In Memory Of

Breeding, Patricia who passed away on 11/16/2021 at the age of 73

Cmdr. Patricia Ann "Tish" Breeding (Ret.) - age 73, died at home on November 16, 2021, after a valiant battle with cancer. Tish's family will receive friends from 4 PM to 7 PM on Monday, November 22, at Bridges Funeral Home, followed by a service to celebrate the life of an extraordinary woman. In her distinguished careers first in the U.S. Navy and then in the private sector - most recently as Chief Compliance Officer for Covenant Health - Tish lived the maxim that a true leader is the hardest-working person in the room. For many, she put the "love" in "tough love." The oldest child of Rufus and Wanda Breeding, Tish grew up on the Breeding farm in Corryton and attended Corryton Elementary School and Gibbs High School before her admission to the University of Tennessee School of Nursing. Tish enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve Navy Nurse Corps in her final year of nursing school; when she graduated in 1970, she was discharged from the Naval Reserve and joined the U.S. Navy as an Ensign. Her first duty station was at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where she trained corpsmen for triage in the Vietnam War. Her career later took her to Rota, Spain, where she was Charge Nurse at the U.S. Naval Hospital (1971-74); Pensacola, Florida, where she served as a medical/surgical nurse and Charge Nurse of the Emergency Room at Naval Hospital Pensacola; and Puerto Rico at the Naval Hospital Roosevelt Roads, where she established an acute care clinic in addition to serving as a medical/surgical nurse and ER Charge Nurse. During these years, she volunteered to establish a refugee camp for people fleeing Haiti and Cuba, earned her bachelor's degree (University of Alabama-Birmingham, 1984), and a master's degree in nursing (University of South Carolina, 1986). Tish's commanders recognized her accomplishments with regular promotions, and the former Ensign achieved to the rank of Commander in 1984. In 1986, she was stationed at Camp LeJeune in North Carolina where she was patient care coordinator for Intensive Care and the Emergency Room. A gifted speaker, Tish was instrumental in the Navy's efforts to recruit medical personnel and was praised by her superiors for the number of successful recruitments of doctors, nurses, and dentists to the Navy. She also personally trained and motivated the national medical recruiting team. Her final duty station in the Navy was in Washington, D.C., where she served as head of medical recruitment. For Tish, "retiring" from the Navy didn't mean "relaxing." She joined the staff at Fort Loudon Medical Center, where she served as assistant administrator, chief operating officer and chief nursing officer and helped the facility earn praise for its quality improvement and staff development. She then moved to the overall Covenant Health organization, where she again used her recruiting talents to attract and retain nurses. At the same time, she began to focus her attention on changes in ethics and compliance issues for health care and became Covenant's Chief Compliance Officer in 2000. Thanks in large part to her exacting standards for ethical conduct, preserving patient privacy and overall patient care, Covenant has received honors from the Health Ethics Trust of the Council of Ethical Organizations, which also awarded Tish its highest professional credential and named her a Fellow of the Trust. In addition to her role as a leader in Knoxville's health care community - with awards and community honors too numerous to mention - Tish Breeding loved spending time with family and friends, especially traveling with her family. She enjoyed golf, fishing, and bridge, and had a special fondness for shopping - so long as she was shopping for other people.

Tish is preceded in death by her parents, Rufus Breeding, Jr. and Wanda Faye Hitt Breeding; her sister, Deborah Lynn Breeding; and her brother, Randall Wayne Breeding.

She is survived by her daughter, Heather Yvonne Marcus (Jeremy); her grandchildren, Jackson and Josie Marcus; her sisters, Vicki Breeding (Robert) and Kristi Niemann (John); her sister-in-law, Connie Breeding; and special nephews Noah Niemann, Eli Niemann and Kieran Hensley. Among the many, many people whose lives she has touched, Tish is survived by particularly close friends Brenda and Mack Dyer and family; Mary Kelley; Tish's godmother, Joanne Kelley; Doug and Judy Kelley; Charles Kelley and family; Dean Church and family; Tracy and Shannon Wandell, their children KellyAnne Wandell, Trace Wandell, Macy Wandell and Samantha Bolden (Robert), and grandchildren Finley and Sadie Bolden; Troy and Jamie Travis and their son, Colt; Kasey Stamey, sons Rhett and Taylor Kate, and their children; Brent and Erin McKenzie, and their children, Mason and Molly; and Fay Davis.

The family will receive friends 4:00-7:00 PM Monday, November 22, 2021, at Bridges Funeral Home followed by the funeral service at 7:00 PM with Rev. Mike Lee officiating. An interment will be held at a later date at East Tennessee Veterans Cemetery John Sevier.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to LLIAM Children's Ministry ( and/or to Sacred Ground Hospice House in Knoxville ( Arrangements by Bridges Funeral Home, 5430 Rutledge Pike, 865-523-4999.