Galpin Motors’ longtime first lady Jane Boeckmann dies at 90
Jane Boeckmann, the first lady of Galpin Motors and matriarch of the Southern California auto-dealership family, has died at age 90, according to family members. Her life story — which included piloting planes and driving race cars, as well as myriad honors for both business and humanitarian endeavors — was surely worthy of a movie.
She died April 28 of pancreatic cancer, according to her family.
Working with her husband, Bert Boeckmann, she helped to turn Galpin Motors into one of the most prominent dealerships in the region.
A gifted interior designer, she helped create interiors for a series of motor homes that became the top-selling vehicles in their class statewide. She was also a licensed pilot who traveled across the country and a racer who was part of a Galpin team that broke the 24-hour endurance race land-speed record at Willow Springs, Calif.
Boeckmann was born Floy Jane McCord on Nov. 8, 1930, in Van Buren, Ark., to parents Albert Lee McCord and Mamie Schuster. She moved to Los Angeles when she was 11 years old.
She was an excellent student, which allowed her to skip the 8th grade while still being named valedictorian, according to her family. She later studied at Scotland’s University of Edinburgh.
While working with her husband, H.F. “Bert” Boeckmann II, she served as treasurer and corporate director at Galpin Motors. Over the years, the business expanded from a tiny three-car dealership into an automotive enterprise with a large showroom, a retail store, restaurant and other amenities. Its in-house customizing shop, known as Galpin Auto Sports, was featured for three seasons on the popular reality TV show “Pimp My Ride.”
Bert Boeckmann started working as a salesman in his early 20s in 1953. He rose quickly through the ranks, becoming Galpin’s manager and eventually taking the helm as owner in 1964. He secured deals with multiple brands, including Ford, Volkswagen, Lincoln, Subaru, Honda, Mazda, Volvo, Jaguar and Aston Martin.
“In business, she was my constant companion,” said Boeckmann, the company’s chairman and CEO, in 2017, after Jane received the Star of the Valley Award in Business. “Wherever I had an issue where I felt I was not qualified, I turned to her.”
For 25 years, Jane Boeckmann was publisher and editor-in-chief of Valley Magazine, which profiled San Fernando Valley’s businesses and chronicled the region’s social, cultural and civic life.
“I wanted to see a magazine that had a good image … a clean, fresh image that still had a lot of style and sophistication and reflected the Valley as a wonderful place, as I think it is, and a unique place,” she told the LA Times in 1986.
The Valley Press Club voted Boeckmann its Newsmaker of the Year in 1981 for her work making the area a better place to live and work.
Her volunteer work included overseeing the delivery of medical supplies and other humanitarian aid in Europe and West Africa. She served under the supervision of Mother Teresa while providing support and during a trip to an orphanage in Russia.
“Meeting Mother Teresa was just an incredible experience,” Boeckmann said back in 2017. “We went to Sierra Leone and took medical equipment. It was a good feeling to be able to help.”
Boeckmann was a director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History and served on the board of directors of the State of California 51st Agricultural District as well as a founding member of the Los Angeles County First 5 LA Commission.
She also served as a trustee of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association and also King’s College, as well as a board member of the Valley Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley, Valley Presbyterian Hospital and the Salvation Army. She was also held key roles in organizations such as the Olive View Medical Centre Foundation Advisory Board, Excellence Media, the Heart Foundation.
She was the first woman who ever won the Fernando Award, a San Fernando Valley chambers of commerce honor for civic achievements. She was also a recipient of the star of the Valley award from the Valley Economic Alliance, the Free Enterprise Award from the San Fernando Valley Business and Professional Assoc., the Woman of the Year Award from the American Business Women’s Association and the Angel Award from Religion in Media.
She is survived by her husband of more than 50 years, Bert Boeckmann II, her daughters Laverne and Denise, sons Brett, Brad and Beau and 12 grandchildren, Dascha, Jacob, Amie, Brandon, Blake, Brooke, Amelia, Logan, Bliss, Brielle, Beau and Blair, as well as seven great-grandchildren Brody, Violet, Anna Bell, Brayson, Brynlee, Branson and Pate, brother-in-law Karl and sisters-in-law Thyra and Gloria.