Breckenridge real estate agent remembered for his spunk and sales savvy | SummitDaily.com

Breckenridge real estate agent remembered for his spunk and sales savvy

Jim Cavin, a longtime Breckenridge resident ,died at age 83 on Friday, Aug. 7 at his Virginia home. Cavin was a realtor in Summit, and created the Beaver Run Resort with business partner Robert Girvin.
Courtesy of Leigh Girvin |

Jim Cavin, a longtime Breckenridge resident, died at age 84 on Friday, Aug. 7 in his Virginia home. Cavin, known as “the Cav,” helped shape Breckenridge into the destination it is today through his work in real estate.

He and business partner Robert Girvin teamed up to form the real estate company Timberhill Associates in 1971. The two were neighbors who lived across the street from each other in Chicago, choosing to move to the mountains for their love of skiing and the ample opportunity offered by the budding industry. They worked to develop several properties, notably Beaver Run Resort, just as Aspen announced the Peak 9 expansion to the Breckenridge ski area.

“Getting 23 acres next to the chairlift, we thought, was a good move,” Girvin said. “We worked together. There was no separation of duties. It was a very fun partnership.”

Cavin had an idea of the future growth the resort would bring, choosing to include a conference center with the Beaver Run property in anticipation of the town becoming a hub in the future. The two friends worked tirelessly, on a daily basis for nearly 30 years, keeping ahead of development and the ski industry boom in the 80s. Girvin added that Cavin’s bold approach to real estate brought their company success.

“Jim had a great strategy. He could see further ahead than I could. I was more worried about getting to the next day,” Girvin said. “We had to believe in the future of the town, the skiing industry and the county. Everything we did that was under his mantra worked out.”

Paula Stanton, a Realtor for Coldwell Banker, noted that Cavin helped bring her into the real estate business. Stanton added that not only did Cavin treat his employees like family, but he was a great teacher.

“Beyond all the laughter, all the fun (and there was plenty of both!) Cav was a true mentor for me when it came to how to truly listen to what people wanted, and to approach each day and each transaction with integrity … and a sense of humor,” Stanton wrote. “I am still smiling and loving what I do, to this day, and much of that love for my profession is due to my friend, Cav.”

Not only did Cavin have a knack for getting to know everyone he met, but also he seemed to know nearly everyone in the county. Cavin and Girvin’s families were also close, and their children remain friends to this day. While he almost never took a day off, in his spare time, Cavin was known to ski, or visit the restaurant formerly known as the Whale’s Tail, owned by their friend, Bill Reed.

“With Bill Reed owning a restaurant and a bar, the two of those guys could get into lots of trouble,” Girvin laughed. “He made friends everywhere he went. He was a fun guy, a funny guy … . He always started the party.”

In particular, Cavin was known for his “mint julep Kentucky Derby parties” and working with Girvin to create their renowned Ullr Parade floats. For his moments of merriment, Cavin still knew when to be serious.

“He was very loyal to his family and friends. When Jim said something he meant it,” Girvin said.

Cavin retired nearly 15 years ago, fighting chronic obstructive pulmonary disease as his lungs became less functional, and breathing more difficult. He moved to Virginia, at a lower altitude, where the air was more oxygen-rich.

“Sadly his lungs just couldn’t handle it anymore,” Girvin said “Without oxygen, and the altitude didn’t help him any, that was his downfall. He did a good job of resurrecting his own lifestyle so that he gave himself as much time as possible.”

Girvin added that while in Virginia, Cavin enjoyed boating, taking care of his house on the river, and visiting with his children and grandchildren.

Cavin is survived by his wife, Jean Gill, and his three children. A local memorial service is being planned for the end of September. Memorial contributions may be made to Christ Church, P.O. Box 476, Saluda, VA 23149, the American Lung Association, 55 W. Wacker Drive, Suite 1150, Chicago, IL 60601, or a charity of choice.


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