Columbia's 'Ma Boyle' Fools Thief

At age 13, Gert Boyle and her family fled Nazi Germany and moved to Portland, Ore. This week, the 86-year-old Chairman of the Board at Columbia Sportswear faced off with a thug in her Oregon home. As reported today in the Oregonian and several media sources, police say a gunman tied up Ms. Boyle on Wednesday and “roughed her up.” She was held hostage while the robber, who was later caught, pilfered jewels and looked for valuables in the home.

But Boyle, who has run Columbia for decades after the death of her husband and once authored a book called “One Tough Mother,” had the chutzpah to rally against her captor. She fooled the robber by tripping a silent alarm at her home, summoning the police.

gert boyle columbia.jpg

Gert Boyle and her book, ‘One Tough Mother’

A few hours after the incident, Portland-area police caught a man limping outside a McDonald’s thought to be the miscreant. The man was booked on charges of burglary, robbery and kidnapping.

Talk about a creep! Ms. Boyle is 86 years old. Reports say she was targeted specifically by the robber.

Despite bumps and bruises, media sources report, Boyle’s business instincts came to the fore when the police chief visited to brief her on the investigation. “He mistakenly wore a North Face jacket, and he asked her how she was doing,” the chief said. “She said she was doing fine until that jacket walked through the door.”

—Stephen Regenold

Posted by whiskers - 11/12/2010 12:58 PM

Wow! Hope the guy gets what he deserves. Hope Gert is not too shaken up.

Also, EVERYONE in Boston, really, everyone – who’s not wearing something fashionable – is wearing North Face, whether it’s the stupid Denali jacket or a vest or something else…

I say, good, because I like Columbia, buy their clothes because I have a use for them (and because they’re cheaper than the overpriced North Face), and won’t look like I’m another face amongst hundreds of North Face trendfollowers here.

Posted by bland - 11/12/2010 01:48 PM

I hope that I’m being cynical when I wonder about this event’s timing coinciding with their new “anti-BS” campaign.

Posted by T Ash - 11/17/2010 08:43 PM

Good for “MA” to call the cop on his thoughtlessness.But most don’t know who The North Face really is. She knows that they are VF Corp. Check out They are the worlds largest apparel maker. This allows them to have the worlds best marketing team. They have convinced the mindless masses ( Mr Police Chief ) “ we fit your life “ and “ never stop exploring “ Along with paid to play athletes and others they keep that logo in our face. Interesting their Ceo Mackey Macdonald name can be found as a contributer to Bush/Cheney/McCain campaigns. He likes that fact hidden, so people like Democrat Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin will unknowingly wear his brands. Like them or not at least you know Columbia is Columbia.

Posted by Penny D. Montague - 01/28/2011 11:50 AM

Many, many people including myself were appalled that anyone would target such an exemplary human being and Oregonian, like Gert Boyle.

Everyone of us needs to be Pro-Active in our preparation to face threats from such thugs.

People had better acquire their non-legal self defense products now, before they are denied the right to defend themselves, my our own government.

My non-lethal self defense company is located in Aloha, OR. Without a non-lethal self defense product, I would not have anyway to defend us.

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