Frank Breslin, New Castle councilor and former mayor, dead at 63
New Castle town councilor and former mayor Frank Breslin was found dead in his home Monday evening. He was 63.
Garfield County Coroner Robert Glassmire said it appears Breslin’s death was likely due to natural causes; however, an autopsy needs to be completed before making an official ruling.
One was scheduled for Wednesday.
Breslin, who moved to New Castle from Chicago 40 years ago, was many things, including a talented woodworker, businessman, and devoted husband, father and grandfather, according to a press release from the town.
A singer and great lover of music, Breslin performed with Symphony in the Valley and requested to sing at many different events and ceremonies in the community.
However, much of his time in the town was defined by his commitment of public service.
“It’s who he was,” said Bruce Leland, a fellow councilor and mayor pro-tem.
His public service work started in 1977 as a volunteer firefighter, an experience that gave him a deep respect for first responders.
Eventually he served as mayor from 1988 to 1994, but Breslin told Walter Gallacher for his series Immigrant Stories that his experience in New Castle politics started much earlier than that.
Shortly after moving to New Castle, Breslin was jailed by the local marshal for walking his dog without a leash. Breslin told Gallacher that he learned through others that the marshal was taking dogs out of people’s yards and dumping them in an old mine pit.
He and some friends went to the pit and retrieved a dog the marshal had shot and dumped. They then took it to a council meeting.
“When the issue of the marshal came up on the Town Council’s agenda we opened the back door and brought the dog in as proof,” Breslin told Gallacher. “The place went nuts, but the council agreed to look into the marshal’s past. They soon discovered he had no law enforcement experience except for the two weeks he spent as a dispatcher before he was fired. A few weeks later, the Steimel brothers and I bought a six-pack of beer and toasted the marshal as he drove out of town. That was my introduction to New Castle politics.”
After serving as mayor until 1994, Breslin went on to chair the town’s planning and zoning commission — a position he held through a period of massive transformation, including development of Castle Valley Ranch and Lakota Canyon Ranch.
He resigned from his position on planning and zoning to run for mayor in 2006, the same year Leland first ran for council.
“He was a role model, a patient instructor, a good leader,” Leland said.
Additionally, when the town was between administrators in 2007 and 2008, Breslin served as acting administrator for eight months, according to the press release.
Breslin stepped down as mayor in 2014, because as Leland said he did not feel the mayor should serve more than eight years. Instead he successfully ran for a council seat.
Among the great characteristics possessed by Breslin, his memory stood out.
He knew nearly everyone who walked into a council meeting by name, and he could recall specific dates and aspects of important town business.
“He just amazed us at what he could pull from memory at exactly the right time,” Leland said. “I don’t think we’ll see someone who’s able to give to the town the way he did … ”
A celebration of life is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday in Burning Mountain Park. Attendees are asked to bring a side dish and story.
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