A family with a long legacy associated with Northwestern State University established a scholarship to honor the family patriarch who taught math and science to several generations of Natchitoches students. The Peter H. Breedlove Endowed Scholarship will be presented to a Northwestern State student pursuing a degree in a STEM (science, technology, mathematics and engineering).
Peter H. Breedlove graduated from Natchitoches High School in 1924 and earned a bachelor’s degree from NSU when it was known as Louisiana State Normal College on June 10, 1929. He earned a master’s degree in education in 1950 at Louisiana State University. His wife, Ila Harper Breedlove, also graduated from Normal, followed by his only daughter, Frances, and three grandchildren, Mark, Clark and Fair Hyams.
“As an algebra, physics and math teacher at Natchitoches High, he prepared hundreds of students for NSU,” said Fair Hyams, Peter Breedlove’s grandson. “He once told me, ‘I may not be the world’s best mathematician, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a better teacher of math.’ The 1953 Natchitoches High Chinquapin yearbook was dedicated to him and was filled with praise from his students…. ‘You’re the best math teacher, ever!’ “You’re the finest teacher I knew’ and a simple, ‘Thank you, Mr. Breedlove.’”
After retiring from teaching in 1969, Breedlove lived the remainder of his life in Natchitoches and was an avid fan of NSU athletics. He passed away in 1982. His daughter, Frances, passed away April 9 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.
“One of the last times I saw her truly happy was when we talked about the scholarship in her dad’s honor,” Hyams said. “My mother was always proud of her father and proud to be known as ‘Pete’s beautiful and smart daughter.’ This was her way of honoring her dad for the school he loved.”
Hyams said everyone in Natchitoches seemed to know his grandfather.
“When I was 10 years old, we’d drive through Natchitoches and the policeman directing traffic would say, ‘Hey Mr. Breedlove,’ as we passed through the intersection. Young women in the department stores would greet him and often hug him. Even people on the street as we drove by would shout ‘Hey, Mr. Breedlove.’ I asked him, ‘Granddaddy, are you famous or something?’ He said, ‘I taught half this town.’
“A scholarship supporting students in the STEM areas could not have been created at a more appropriate time,” said Brittany McConathy, assistant director of Development at Northwestern State. “Programs in our Department of Engineering Technology and our College of Arts and Sciences are growing and developing to meet regional workforce needs and this scholarship will enable a student to pursue a path towards a lucrative career here in Louisiana.”
To contribute to the Peter Breedlove Endowed Scholarship, contact McConathy at (318) 357-5215 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.