Donald L. Borgman was born April 25, 1946, in Seattle, Wash., following a difficult labor, heroic race down Whidbey Island, Wash., and a held ferry to the mainland, where doctors could assist in his birth.
He always regretted not being born on Whidbey, which was his only home for the remainder of his life, until his passing on Nov. 6, 2020.
The only child of Carroll Borgman and Gudrun Anderson Borgman, Donald descended from the Borgman and Seigfreid families, early Dutch settlers on Whidbey’s Strawberry Point. Donald’s Mother, Gudrun, a Norwegian American from Everett, taught for many years at Crescent Harbor Elementary School. Donald graduated from Oak Harbor High School in 1964.
Donald was humble, quiet, gentle, awkward and shy. He was honest and worked hard running the farm from when he was very young. After too many years alone and facing health challenges, Donald moved into assisted living “in town” where he remained a much loved resident at Summer Hill Assisted Living. There, he found community, acceptance and better food than his former staples of Hungryman TV dinners and McDonald’s.
Extended family, traditions, holidays and shared meals meant everything to Donald. We discovered he had a passion for home improvement and cooking shows, daffodils, tulips, bright colors and bold dahlias. Those interests were balanced out by NBA basketball, tractors, and Carhartt. Donald enjoyed sitting at the beach; watching birds; and eating pizza at Alfy’s, chowder at Seabolt’s and burgers from The Net in Mount Vernon, while discussing the preferred function of a Kubota, aesthetic of a John Deere and nostalgia of a Farmall. He loved watching old Westerns with John Wayne or shows like Gunsmoke, Bonanza and The Rifleman.
In the end, Donald finally fell asleep, surrounded by his loving caregivers at Summer Hill, photos of his farm, photos of his family and his toy tractor collection. We will miss him deeply.
For someone who lived his whole life alone, we discovered how deep his friendships and relationships were. He will be missed by many, including the island’s celebrated and lone elk Bruiser, who moved onto the Borgman farm about 10 years ago. One of his last requests was that we serve an alternative to pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving this year, preferably apple. We promised we would.
Donald was preceded in death by his mother Gudrun, father Carroll and best friend Tony Westerdyk. He is survived by numerous cousins, including Susan Hickok and Kristina Daheim, who would like to thank the loving community at Summer Hill for welcoming Donald home one last time. They also thank Dr. Doug Langrock for his care and love for Donald and the Silver Lake Firehouse for giving Donald a sense of community and purpose outside of the farm.
A memorial picnic will be planned for the summer of 2021.