Pam Ingram, 2019 Santa Clarita Valley Woman of the Year, is a familiar face around the Santa Clarita Valley. In real estate for 25 years, she is one of the top realtors working at RE/MAX of Santa Clarita, is a member of the RE/MAX Hall of Fame and has been honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Her nonprofit volunteer work not only earned her the SCV Woman of the Year award, but the 2015 Carmen Sarro Award bestowed by Zonta International of SCV. REMAX of Santa Clarita also named Ingram winner of its Philanthropic Award.
Ingram was almost born in a taxi cab on the way to Edgewater Hospital in Chicago.
“My dad was in vaudeville at the time I was born,” she said. “He sang and danced. He was on the road, and my mother was to call George Gobel (the famous comedian and variety show host), to take her to the hospital.”
However, Gobel’s line was busy so Ingram’s mother called a taxi.
“The cab got lost on the way to the hospital,” Ingram said. “I was semi-born in the back of the taxi cab, they did get to the hospital, but just barely.” Despite missing Ingram’s birth, Gobel was named her godfather.
Moving to SoCal
The family, tired of the harsh Chicago winters, moved to Southern California when Ingram was three.
They moved to Seal Beach, and then Long Beach before they settled into the Canoga Park/Woodland Hills area of the San Fernando Valley.
“That’s where I grew up,” she said. “Looking back, I remember the valley was very clean and safe. Topanga Plaza was just being built. That’s where we hung out.”
Ingram, a graduate of Canoga High School, attended Pierce College in Woodland Hills with plans to finish college in Santa Barbara.
“My dad was working in the auto industry at the time, and I was offered a job at the new Courtesy Chevrolet in Thousand Oaks,” she said. Ingram quit college to work at the auto dealership. She met her husband, Steve Ingram, and the couple were wed in 1972.
“We just celebrated our 47th wedding anniversary,” she said.
The Ingrams have one son, Christopher, and four grandchildren, one boy and three girls; Taylor 13, Zach 11, Ella 9 and Abbey 7. “We spend a lot of time at dance recitals,” she said.
Living in the SCV
The Ingrams first moved to the Santa Clarita Valley in 1974. Ingram remembers the SCV before Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital was open and when Magic Mountain was new.
“They were promising us a mall in those days,” she said. Ingram said highlights of the SCV were Tip’s Restaurant, Lumber City and the 76 gas station. “The Backwoods Inn was the place to eat,” she said.
As luck would have it, as soon as the couple moved to the SCV, her husband was hired to work in Ojai.
“Every day he was commuting on that dangerous two-lane back road,” she said.
After their son was born in 1976, the family moved back to Thousand Oaks the following year. In 1995 the family returned to the SCV, moving to Valencia.
Working in real estate
Ingram found her real estate career when a girlfriend asked Ingram to cover for her when she required surgery.
She began working in real estate in 1994, and after working in Westlake Village, Ingram interviewed with RE/MAX of Santa Clarita and was hired.
“I like working with people and every day is new and exciting,” she said. “I might be sitting at a desk, but every escrow is different, and every family you work with is different.”
Ingram said she enjoys helping families find their dream home as much as she enjoys helping people sell an existing home. “It’s very satisfying,” she said.
“I have my hand in a lot,” Ingram said. “Probably more than I should.”
Her dedication to nonprofit work first started in high school. “I was in a club that decided to sponsor a little girl in Africa,” she said.
Ingram started volunteering in earnest in the early 1990s when her son attended Chaminade College Preparatory. She was on the fundraising committee for five years, and served as PTA president.
Shortly after moving to the SCV Ingram’s best friend died. “She was very active in Thousand Oaks and always told me, ‘You have to do this,’” Ingram said. “Cheri Fleming (co-owner of Valencia Acura and past president of Soroptimist International of the Americas) immediately got me involved in Soroptimist.”
Ingram was just installed for her third term as president of Soroptimist International of Greater SCV. She also was chair of the group’s Wine Affair fundraiser and co-chair of the annual fashion show.
Ingram has served on the advisory board of the Santa Clarita Child & Family Center and supported a wide variety of nonprofits including Walk to End Alzheimer’s, Light the Night, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, American Cancer Society Relay for Life, Boys and Girls Club of SCV, Carousel Ranch, Special Olympics and the SCV Senior Center.
“For many years we had a moving van and our moving van was used by every nonprofit in town for every event,” she said. The van, which had Ingram’s name prominently displayed on the side, was purchased to advertise her business.
“The Boys & Girls Club of SCV used it to deliver Christmas trees, schools used it and sometimes it was available for my clients,” Ingram said. “That van was out at a lot of events, which got me involved in attending events with different nonprofits.”
Ingram said an old boyfriend from high school once contacted her, and she was surprised to hear from him. “He was driving through Santa Clarita and he called me and I asked, ‘How did you find me?’ He said, ‘Your truck, it’s sitting out on the road.’”
The moving van, after many years of service to the community, is now retired.
Ingram was president of the Betty Ferguson Foundation, on the Winter Task Force Shelter Committee and chairman of the SCV Chamber of Commerce.
“I believe if you live in this community, you have to give back to this community,” Ingram said. “It’s what makes the SCV so special, giving back to our community.”
Sebastian Velona Foundation
For Ingram, her support of the Sebastian Velona Foundation is personal. “I have known Sebastian’s mother for 12 years,” she said.
As a child, Sebastian was misdiagnosed many times before it was discovered he suffers from a rare genetic disease, Batten disease, or Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis.
“There are various forms of Batten,” said Ingram. “We have been working with a team of scientists and medical professionals worldwide.” Ingram said that most children, who suffer from Batten disease do not live past age 21.
Sebastian, now 16, is almost completely blind and has difficulty walking. Ingram said a pharmaceutical company is now working on a drug that might reverse some of the effects of the disease.
For more information visit www.curebattencln8.org.