While Baton Rouge knew the late Gerry Lane as a businessman and owner of Gerry Lane Cadillac, members and staff of the YMCA of the Capital Area knew him as a loyal patron. And for just about every child participating in the Y’s youth sports programs, he was the name written on their jerseys.
Lane’s son, Eric, now CEO of Gerry Lane Enterprises, said he remembers the first time his wife, Lisa, asked the dealership to buy T-shirts for YMCA programs.
“We bought 2,100 shirts at $6 each. And that has grown to I don’t know how many thousands of T-shirts over the years,” Eric Lane said at Gerry Lane Cadillac on Feb. 28, where he presented the first installment of a $300,000 donation to the YMCA in memory of his father, who died in 2013.
“When dad was alive, he thought of this as the best thing we do,” he said.
In addition to supporting YMCA programs financially, Gerry Lane also exercised there.
“He went to the Y every day, though anybody who stood beside him on the treadmill probably knows he didn’t get a lot of working out done because he was probably talking,” Eric Lane said, prompting knowing nods and laughs from everyone at the celebration, from Faye, Eric Lane’s mother and Gerry Lane’s widow, and granddaughter Ashton, to the administration and patrons of the YMCA in the audience.
Part of the donation will fund a memorial walkway for Gerry Lane at the youth sports complex located on the campus of the Paula G. Manship YMCA.
The memorial will be dedicated March 28 in conjunction with the opening of the baseball season, YMCA CEO Bob Jacobs said.
For information on the Y and its programming, visit any branch, or the Y’s website, www.ymcabatonrouge.org.