Joseph Lawrence Breal, Sr.
A devoted father, grandfather, son, brother, uncle, and friend, Joseph Lawrence Breal, Sr., died in the first minutes of March 14 after a two-and-a-half-year battle with cancer. He was 69, just a few weeks shy of his seventieth birthday.
Born in Biloxi, Mississippi, on April 4, 1952, Joe was the eldest son of Floyd and Claire Breal, and he spent his childhood running around the Coast with his many Breal and Tucei cousins, excelling at sports (he played football, baseball, and basketball at Notre Dame High School), helping out at his uncle’s fish camp, and setting a (mostly) good example for his beloved younger brother, Greg.
One of the first things you’d learn when you met Joe was that he attended Mississippi State University. He earned a degree from the MSU College of Business in 1974, majoring in Business Statistics and Data Processing, and was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon. He was “true Maroon,” proudly supporting his alma mater as often as he could over the years, whether by (loudly) cheering on the Bulldogs sports teams, leading the MSU alumni chapter in Fort Worth, establishing a scholarship fund, mentoring new SigEp fraternity brothers, or always either wearing or displaying MSU maroon (even his car mats bore the MSU logo).
In 1979, he moved to Fort Worth to take a job as a data administrator with General Dynamics and then as an IT specialist with IBM, where he was employed for 21 years. In the eighties, his Cowtown roots deepened significantly as he welcomed a daughter, Jordan, and two sons, Joséph and Matthias, all first-generation Texans, whom he raised with their mother, Dee Dee.
An avid sports fan and music lover, Joe was never far from a golf course or stadium or concert venue. A longtime member of the Texas Association of Sports Officials, he officiated innumerable high school and college football games (and never made a wrong call). He often worked the scoreboard at TCU basketball games and every spring you could find him at the Colonial Country Club PGA golf tournament, where he volunteered as a marshal and a captain for more than thirty years. If the Eagles or Chicago or the Doobie Brothers were in town, he’d be there singing along and streaming it live to Facebook.
Joe spent the last dozen years consulting for companies across the country, and he took up temporary residence in Portland, Boston, Louisville, and New York City before returning to his hometown of Biloxi for a few years. He moved back to Fort Worth once again in early 2021 and spent the last two years enthusiastically embracing the role of “Paw Paw” to his granddaughter, Jude, visiting his “sweetie pie” in Austin as often as he could and showering her with gifts, including her first MSU cowbell. His desire to serve and love God also grew ever stronger, and his faith—long nurtured by the friendships he made at St. Bartholomew Catholic Church—was a great comfort to him until the end.
Joe is survived by his brother, Greg Breal and his wife, Kay; daughter, Jordan Maynard and her husband, Corey; son, Joséph Breal and his wife, Chelsea; son, Matthias Breal and his wife, Jessica; granddaughter, Judith Maynard; nephew, Gregory Breal; niece, Hannah Breal; and many cousins.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Floyd and Claire Breal.
A visitation and rosary will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, March 18, at Brown, Owens & Brumley (425 S. Henderson Street), in Fort Worth. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at noon on Saturday, March 19, at St. Patrick Cathedral (1206 Throckmorton Street). Burial will follow at Laurel Land Memorial Park (7100 Crowley Road). There will also be a memorial held in Biloxi in the coming weeks.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a memorial donation to the Joe Breal Loyalty Scholarship through the Mississippi State University Foundation. Commitments may be made online at www.msufoundation.com or checks payable to the MSU Foundation, Inc. may be mailed to P.O. Box 6149, Mississippi State, MS 39762.
With deepest gratitude, the family would like to thank the Texas Oncology team, Dr. Pedro Barata at the Tulane University School of Medicine, and the caregivers at Heart To Heart Hospice for their attentive care and support.
Brown Owens & Brumley Family Funeral Home
425 S. Henderson St.