NPR logo Gert Boyle, Columbia Sportswear's 'One Tough Mother,' Foils Robber


Gert Boyle, Columbia Sportswear's 'One Tough Mother,' Foils Robber

You've probably seen the ads featuring the stern-looking lady with the gray hair who's the face of Columbia Sportswear. It's Gert Boyle, the company's 86-year-old chairwoman.

Wednesday night, a would-be robber apparently found out that the title of Boyle's autobiography (One Tough Mother: Taking Charge In Life, Business, And Apple Pies) wasn't fiction.

The Oregonian writes that when a man followed Boyle into her West Linn, OR, home and demanded money, she "pretended to go along with the gunman, telling him she had to disable the home alarm system. Instead, she calmly pushed the silent panic button, which alerted the alarm service and, in turn, the police."

Police got to her door within minutes, but after the robber had "tied Boyle's hands, roughing her up a little, and began rifling through the house." She warned the officers that a gunman was inside, which convinced the crook to run out a back door and off a 25-foot-high deck. He was apprehended several hours later, "limping outside a McDonald's restaurant," the newspaper adds.

Kerry Tymchuk, a public relations specialist who works with Boyle, tells the Oregonian that she's OK. "Gert is fine," he said. "She's just a bit shaken up, and she has a fat lip. It really was a long night for her. But it's typical of her that she outwitted the burglar. She's a pistol."

Here's one of Columbia's TV adds that played off Boyle's tough image: YouTube