio work, as she had a natural gift for speaking and dramatic reading.

She married and in 1952 had the first of her four children. She subsequently moved between New York, NY and New Jersey and worked as a substitute teacher, secretary and office manager. Black-and-white photos from this era show she possessed an aura of 1950’s glamour throughout.

In 1970 she moved to Keene, NH, having married the late Ralph Breunig. Together they owned the Glass Gallery Gift and Framing shop in Keene. At a friend’s urging, “Eddie” (as she was known then) became “Hedy”, after the actress Hedy Lamar. She adapted to Keene right away, though she never lost her New York accent. Later, she worked for Indian Head Bank, and at Jonathan Daniels School as a para-professional. Hedy was a lector at St. Bernard’s church, active in the Keene Women’s Club, and performed in Senior Center shows. Throughout her long life, she maintained her love of reading, writing, and reciting poems and prose. Hedy radiated a special style and vitality in her careers, community activities, and creative projects, sharing her spirit with friends and family alike.

She is survived by her four children, Laurie Martell of CA, and husband Mike, Robin Roman Wright of MA and husband, Dick, Kevin Breunig of MA and his wife, Linda, and Tara Casaregola of NY, and Hedy’s sister, Jean McKeon of NY, and eight grandchildren (Jessica, Jared, Cassandra, Claire, Laura, Justin, Virginia, and Ella), three great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her husband, Ralph and two siblings, Josephine Castex and Thomas Prendergast. Relatives and friends are invited to attend a funeral mass to be held at St. Bernard Church in Keene at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 16th. As an expression of sympathy, flowers are welcome or memorial gifts may be made to the American Cancer Society or to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.


  • A Memorial Mass of Christian Burial Saturday, March 16, 2019

Ethel "Hedy" Breunig

have a memory or condolence to add?