JANE KAVANAUGH BORRMANN
September 13, 1916 - April 4, 2014
Born and raised in Texas, Jane K. Borrmann, loving wife of George R. Borrmann, passed away peacefully in her home in Encino, California at the age of 97. Her only sibling, Frances, died in 2009 at the age of 93.
Her father, Jewel Simpson, died in a railroad accident when Jane was in her early teens. Her mother, Robbie Booth Simpson, later married Claude Kavanaugh. In Texas, Jane and her sister, Frances, grew up surrounded by oil men, cowboys, cattle and horses.
Both sisters matriculated at the University of Texas, majoring in accounting.
Just before the beginning of World War II the family moved to Hollywood, California where the sisters attended director Max Reinhardt"s dramatic academy. While Frances began scripting western movieseventually becoming known as the "Cowgirl of the Typewriter,"- Jane turned to acting, appearing in several motion pictures.
A new chapter in her life opened when she married George R. Borrmann who had recently founded his Borrmann Steel Company in Oakland, California. As a pioneer in warehousing, sales and distribution of metal products, the company prospered. It was George Borrmann who invented and patented unique racks for steel bar angle, channel and pipe stock that are still in use today. He also originated the idea of Federal Deposit Insurance for bank deposits (FDIC). Their dedication, business sense and resourcefulness were qualities that formed a solid foundation for the company.
George and Jane had been exploring opportunities in Southern California, and when the city of Oakland appropriated the company's property for a city project, they moved the Borrmann Steel Company to its present location in Burbank, California.
At the same time they built a home on several acres of land in what was then the "wilds" of Encino where they began raising cattle until most of their property was appropriated by the state to build the 101 Freeway.
Forced to move, Jane and George selected property in the hills of Encino where they built their home of more than 50 years.
As the company continued to grow, becoming one of the leading metal distributors in the Southwest, in keeping with the company's tradition of being a family owned and operated business, when Jane's nephew Robert K. Persson and her nephew-in-law Robert Wedeen graduated from college they became company managers. When George Borrmann passed away in 1973, Jane and the two men were already experienced managers.
Under Jane's leadership as CEO, the company continued to innovate and grow, becoming recognized as a leader in the field of metal warehousing, sales and distribution. To reflect its expansion into other metal inventories, the company's name was changed from the Borrmann Steel Company to the Borrmann Metal Center. Now one of the leading metal distributors in the Southwest with a second branch in Riverside, CA., the Borrmann Metal Center is still owned and run by second and third generations and is home to an extended family of more than a hundred employees. One thing that did not changed over the years was the Borrmann company's commitment to quality service and material.
In addition to being the Company's CEO, Jane Borrmann somehow found time to be involved with many cultural, civic and charitable endeavors, such as serving as chapter president of the Navy League of the United States. She is also a life member of the Mary and Joseph League, and "The Muses," the support group of the Los Angeles Museum of Science and Industry. She was also a patron of the Autry Museum of the American West (where her sister, Frances has been honored with a permanent display) and of Pepperdine University. In addition, Mrs. Borrmann represented the U.S. Steel industry at various national and international functions such as the Belgian World Steel Service Center Convention
Social functions held at her home often involved such celebrities as Rudolf Friml, Roger Williams, and many western stars.
She is survived by her brother-in-law, the Broadway writer and composer Robert L. Hecker, by a nephew and niece, four grand-nephews and nieces and two great-grand-nephews and nieces.
Due to Jane K. Borrmann, the next generation now owns and operates the Borrmann Metal Center, insuring that the same quality, integrity, and service established by its founders will continue to service the nation and the people she loved and who loved her.
Services were private
Published in Los Angeles Daily News on Apr. 13, 2014