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Thursday, 23 June 2011 15:47

Ramsay Gillman, Owner of 14 Texas Dealerships, Dies in Houston

Texas automotive dealership owner Ramsay Gillman, who built his family business into one of the state’s largest dealer groups, died June 3 at his home in Houston at 67 years old.

Gillman was a second-generation owner of the Gillman Cos. Ramsay Gillman has served as Owner/President and Chief Executive Officer of The Gillman Companies and was the Chairman of the Board of The Gillman Companies.

In early 2010, he sold 99 percent of the company to his three children—daughter Stacey Gillman-Wimbish and sons Jason and Christopher.

“My father was an industry leader,” said Stacey Gillman-Wimbish, 44, to the Houston Chronicle. “He loved to get involved and was not afraid to take the time necessary to affect change.”

Ramsay’s father, Frank, started the business when he opened a Pontiac dealership in 1938. Ramsay started his automotive career working in the parts department of his father’s Pontiac dealership.

After attending the General Motors Dealer Management Institute and other vocational schools, he became an authorized dealer in 1967. Ramsay and his brother Martin later took over the business and in 1998 Ramsay was able to buy out Martin.

Ramsay Gillman participated in numerous charitable organizations, both on state and national levels. According to his biography, he received the 1996 Sports Illustrated All-Star Dealer Award, presented by the American International Automobile Dealers Association, “for his lifelong contribution to the automotive business and commitment to numerous charitable organizations.”

He has also served as President of the Houston Automobile Dealers Association, Vice President of the Texas Automobile Dealers Association, and was appointed Vice Chairman of the Texas Motor Vehicle Commission from 1984 through 1987 by the Governor of Texas.

He was currently serving as a director of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles as appointed by the Governor of Texas and serves though February of 2013.

In 1997, the State of Texas House of Representatives passed House Resolution No. 350, officially commending Gillman for his “outstanding achievements” and years of dedication to the State of Texas, the automobile industry, his community, and charitable organizations.

Gillman Cos. now controls 14 dealerships in Texas. They include three groups of eight franchises in metropolitan Houston; Honda, Subaru and Mitsubishi stores in San Antonio; and Chevy, Honda and Chevrolet-Buick-GMC stores in Harlingen and nearby San Benito, south of Corpus Christi near the Mexican border.

The dealership group generated $497 million in revenue in 2010 with new vehicle sales of 10,727 units.

He is survived by Stevie Gillman, his wife of 35 years, their three children and four grandchildren. A celebration of Ramsay Gillman’s life was held on June 7 at the George H. Lewis Funeral home in Houston. A memorial service also took place at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church on June 8.

The family asks that any donations be directed to the Fort Bend Women’s Center (P.O. Box 183, Richmond, TX 77406), Houston Automobile Dealers Association Scholarship Fund (P.O. Box 16550, Sugar Land, TX 77496-6550), or National Automobile Dealers Charitable Foundation (P.O. Box 9133, Tacoma, WA 98490-0133).

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