A LOVE STORY
Published 9:06 am Saturday, February 17, 2007
Robert M. Borden
Jean E. Borden
After 69 years of marriage, couple dies with a broken heart: Robert M. Borden, 89 and Jean E. Borden, 87 of Washington, NC, recently died, Bob on December 20, 2006 and Jean on February 7, 2007. A graveside memorial service will be held on Saturday, February 24, 2007 at 1 p.m. at Oakdale Cemetery in Washington, NC to celebrate the lives of these two “Love Birds.”
Preceded in death is their son, Gerald Robert Borden. Their survivors are daughters, Barbara Snitkin of Houston, TX and Beverly Lipinski of Manistique, MI, and son and daughter-in-law, Glen and Sharon Borden of Chesapeake, VA; sister, Ruth Borden of Los Angeles, CA; and brother, Richard Borden of Seattle, WA; ten grandchildren and seven great grandchildren and countless friends from around the world.
Bob was born on March 18, 1917, in Tacoma, Washington, and Jean was born on May 22, 1919, in Portland, Oregon. Bob grew up loving airplanes and for some time actually lived at a local airport, learning to fly in his early teens in return for fueling planes and keeping hangars clean. Bob joined the Navy at age 17, and continued his career in aviation. Soon thereafter, he married Jean Ellen Van Pelt, a neighbor and sweetheart. The two would together defy all odds in defining what matrimony truly is. They were stationed in San Diego and Pensacola, lived through four wars, raised four kids, starting out on a budget under $30.00 a month. Not being able to afford the finer luxuries in life, Bob compensated by becoming self-taught in the art of everything. His motto was “The libraries are full of books and free, too. What do you want to know?” Through the years he displayed his talents by rebuilding another man’s junk, making it into a treasure. He rebuilt airplanes, motorcycles, vintage cars and many homes. They never wanted for anything because they had everything; each other. They did indeed understand what was really important in life.
Bob retired from the Navy after 22 years and bought a small airport in Pensacola, Florida. He taught young men and women the art of flying, stressing safety and responsibility. Bob’s favorite saying to young pilots was “You never get a second chance in the air, and stupidity is not an excuse!” He maintained and licensed all of his own aircraft in his charter service, NEVER allowing anyone to work on them but himself.
In 1954, Bob sold his flying service and took a corporate flying position with TexasGulf Sulphur Company near Houston, Texas, moving his family to Newgulf, a company-owned town. There he began a career of flying corporate executives throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. This position expanded into flying geological surveys that would separate the men from the boys in aviation exploration. Bob flew and maintained all the company’s aircraft, to include prop planes, helicopters and jets, throughout the world. In the company’s quest for iron ore, Bob flew the company’s geologists throughout the US, Canada, Alaska, the Arctic, Mexico and Australia, finding gold mines, zinc mines, lead mines, copper mines and potash mines. In 1963, Bob transferred to Washington, NC to assist with the Aurora phosphate mine.
Jean’s duties as homemaker often required her to get up at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning to prepare a hot breakfast for Bob before his early morning trips to New York or wherever. She wanted her husband to know that she loved and cared for him. That was her job, as much as his was flying. While never holding a job outside the home, don’t let it be said she never worked. That would get you in a heap of trouble. She would say, “I raised four kids and a dog and drove across country … how many times? And meals! And dishes! And laundry! And of course always that hot apple pie.”
They retired from Texasgulf in 1986, continuing their sweetheart dreams. They enjoyed traveling in their motor home, “Rover,” spending the month of August on their hideaway island in Lake of the Woods, Ontario, Canada. They also were very active with the Experimental Aircraft Association in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and attended yearly “Fly-Ins” for homebuilt and experimental aircraft. They traveled the US, Canada, Alaska, and Mexico revisiting friends and sites of years past.
Bob died at 89 years young on December 20, 2006, following surgery, in the hospital. Jean died in heart that same day, while not physically leaving her body until February 7, 2007. Her declining health and the loss of her best friend, sent her home after just 49 days of separation without her loving Bob — and here we have the ending of this beautiful love story “Until death do us part,” and now they’re both “flying with the angels.”
In lieu of flowers the family requests that Memorials be made to Alzheimer’s Association, 919 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1000 Chicago, IL 60611 or American Cancer Society, Beaufort County Chapter, PO Box 1353, Washington, NC 27889.
You may address condolences to the family by visiting www. paulfuneralhome.com.
Paul Funeral Home of Washington is serving the Borden Family.