Former state Sen. George Pillsbury, of Minnesota's storied Pillsbury family, died at his home in Wayzata on Saturday at age 91 with his family by his side.
Pillsbury was the great-grandson of a Minneapolis mayor and the grandson of the man who built flour-milling company Pillsbury into a giant.
He served as a Marine in the Pacific during World War II. He was a business leader, philanthropist, prominent political donor and state senator from 1971 to 1982.
Former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson said Pillsbury was a key leader in Carlson's 1990 and 1994 campaigns.
"You could say that Geoge Pillsbury was an old-fashioned Republican," Carlson said. "And I say that in the best sense of the word. And in later years when the Republican Party moved to the right, he stuck his ground. And over the last several years, he made that more definite."
Pillsbury supported Independent Tom Horner for governor in 2010 and last week hosted a fundrasier for Jim Graves, a DFLer who is running to unseat U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in the 6th District.
Pillsbury's son, Charlie Pillsbury, said his father was always ready to hear another point of view.
"He never met anybody in this world that either he didn't like or he couldn't find something likable about them," Charlie Pillsbury said. "He was always asking us -- and not just us, our cousins, or sometimes a stranger that he just met -- what they thought. He wasn't going to write anybody off."
Pillsbury is survived by his wife, two sons, two daughters, 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Funeral arrangements are pending.