Jean Breckenridge, 93, who founded Breckenridge Village of Tyler, died late Friday night.
“She will be remembered as a woman of courage, compassion, and above all, the mother of Breckenridge Village,” Dinnin said in the statement.
After Mrs. Breckenridge and her late husband, Robert, moved to Tyler in 1972, they bought about 70 acres of tree-lined farm land on Pleasant Retreat Road. The couple cleared the acreage by hand and hoped someday they could build a place for children like their son Jimmy, who has Down’s Syndrome.
Mrs. Breckenridge donated the land and money for the center, which is owned and operated by BCFS (Baptist Child and Family Services) of San Antonio. The center opened in 1998.
The village features six cottage-style homes, a swimming pool, fishing pier, chapel, green house and activity center.
Forty residents, including Mrs. Breckenridge’s son, live in the village.
On his 35th birthday, Mrs. Breckenridge’s son cut the red ribbon as guests sang “Happy Birthday.”
“It’s a beautiful place. It has just been an answer to prayers,” she said at the time. “My husband and I couldn’t dream of anything like this.”
According to the Breckenridge Village of Tyler website, “The village has provided services to hundreds of individuals with developmental disabilities, all of whom had families who were at a loss to take care of them. Without it, many of these ‘forever children’ would have been homeless, or at best, living in institutional-like settings. The village continues to be a beacon of hope to families from across our state and beyond.”