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Breanne Fencl

Breanne Fencl is the kind of generous spirit that asks you how you’re doing and expects a truthful answer.

She’s the rare being that offers to babysit and means it. She’s the rare being that offers to babysit and means it. She has, and this term has lost some of its meaning, the heart of a caretaker. This quality has been diluted to serving hot soup to someone when they’re sick. And Breanne would undoubtedly do that. But she expresses something more—this genuine desire to serve, love, and look after others. Without glory, reward, fanfare, or strings attached. It’s just what she does. Even your rough parts. Your less desirable traits. Breanne is someone you can trust with your imperfections. When you’re part of her universe, she welcomes all of you. How lucky are we to have her.  

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Breanne was a dreamy right-brainer born into a family of pragmatic left-brainers.

Her mother is a guidance counselor with four advanced degrees in computer science. Her father is an accomplished attorney, and her brother is a CPA. So, one wonders where Breanne’s propensity for the arts came from? In keeping with the nature of creativity, there’s an element of mystery to this question. The genetic origin of Breanne’s right-brain nature could come from her grandmothers. 

Her maternal grandmother always had a love for painting. When Breanne was a young child, she and her grandmother were painting together. Breanne looked over at what her grandmother was painting, then turned to her and said matter-of-factly, “I’m better than you.” Today, Breanne rolls her eyes at the hubris of her younger self. But we should note that grandma did agree that Breanne was a better painter than her. On the other end of the family tree, her paternal grandmother was an English teacher, writer, and “overall badass” and “super-duper cool” lady. 

Both her parents went to Washington University and met on the swim team. Mom was the serious one of the pair, while her dad was the “goofball.” “You’re never going to see any of these people again,” was commonly repeated by her dad when he was doing something that embarrassed Breanne. The demands of his job required many late nights during the week. But come the weekend, he dedicated himself entirely to the family. 

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Have you ever wanted to get into kindergarten so bad that you sat on your hands for an entire summer? Breanne has. 

It was the summer following her final year of preschool. Bright and intelligent young Breanne Fencl was ready for kindergarten. The problem? Her thumbsucking. Her parents informed Breanne that thumbsuckers were not admitted into kindergarten. For more lazy and less driven kids, this would be welcome news. But for the high-achiever Breanne Fencl, it was devastating. But alas, she would not be denied. Breanne, I feel the need to stop and remind you that she’s five years old at this point, employed a strategy of sitting on her hands whenever the temptation arose. Her parents maintain to this day that they would check on her at night to see a sleeping Breanne with her hands firmly underneath her body. 

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Many kids quit sports when it gets too competitive. Breanne stopped playing because it was too easy. 

From her perspective, the other girls on her co-ed T-ball team didn’t try hard enough. This lack of competitive drive sullied the idea of softball for her. They pitched underhand, threw a much bigger ball, and most importantly, had teams of ONLY girls. Breanne thought that all sounded awful and declined. Instead, she shifted her focus to the arts.  

Private art lessons. Are those a thing? Apparently yes. 

In preparation for adult life, at the ripe old age of eight, Breanne began refining her skills and building a portfolio of work. She also committed to more dance classes going three to four days a week. While doing all these extracurricular activities, Breanne still had to attend fourth grade. You know, it’s when we learned to divide fractions, the parts of the cell, and read Where the Red Fern Grows.

Children of her generation wanted to be celebrities or superheroes. Refreshingly, Breanne iodized someone of much greater substance, Claude Monet. Yes, that Monet. Then, as she puts it, “blind, ailing old guy outside painting water lilies all day.” Or, as the world knows him, the French painter who’s credited with inventing impressionism.

She had a much busier schedule than most high school students. Evenings and weekends were filled with additional art and dance classes. Time was often in short supply, so Breanne sought the company of a few select, very close friends. Looking back, she considers herself to be spread very thin during this time of life. It’s one of the reasons Breanne sought the refuge of an out-of-state college, the University of Kansas. She needed to get away from the obligations she had undertaken back in Saint Louis. At KU, she continued her love of art and became an avid Jayhawks fan that continues today. Come March, she is filled with madness and filling out her bracket.  

Breanne has gotten less serious as an adult. 

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Probably due to her relentless drive most of her childhood and adolescence, Breanne has a more balanced approach to life as a grown-up. After graduating from KU, she was drawn into a career in advertising by the glamour of working on spirit brands and fashion labels. She’s made her rounds to the many players in the local Saint Louis ad agency scene. Spending multi-year stints at some and a few “hot seconds” at others. She honed her skills of directing photoshoots and bringing the aesthetic of a brand to life. But as one would expect from someone with such depth, the glamour faded away as Breanne saw the world for what it was. She sought something of greater substance in her work life; the people. And that’s where she finds herself today. Someone who invests in others, knowing the return is worth it.  

And finally, it’s time to talk about the good boy. 

Meatball is the newest, furriest addition to Breanne’s pack. He was named after the affectionate nickname her mother used to call her. This snuggly pandemic pup follows her everywhere, and Breanne wouldn’t have it any other way. Where will you find her today? Probably with her dog, walking the streets of Saint Louis hand-in-leash enjoying a beautiful day. There’s a popular t-shirt with the phrase, “I just want to hang out with my dog.” If you met Meatball, you’d understand why. The two of them clearly belong together. Meatball is the perfect, gentle companion to a human that has provided solace to so many others.