Breda Harnish Obituary

May 15, 2013

in News,Obituaries

PITTSFORD – The family will have a private service for Breda Mary O’Keeffe Harnish, 71, formerly of Merrill, Ore., and Newmarket, Cork, Ireland, who died at home on May 7.
There will be a celebration of her life Sunday, June 2 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Brandon Inn.
She was born on Nov. 30, 1941, in Klamath Falls, Ore., the daughter of Maurice and Ina (Lynch) O’Keeffe.
She graduated from Dominican Upper School for Girls in San Raphael, Calif., and attended the University of Oregon before receiving a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University in Boston.
She married Bob Harnish in 1962 and moved to Killington in 1964, when they purchased the Summit Lodge. In 1971, they purchased La Cortina, which they renamed Cortina Inn.
She was also involved in the community, serving on the board of the Vermont State Chamber, Paramount Theatre, Rutland Regional Medical Center, Rutland County Women’s Shelter, and the Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce, where she became the first woman president.
Together with her husband, she was the 1983 Vermont Small Business Person of the Year and the Rutland Business Person of the Year in 2002. In 1991, Gov. Howard Dean appointed her to the Health Care Authority Universal Access Advisory Committee.
She was member of the Pittsford-Chittenden Book Group and Friends in Counsil, and also served as a mentor to many young people.
After the sale of Cortina Inn in 2003, she enjoyed a five-day trek to Machu Picchu, a walking safari in Zambia and camping at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
Survivors include her husband, Bob; her brother Maurice J. O’Keeffe and his wife Mary of Cottonwood, Calif., and Merrill, Ore.; two nieces and two nephews.
In lieu of flowers the family would like to suggest contributions to: Rutland County Women’s Network, the Rutland County Boys and Girls Club, the Mentor Connector or the Maclure Library in Pittsford.
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Al Wroblewski May 20, 2013 at 7:40 pm

I met Breda when she Development Chair For the College of St Joseph. I served as Development Director. When I became Executive V-P she was on the Board and was elected President. We worked very well together. She was refreshingly clear and decisive. Ridiculously reliable!

Her courage to take positive action for the betterment of the community was matched only by her twinkley personality. I am blessed to have known her, worked alongside her, and to have spent warm moments together with her and Bob. Maria and I both will cherish the memories.

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