December 2022 Newsletter

Thirty Years Journey to Arizona

How the Brummetts Came to The Resort

by Dale Dauten

Today we visit with Gary and Deb Brummett. Before we get to their quest to retire in Arizona, let’s start with how they came to be a couple — it’s one of those charming office romance stories, with a twist.


Gary had fallen on woeful times. His first marriage had come apart, and the divorce had taken an ugly turn. His sister came through for him, though, offering to have him stay at her house, but with one condition – that if she left on the outdoor light, that was the signal that she was entertaining her boyfriend and he wasn’t to come in. And so it happened that getting home late some evenings and finding the porch light on, he’d just sleep in the car.


Meanwhile, Deb had some troubles of her own, having a nasty split with her first husband and raising their two young kids. She’d taken to spending some time with one of the guys at work, seeing him around the company headquarters, sitting with him at company functions, and sometimes meeting for lunch. That was Gary. And when Deb heard that he was occasionally sleeping in his car, she was aghast – this was Minnesota, after all, and winter was coming on. So, she invited him to sleep at her place on those porch-light nights.


Gary reflected back on those days, remembering how moved he was by her concern for him, and saying, “There was something about that gal.” Soon, he was spending more and more time at Deb’s house. The family liked having him, in part because he’d once worked as a cook and enjoyed making meals. It went so well that one day Deb’s kids wondered about Gary, asking, “Can we call him Daddy?” She told them to ask him. He liked it.

And so those occasional nights became every night; and 35 years ago now, they married.



Let’s back up and fill in some of the Brummett’s history…


DEB (She’s officially “Debra,” but prefers the shorter version.) Deb grew up in Wisconsin, but moved after her Junior year to Brainard, Minnesota. After high school, she went to a vocational school and then worked retail, married, had two kids (a boy and a girl, born a year apart) and moved to Minnetonka, where she took a job with Benson Optical, then a national chain.


It was at Benson where she met Gary, and she was employed there until the company faltered and began closing the facility. Deb then worked for a series of companies, mostly insurance firms, until she found her current career home with Deluxe Corporation, which makes checks and other business forms.


Deb’s is still with Deluxe, and her job is selling key cards to hotels. She pointed out that this has been a good business for the company because the cards wear out, get lost, or hotel guests inadvertently take them after checking out. (I confessed to my own guilt feelings about how often I had left town only to discover a hotel key card still in my wallet. Deb laughed at this and said, “Don’t feel bad – you’re good for business.”)

“In April, I’ll have been there for 11 years,” she told us, then added, “And in 20 months, I’ll be retiring – July of ’24.”


GARY beat Deb to retirement, having spent much of his career as a professional installer – saying, “I can install anything” – including time with California Closets and the cabinetry firm Techline. Later, he spent the last years of his career with Superior Construction Services doing restoration work, including rebuilding after flooding or fires. The company prided itself that, even in cases of extreme damage, they could bring back a house or business. Gary tells us, “We had a motto: if there’s one wall standing, we can repair it.” Health issues eventually forced him from working in the field and into management, and then into retirement. “My doctor told me to find someplace warm,” Gary recalled. And that, as you have already guessed, is the start of coming to Arizona and The Resort.


Gary’s parents were long-time residents of an RV park in Mesa, and through their regular visits, Gary and Deb had come to know the East Valley and planned to eventually retire there. Gary even recalls having declared his intentions decades ago: “When we first visited my parents, over 30 years ago, we said, ‘When we retire, it’s going to be to Arizona.’”


Perhaps you’re thinking, “Hold on – the Brummetts are here in Arizona but we just learned that Deb has yet to retire from her job in Minnesota.” Well, it turns out that one benefit of the Covid pandemic was that her employer decided that everyone should work remotely. And once the company decided it was time to head back to the office, some employees had the choice to remain remote. Deb jumped at that chance. Thus, the Brummetts were able to accelerate their plans to move to Arizona.


At that point, they had a camper in Stanchfield, MN, and their next door neighbors, Brian and Mary Schultz, have a winter place at The Resort. The Schultzes invited the Brummetts to visit and… there it was again, the old Resort magic… Gary says, “We couldn’t believe the friendliness of the park. We decided then that this is where we’d try to get in.”


They found their chance to buy a unit, then settled in and got busy at the park: Gary volunteered at Actvities and became one of the bingo callers and started playing golf. Deb volunteered around the park and is eager to get back to spending time with crafts, including beadwork, macrame, and Christmas ornaments.


Now they just have one detail left and they’ll be full-timers at The Resort. As Deb explained, “We still have a camper up in Minnesota. We going to go up there and sell the camper and get right back.”