From staying local to traveling the world

Rosemarie Breese.

Photo: Tom Wolf

Rosemarie Breese, BS ’49, was all signed up to attend UB and study business when she graduated from Lackawanna High School in 1945. 

As the first day of college drew near, she got a call from UB inviting her to talk with the managing director of what was then Price Waterhouse.

“After I met with him, he offered me a position working as an intern while I went to college,” Breese says. “I took the offer and began both my education and my career.”

While working for Price Waterhouse five days a week, six hours a day, Breese took early morning and evening classes at UB.

“I liked all my professors, day and night, and absorbed everything they taught me,” she says. “I still remember my accounting professor, a Mr. McCloud. He was so interesting and made me want to study harder.”

For Breese, attending school while working was a powerful combination.

“I was able to learn while doing,” she says.

Her advice to current students is reflective of her experience.

“Do whatever you can to learn everything they are trying to teach you,” she advises.

Breese’s busy and productive schedule paid off, and she completed her degree in only three years. Upon graduation, Price Waterhouse offered her a job.

“It was a good offer, but I didn’t want to travel,” she says. “While I was an intern, all the companies I worked with at Price Waterhouse were in Buffalo and Niagara Falls.”

One of the companies she conducted audits for was Trico Products. Breese says Trico had a policy that prohibited them from making her a job offer while she was employed by Price.

“But once I finished school, I no longer worked for Price Waterhouse,” she says. “Trico offered me a position managing the company’s financials, and I took it.”

While there, she met her husband, Frank. He had been a pilot in the U.S. Air Force for 29 years and remained in the Reserves. He eventually became Trico’s vice president of human resources.

Breese worked at Trico for her entire 41-year career, retiring as assistant treasurer.

Although she had not wanted a job with travel, Breese had no such aversion to traveling for leisure. Together, she and her husband circled the globe.

“I’ve been to Europe something like 14 or 15 times,” she says. “Plus Japan, Hong Kong, China, and lots of excursions on ships out of New York to such places as South America, the Mediterranean, Panama Canal and Alaska.”

Breese was also an avid golfer well into her 80s, and a five-time club champion at Orchard Park County Club. While she and her husband mainly resided in Western New York, they also had a house in North Carolina where they enjoyed more golfing and trips to Myrtle Beach.

Today, at 96, Breese looks back on her life with satisfaction. When asked if she would do anything differently, though, the woman who didn’t want to travel for work says: “I would have taken a course of study that would enable me to work abroad — perhaps for an embassy in London or China.”

Written by Jacqueline Ghosen