Jack J. Lane; Aerospace Industry Pioneer
Aerospace pioneer Jack J. Lane, a longtime Westlake Village resident, died March 2. He was 85.
Lane was born June 21, 1912, in El Centro. He lived there with his parents until the family moved to San Diego, where Lane attended Loma Portal Elementary School and eventually Central College and San Diego State University.
In 1994, Lane was honored as the oldest alumni at the 80th anniversary of Loma Portal, said Lane’s longtime friend, Dick Bear.
In 1945, Lane moved to Los Angeles, where he designed and pioneered the rebirth of miniature golf courses in Westchester, Santa Monica and Pasadena, according to his son.
Lane is best known as the owner of Bohanan Manufacturing Co. in Los Angeles. Lane purchased the bankrupt business in 1949 from founder Frank Bohanan, who sold bamboo fishing rods but went broke when he refused to carry fiberglass rods, said Lane’s son, Christopher Lane, of Dallas.
Lane transformed Bohanan Manufacturing into a machine shop that created bomb ejection systems for atomic payloads dropped at supersonic speeds. At its peak, 400 people were employed by the company.
Besides holding the patent for the ejection system, Bohanan contracted with the U.S. Air Force to use the system for the first time in the F-89 Scorpion, said Christopher Lane.
Bohanan Manufacturing also helped create some of the technology behind ejection seats for military aircraft, his son said.
Jack Lane was a pilot who flew his own 1948 Aeronca four-seater in and out of Santa Monica Airport. He also enjoyed golf and competed in tournaments throughout the world. Lane played in the Bob Hope Desert Classic for 23 years.
In the early 1930s, prior to owning Bohanan, Lane worked for the Fisher Aircraft Division of General Motors. At the same time, Lane was invited to teach aeronautical engineering at the University of Tennessee, his son said.
“He said that the year he and my mother spent in Memphis was the most memorable time of their lives,” Christopher said, adding that his parents enjoyed living in a small house on the outskirts of town and mingling with their neighbors.
In 1956, while living in the Malibou Lake Mountain Club in Agoura Hills, Lane establish a plan that allowed residents to access city water and a sewer line, said Bear, a past club president.
In 1969, Lane moved to Westlake Village, where he helped begin the Westlake Village Yacht Club, said Bear. Lane enjoyed sailing with his wife of 62 years, Trudy, and the couple’s dog, Daisy.
Lane, described by his family as a great joke teller, also enjoyed playing piano and spending time at the family’s second home in Indian Wells, where he was a former chairman of the board of directors for the Indian Wells Country Club.
Lane was a past president of the Airport Lions Club in Los Angeles, his son said.
“He had a very strong character and he was a very fair man,” said Christopher Lane.
In addition to his wife, who now lives in Rancho Bernardo north of San Diego, and his son, Christopher, Lane is survived by another son, Robert Lane, of Oakland; a brother, George Lane, of Indio, and five grandchildren.
A private memorial service is scheduled April 19.