BREEZY POINT -- Don Eastvold, who in the early 1960s helped develop Breezy Point Resort into what it is today, died Dec. 19, 1999, at his home in Palm Springs, Calif. He was 79.
Eastvold, who was married to the late songstress Ginny Sims, had served as attorney general in Washington before buying the resort in the early 1960s. Under their ownership, the first condominiums in the state of Minnesota were constructed at Breezy Point.
They also sold the first lake lots there, constructed the Marina dining room and the Golf View Terrace motel and lived at the Governor's Home, now a large rental unit with a pool, that they built on a hill overlooking Pelican Lake.
Before the Eastvold-Sims ownership, Breezy Point Resort was just a small resort with tiny rental cabins. But a few years later, in 1965, they declared bankruptcy, owing money to many small business owners in the area. Many say Eastvold and Sims were the victims of unscrupulous salespeople. Others blamed them for the bankruptcy.
Denny Gustafson, Brainerd, worked for 18 months as Eastvold's financial manager. He said his boss was a good man and a dear friend.
"I can't say enough for him," said Gustafson. "If you were his friend, you were his friend. It wasn't his fault. They came here with a lot of money. When they left, she was broke. The general public thinks badly of him."
After they declared bankruptcy, the couple moved to Jamaica and operated another resort development. Gustafson said Sims died about 10 years ago in Canada.
Creditors kept the resort open and ran it until April 1968 when Hopkins House purchased Breezy Point Resort.
Breezy Point Resort General Manager Dave Gravdahl worked as a bartender at the resort under Eastvold and was director of sales with Hopkins House in 1965.
"It was difficult to get the resort back on its feet," said Gravdahl. "But there were a lot of people who enjoyed coming up here. We just had to start all over. I think the resort wouldn't have been here today if (Eastvold and Sims) hadn't taken it over."
Eastvold was born Jan. 2, 1920, to Seth and Enga Eastvold in Minneapolis. He had recently worked as CEO for Travelbridge Air Land Sea, Ltd., in Palm Springs. He served in the Army in World War II. He was Man of the Year in Tacoma, Wash. He is survived by three sons, two daughters, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
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