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Andrew Jesse Breslin, 77, of Lenox

A service in Andy's memory will be held at the Church on the Hill in Lenox, at 11 a.m., on Friday, November 17. Before the service, the family invites friends to join them for a walk from the church to the overlook in Kennedy Park, leaving the church at 9:30 a.m.

Andrew Jesse Breslin, VMD, died in Albany on Sunday, October 29, after complications following surgery. He was 77 years old.

Andy was raised in the legendary Mount Carmel, a small town in the anthracite coal region of Pennsylvania. He was the son of Lois Perrin Breslin and John Regis Breslin and older brother to Michael John Breslin.

Andy knew he wanted to be a veterinarian since his first job as a kennel boy when he was 14, often hitchhiking 45 minutes to work. He also delivered newspapers, developing a lifelong love for reading the news, while using extra copies as insulation under his winter coat.

Andrew Jesse Breslin.

Andy attended St. Vincent College for three years before being accepted early to the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 1971. He moved to Lee to join Bern Collins’ practice, becoming a de facto member of that family. It was during an office call in 1975 that he met Pamela Conroy Breslin. They soon married and shared 48 happy years together. Andy opened his own practice in their home shortly after moving to Lenox; several years later, he established South Street Veterinary Services in Pittsfield. Andy loved working at small dairy farms and with the High Lawn Farm herd, and chasing after the buffalos at Eastover.

Beginning in the early 1990s, Andy and his family traveled frequently to Vieques, Puerto Rico, working to improve the health of dogs and wild horses as well as to support and expand the island’s volunteer humane society. Back in the Berkshires, he loved the challenges of a small animal practice. He specialized in surgery, dermatology, and orthopedics; many a retriever ran again after Doc’s healing touch. Andy deeply cared about every pet and their owners, and he thrived on each minute of his 52-year career until this June, when he became suddenly ill.

Andy took pride in becoming an almost-local resident of Lenox. For many years, he served on the Lenox Board of Health and then the Kennedy Park Committee, with earlier stints on the boards of the Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary and the Berkshire Humane Society.

Over decades he mountain biked every inch of Kennedy Park, always stopping at the overlook, “his church,” for a few moments of reflection. Cycling was Andy’s favorite sport, and including a ride while traveling was a special goal. He and Pam spent time at more than 30 international destinations, from Australia to Zanzibar, often renting bikes to explore less-visited corners of countries on their own. In the last several years, they almost completed the 400-mile Erie Canal bike trail, twice. Andy treasured hiking, skiing, camping, and kayaking on trips with his dear friends, and he enjoyed traveling to India and Asia with Susie and Tim Williams.

No one was a more involved or devoted father than Andy. He was beyond proud of his sons, Luke Conroy Breslin of Monterey and Samuel Conroy Breslin of Voorheesville, N.Y., who had the good sense to fall in love with Molly Adams Breslin. His enthusiasm for parenting extended to the next generation of Breslins: being “Pop” to Madeline (Liddy) and Emma was a role he cherished. His granddaughters delighted him, engaged him, and brought him enormous joy with their imaginations, love of cycling, and (according to Andy) their inherited intelligence and humor.

In the late 1980s, Andy bought a red and white Dodge Ram van—his first-ever new vehicle—to set off on a six-week cross-country adventure from Massachusetts to Mexico. A few years later, the family and van headed out again, this time north to the Pacific, camping, biking, and adding to their family stock of stories.

The adventures continued as the Breslin PALS, and later PALMS, explored Europe, South America, and Africa. Returning to the Berkshires held its own great pleasures. Andy loved his home, the view from the kitchen, his spot on the porch. He loved his old Cub tractor; his poorly-tended, high-yielding potato patch; the tea house; the birds at the feeders; the goats in the bar; and his friends and neighbors—and, of course, all the family dogs that came home with him from the clinic.

Few storytellers could match Andy’s ability to capture the essence of growing up in the coal region in the ’50s. His tales of mischief and the inevitable punishments that followed were legendary, as was his love for his roots. Were Mt. Carmel a sovereign nation, Andy would be its ambassador.

Among those he cherished are his many nieces, nephews, in-laws, and outlaws. Andy leaves a legacy of generosity, wry humor, and selfless dedication. Despite his success in veterinary medicine, and in life in general, Andy remained bewilderingly modest, as reflected by his insistence on driving a cranky old pickup truck and sporting a vintage L.L. Bean wardrobe. Andy was a loving, funny, gifted human being, and everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him will be forever better for it.

The family is deeply grateful for the kindness and support of friends and neighbors, Dr. Amy Campion, the hyperbaric group at BMC, the Berkshire Visiting Nurses Association, and Andy’s extraordinary medical team at the Albany Medical Center.

A service in Andy’s memory will be held at the Church on the Hill in Lenox, at 11 a.m., on Friday, November 17. Parking and a shuttle will be available from the St. Ann’s parking lot. Before the service, the family invites friends to join them for a walk from the church to the overlook in Kennedy Park, leaving the church at 9:30 a.m. Family and friends are welcome to a reception after the service at The Mount.

Donations in Andy’s honor may be made to the Berkshire Visiting Nurses Association or the Vieques Humane Society and Animal Rescue.

To share memories and stories, please visit the website of Roche Funeral Home.

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The Edge Is Free To Read.

But Not To Produce.