Family of couple slain in Nevada County cite love, urge compassion |

Family of couple slain in Nevada County cite love, urge compassion

Patricia and Robert Breedlove.
Photo courtesy Breedlove family

Robert Breedlove’s surviving child, Lynn, had words of compassion Friday for stepbrother Dennis Lee Wallace, who has been accused in the deaths of Robert and wife Patricia in their Greenhorn Road home late Wednesday night.

“I just want everybody to think good thoughts for the survivors of this family,” Lynn said. “They’re all suffering and in shock. Of course, we’re going to try to make sense of the nonsensical. But I think Bob and Pat would want us to (remember), it’s about love, it’s about forgiveness, and compassion. Dennis will have to live with this — and that’s a terrible thing to have to live with.”

Christopher Wallace, calling mother Patricia and stepfather Robert “wonderful and a constant force of good for my clan,” also had a message of love to share.

“My parents gave freely, they loved unconditionally, they hoped the best for us all, they were strong towers in a turbulent world (and) a refuge for the weak,” he wrote in a text message. “Broken, we will thrive, destitute, we will live on, and well, I trust, in no small part as the great benefactors of their endless and boundless love.”

Nevada County sheriff’s deputies had responded slightly before 11 p.m. Wednesday to the Breedlove residence after a 911 call from a man who did not identify himself and stated he needed the police to respond. Deputies were met outside by Dennis Wallace, who was detained before deputies found Robert and Patricia Breedlove dead inside the residence. The couple had died from what appeared to be blunt force trauma, sheriff’s spokesman Andrew Trygg said.

On Friday, Trygg declined to provide further details, citing the ongoing investigation.

Dennis Wallace, 60, remained in custody Friday without bond on two counts of murder in the deaths of Robert Breedlove, 87, and Patricia Breedlove, 80. He has not yet been charged, said Nevada County Assistant District Attorney Chris Walsh, adding he expects to file a criminal complaint early next week.

Making Nevada County home

Lynn Breedlove said Robert and Patricia moved to Nevada County in the mid-1990s after retiring from the San Leandro school district.

Robert made the Greenhorn Road property his “paradise on earth,” Lynn said. “That was his happy place.”

He was an avid outdoorsman from a young age and shared his love of nature with many, taking both family and his junior high school students on backcountry camping trips in Yosemite.

“He introduced a lot of people to the beauty of the Sierras,” Lynn said. “His spirituality was there. It was God’s backyard for him, the Sierras. … He had a poet’s heart.”

Robert was very interested in the history of indigenous people from around the world and particularly the First Nations people, Lynn said. His den was “wall to wall books” on the topic, Lynn added.

Robert Breedlove was a man of many talents, Lynn said. The longtime history and English teacher was also a handyman, an athlete, and an amazing carpenter who purchased a derelict Victorian-era house in Alameda in the 1960s, fixed it up and then resold it, sparking a side career in renovations. He began teaching in Oakland and also coached basketball at the junior high school there, Lynn said.

Many of Robert’s students from San Leandro took to an alumni group on Facebook to post their memories of a man many called their favorite teacher.

“I remember him being a good teacher and good person,” said Janet Welch, who took his classes both in junior high and high school. “He made learning fun. He was one of the cool teachers the kids were comfortable around, he was great at relating to and talking to young teens.”

Robert and Patricia met at San Leandro High School, where they both worked. In fact, Lynn met Pat first, after getting caught writing on some lockers with shoe polish.

“When they got together, it was great,” Lynn said. “She had three sons — and my dad always wanted a son. He was very happy to have these three teenage boys in his life.”

As grandchildren came along, Robert and Patricia enjoyed having the extended family around them, being “surrounded by activity and love,” Lynn said.

Dennis Wallace had been living in a trailer on the Breedloves’ property, Lynn said.

“They knew he had nowhere to go,” Lynn added. “Their idea of integrity was, they were doing their best to take care of him. They set boundaries, but they would not put him out on the street.”

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

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