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Bert B. Breedlove

Six decades ago, Bert B. Breedlove was taken with Santa Rosa and made it his family home, but the former Coast Guard chief boatswain's mate also cherished two other locales: the Piedras Blancas Light Station near San Simeon and the Gallatin River in Montana.

Breedlove's Montana property was used in scenes from the 1992 movie "A River Runs Through It." Director and actor Robert Redford walked onto the land one day and asked Breedlove's permission to film there.

Breedlove died Sept. 4 at his home in Santa Rosa. He was 91.

His family remembers him as a superb storyteller who affirmed life.

Grandson Shjon Gilbertson of Windsor said his grandfather could be "gracefully stern" and could engender obedience partly due to "this deep respect I had for him as a man."

Born in Dustin, Okla., Breedlove moved with his family to Westwood, a small town in Lassen County.

After high school, he worked a short time for a local lumber mill and in the summer of 1941 enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard. He went on to serve 20 years with the service, with such duties as overseeing the loading of munition ships in San Francisco Bay and being skipper of an 83-foot air/sea rescue boat in Hawaii.

Breedlove and his wife, Parley Breedlove, were married for 68 years. They had met in the spring of 1942 at El Patio Ballroom in San Francisco.

In 1947, the couple moved their young family to the Piedras Blancas Light Station. Breedlove later wrote that the five years spent there were for his wife and him among the happiest of their lives.

In 2008 the couple returned there as honored guests at a celebration of the federal government's efforts to preserve the site. They stayed then at the lighthouse in the station officer's master bedroom.


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