September 16, 1921 - October 18, 2012
Graveside services for Shirley Frances (Baker) Borden, 91, of Bryan will be in the National Cemetery at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. She died shortly before noon Thursday at St. Joseph Manor in Bryan. Services are under the direction of Memorial Funeral Chapel in Bryan.
A memorial service will be held locally at a future date.
In this cherished photo by Stephanie Sale, Shirley attends the Brazos Valley Symphony Derby Days in a hat she made with 75 hand-rolled silk roses. Shirley Borden, with the love of her life, her husband Jack.
Shirley was born Sept. 16, 1921, in Tarrytown, N.Y., to George Raymond and Eleanor S. Gerken Baker. She grew up in North Tarrytown, N.Y. She graduated from North Tarrytown High School, where she was editor of the Headless Horseman yearbook.
She graduated from the New York School of Applied Design for Women – now a part of the Parsons The New School of Design - in two years instead of the usual three. Offered a job in the art department of Lord & Taylor, she chose instead to marry the love of her life.
She met Jack Borden, a West Point cadet, on a blind date arranged by her cousin, who lived in Highland Falls, just outside the main gate of the United States Military Academy. They were married on July 2, 1941, in his native Beaumont. They reported to their first duty station together, Fort Huachuca in Arizona.
With the advent of World War II, Shirley returned to stay with her parents while Jack served in Newfoundland and, later, the European Theatre. After the war, they were stationed in Frankfurt, Germany. Upon returning to the United States, the Bordens were stationed at North Dakota State University in Fargo. When Jack was sent to Korea during that conflict, they bought their first house in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.
Jack retired from the Army as a lieutenant colonel in 1961 and returned to his native Texas to obtain his teaching certificate and work on his master's degree at Texas A&M University.
Shirley spent her first day in Bryan in tears, urging her husband to hurry and get his degree so they could move anywhere else. Three years later, when Jack earned his master's, he asked Shirley where she wanted to go. She burst into tears again, saying she never wanted to leave her new home.
She became active in the community, working with Circle III at First Presbyterian Church on numerous projects. She and other women of the church hand-sewed more than 100 ornaments for a special Chrismon tree for the church, and she involved the women from several local churches in assembling holiday packages for seafarers who call at the Port of Houston at Christmas - a project that continues to this day in her honor.
She served with the Twin City Mission Auxiliary, organizing annual Christmas parties for area children. She was asked to fill in as Santa Claus at one party and she enjoyed it so much that she soon sewed her own luxurious Santa costume that she donned for many years to entertain children and elderly shut-ins.
Shirley taught a sewing class for underprivileged women that ended with a fashion show in which the women modeled their own creations. Until the last few months of her life, she worked with other women at her church to sew clothes for newborns in the community.
She volunteered for many years at Red Cross blood drives, and donated almost eight gallons of blood.
After her husband's death, Shirley filled out his term as a member of the Bryan Water Drainage Board.
Shirley loved theater and music and was delighted to be able to support the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra, Brazos Valley TROUPE, The Theater Company and MSC OPAS.
Shirley and Jack loved to travel, and covered much of the United States, first in a series of travel trailers and then a motorhome. After Jack died in 1989, she continued her travels, visiting Sweden, Finland, Russia, Czechoslovakia and Poland, as well as the British Isles. A highlight of her life was a cruise through the Panama Canal, with stops in Acapulco, Costa Rica, Colombia, St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Puerto Rico.
Shirley was proud that she had visited every state but Hawaii and even in her later years carried a dream of visiting the 50th state.
Jack and Shirley had three sons: Jack Borden Jr., Bruce Raymond Borden and Robert Christian Borden.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her beloved Aunt Theresa Gerken, her husband and her sons Jack and Bruce.
She is survived by her son, Robert C. Borden of Bryan; her sister, Jean Baker Wormuth of Cobleskill. N.Y.; her daughter-in-law, Sue Borden of Phoenix, Ariz.; two grandsons, Daniel L. Borden and Bruce R. Borden and his wife, Linda, and their three children, all of Arizona; and dear friends Ingrid and Larry Lovelace of Spring.
Shirley always said she wanted her flowers while she was alive to enjoy them, so in lieu of flowers, people may make a contribution to the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra, Brazos Valley TROUPE, The Theatre Company, First Presbyterian Church of Bryan or a .
This obituary was originally published in The Bryan-College Station Eagle.