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Sylvia Breed Gates died as she wished, at peace and in the care of her family, on May 11 at age 91. Sylvia was the daughter of Celia Kimball Breed and Edward F. Breed.Born in Boston, Sylvia graduated from The Ethel Walker School and from Smith College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.During her senior year, she won Vogue magazine's "Prix de Paris," which included a job in the magazine's Art Department in New York.In 1947, Sylvia participated in reconstruction work in the village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, France, a center of resistance to the Nazis during WWII. In 1948, she volunteered for the World Council of Churches and flew into Berlin in the airlift. She did graduate work at Newnham College, Cambridge University, and from 1951-1954 worked for the U.S. Department of State in Washington DC and Bangkok.It was in Washington DC that she met a young Oregonian, Stuart Gates.They were married in 1955. The couple settled in Salem, Oregon, then moved to Portland in 1960, where they raised five children.
Sylvia was a Director of the Alumnae Association of Smith College, Chairman of the Reed College Women's Committee, Trustee of the First Unitarian Church, and a Director and Life Member of the Oregon Women's Golf Association. She was a member of the National Society of Colonial Dames of America, the Smith College Club of Oregon, The University Club, and Waverley Country Club. She volunteered at Riverdale School and worked for 14 years as a part-time teller at US National Bank. She was a devoted member of her church choir, a lifelong golfer who celebrated two holes in one, and an avid Red Sox fan. Her thoughtful cards routinely delighted friends and family.
Sylvia was predeceased by her husband, Stuart, and daughter Celia. Survivors include Sarah Fitzgerald (Cliff), Julia Greenberg (Jonathan), Edward Gates, John Gates, and eight grandchildren.
Between Sylvia (class of 1945) and her mother Celia Kimball Breed (class of 1910), they met every President of Smith before Kathleen McCartney.