Roy M. Breckenridge, 71

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Roy climbing on Athabasca Glacier, Alberta, Canada, in 2005.

On Aug. 1, 2016, Roy M. Breckenridge passed away surrounded by love and support from his family and friends. Roy fought an honorable battle against cancer, and true to his character he persevered, remained motivated and driven to overcome pain and walk, and climb the next mountain.

Roy was born in Spokane, Wash., on June 4, 1945, to Charles and Lois Breckenridge. Lois gave birth while “CM” was healing in a military hospital from being wounded in Iwo Jima. True to his parents’ character and determination Roy was humble, kind and determined. Receiving excelling marks academically in the East Valley schools of Spokane, and participating in Track and Field and 4-H.

Roy’s work ethic was ever present as he put himself through earning his undergraduate degree at Washington State University in Pullman and was an active member in Farmhouse Fraternity. He had found his passion in higher education, learning and solving the timeless mysteries of how our land had been formed. He received his master’s degree and Ph.D. in geology at the University of Wyoming, all prior to the age of 30. During this time, he also served in the U.S. Air Force Reserves as a medic.

Roy took a position as a research geologist at the Idaho Geological Survey in 1977 in Moscow, Idaho. Roy remained at the Idaho Geological Survey until 2014 when he retired as the Director and Idaho State Geologist. Roy’s life work was researching and studying. Passionate about education of local geology, he led numerous field trips examining landforms created by the Ice Age Floods from the Montana-Idaho border to the Pacific Ocean. Roy loved geology and field research. He wrote books and published maps in North Idaho and the Long Valley area near McCall which are still used today. Roy spoke in PBS presentations such as the “Mystery of the MegaFlood.” Roy was often found with his compass, paper and filled rock sample bags out in the field.

Roy enjoyed all disciplines of geology working in many different settings during his career, but had a particular interest in glacial geology. Roy was a contributor to the first National Park Service Ice Age Floods Study and has been involved with the Ice Age Floods Institute since it was formed. He attended national geology conferences and summits for many years speaking of the importance of safety preparedness, education and science. He had many friends and peers from the local, state, and federal level.

Roy fondly spent time on his property in Moscow living in a barn wood home as unique as he was. Roy loved taking road trips and often showed up at friends and family’s home when he was out exploring. He passed on his passion for rocks and science to his two grandchildren who were given rock samples, nature identification books and microscopes when they were toddlers.

Roy had plans to continue to study and explore up until he became ill in June. Roy has left our lives molded as the glacial valleys with the power of love and determination like the great floods.

He is survived by his daughter, Kimberly Kreaman; son (in-law but, son nonetheless) Bob Kreaman; grandsons Kash (7) and Kannon (3); sisters Dana Komen, Sally Breckenridge and Laurie Castle; and brothers (in-law but again, brothers nonetheless) Don Komen and Steve Wilson.

Roy would enjoy looking across the mountains from the summit. He would not want us to be sad, but rather to learn, live and enjoy the world around us.

In his memory, a celebration of life will occur at a later date. Donations or memorial gestures can be made to Hospice of North Idaho, and the Nature Conservancy, or just get outside and hike in his honor.

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