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Colorful Columbia Sportswear Co. Chairman Gert Boyle dies



PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Gert Boyle, the colorful mayor of Oregon-based Columbia Sportswear Co., who starred in ads proclaiming her as "A tough mother," died Sunday. She was 95.

Company spokeswoman Mary Ellen Glynn did not disclose the cause of death. Boyle, who was chairman of the company's board of directors, died in an auxiliary device in Portland, Oregon, Glynn said.

Boyle took over the small clothing company in 1970 after her husband died of a heart attack. At the time, she was a 46-year-old housewife and mother of three with no real business experience. But she helped build the struggling company into a national brand and retailer.

"Early to bed, early to get up, work like fuck and advertise," Boyle said often, among other pet phrases.

It was her role in an advertising campaign in the 1

980s that gave her national exposure.

The ads showed that Boyle put his son, Tim, the president of the company, through treacherous outdoor activities to make sure the products met her standards. An iconic image from the campaign, which has her bending her arm emblazoned with a "Born to Nag" tattoo, still hangs in the company's Beaverton headquarters.

Boyle's father founded Columbia after the family fled Nazi Germany and settled in Portland. Her husband took over the business in 1964. When he died, the business took many calls wondering if Columbia would close, and the bank encouraged her to sell the company.

She was always picked, and entertained a sale offer at that time, but told a potential buyer that for the price they were offering, she would rather run it in the ground herself.

But Columbia flourished under her leadership, and that of her son.

While Tim was operating as president, Gert Boyle continued to post 40-hour work weeks well into the 80's, signing each company check.

Columbia grew and over the years they acquired important brands such as Mountain Hardwear, Pacific Trail and Sorel. The company now sells products in more than 100 countries.

She was known for her no-nonsense attitude and lively personality – quickly offering staff or those close to a "Gutism" and often a few comments unsuitable for printing. [19659002] Boyle was the first woman to be inducted into the National Sporting Goods Hall of Fame and often recognized for her work as a female business manager, including a book on her experience.

She had three children with her husband, Neil, who was her college sweetheart. Tim Boyle is president of the company, daughter Sally runs Portland company Moonstruck Chocolates and daughter Kathy is an artist.

She had five grandchildren.


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