June 7, 2011
Ramsay Gillman, born in Houston, Texas on Feb. 1, 1944, the son of Frank and Lula Gillman, died on Friday, June 3 in his home in Houston.
He was preceded in death by his father, mother, and brother, Barton Gillman. He is survived by his beloved wife and companion of 35 years, Stevie Gillman, daughter Stacey Gillman Wimbish and husband Frank, son Jason Gillman and wife Brittany, and son Christopher Gillman. Grandchildren include Grace Wimbish, Frankie Wimbish, Jace Gillman and Cavan Gillman.
At the time of his death, Ramsay was serving as chairman of the board of the Gillman Companies, one of the largest privately held automobile dealership groups in the country.
The son of a pioneer automobile dealer, Ramsay began his automotive career working in the parts department of his father’s Pontiac dealership in downtown Houston. After attending the General Motors Dealer Management Institute and other specialized schools, he became an authorized dealer in 1967.
Ramsay served as a director for the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) from 1989 through 1999. He was elected as president of NADA in 1997. During his years as a director, Ramsay was a member of the NADA Industry Relations Committee, the NADA Regulatory Affairs Committee and was chairman of the NADA Government Relations Committee in 1993 and in 1999. At the time of his death, Ramsay was serving as a trustee for the NADA Charitable Foundation and for the NADA Dealers Election Action Committee.
Ramsay served as president of the Houston Automobile Dealers Association and vice president of the Texas Automobile Dealers Association. In 1984, Ramsay was appointed vice chairman of the Texas Motor Vehicle Commission by Mark White, then-governor of Texas, and served for three years. At the time of his death, he was serving as a board member of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles appointed by Rick Perry, governor of Texas.
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Ramsay 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.
In 1997, the Texas House of Representatives passed House Resolution No. 350, officially commending Ramsay for his “outstanding achievements” and years of dedication to the state of Texas, the automobile industry, his community, and charitable organizations. In 2009, The Texas Automobile Dealers Association honored Ramsay with the lifetime achievement Automotive Legends Award.
Charitable organizations that receive support from the Gillman family include the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Youth Scholarship Program, the Fort Bend County Women’s Center, which provides shelter for abused women and their children, the Earning by Learning Program, which rewards young children for reading books, the Ronald McDonald House, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Sickle Cell Association.
Ramsay was an exceptional storyteller, always with a moving or humorous tale for every occasion. He lived life over the top, was a true friend, a great mentor, and enjoyed every phase of living. An expert golfer, ardent outdoorsman, an extraordinary fisherman and proficient hunter, he packed over 100 years of living in the 67 years we were privileged to enjoy his companionship and company.
For those wishing a memorial in Ramsay’s name, the family asks that donations be directed to the Fort Bend Women’s Center (P.O. Box 183, Richmond, Texas 77406), Houston Automobile Dealers Association Scholarship Fund (P.O. Box 16550, Sugar Land, Texas 77496-6550) or the National Automobile Dealers Charitable Foundation (P.O. Box 9133, Tacoma, WA 98490-0133).
A celebration of Ramsay’s remarkable life will be held Tuesday, June 7 from 5-8 p.m. at George H. Lewis Funeral home, 1010 Bering Drive, Houston. A memorial service is scheduled at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church on Wednesday, June 8 at 11 a.m.