PORTLAND, Ore. — Gert Boyle, the colorful chairwoman of Oregon-based Columbia Sportswear Co. who starred in ads proclaiming her as “One Tough Mother,” died Sunday at a local care center. She was 95.
Boyle took over the small outdoor clothing company in 1970 after her husband died from 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.
Columbia grew and over the years acquired key brands such as Mountain Hardwear, Pacific Trail and Sorel. The company now sells products in more than 100 countries.
Boyle was the first woman inducted into the National Sporting Goods Hall of Fame and often recognized for her work as a female business leader, including a book on her experience.