Nan Carolyn (Porter) Borden completed her life after living with a variety of challenging health issues including Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis for over two years, on March 9, 2021.
Nan was born on May 31, 1932, the first child born in the “new” Ottawa, KS hospital, Ransom Memorial. She lived in Ottawa until her family moved to “the farm” in Osawatomie, KS. She graduated from Osawatomie High School, class of 1949 where she met her life-long partner, Ray. They were married on April 4, 1953 in Osawatomie and started their life together in Lawrence where Ray completed his degree at the University of Kansas and Nan worked in Kansas City for the Mobile Oil company located in the Federal Reserve Building, where she issued Mobile Oil credit cards (using a typewriter!). After Ray’s graduation he joined the Army and Nan followed him to his station in Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she learned how to manage living with language and customs that were unfamiliar. With her gift of making relationships, she shared her “American” ways including the use of her refrigerator for a wedding cake.
They returned home in 1956 and made a home in Kansas City, MO in preparation for the birth of their first child. In 1959 they moved to the suburbs in Johnson County where they would continue to build their family and their life. Nan was a devoted partner to her husband and mother to her children. She participated in schools as room mother, library lady, and member of the PTA. She built many lifelong friends with neighbors as they made a community for their families.
Nan was a talented seamstress, augmenting their budget by making many of her family’s clothes and many sets of curtains for a variety of homes. She made matching Easter dresses for her daughters, several Prom dresses, and shirts for her husband.
With the imminent arrival of their fourth child, they moved to their current home in 1968. Nan continued the expansion of her community. She started a 20-year career as a volunteer in the gift shop at Research Medical Center. She attended myriad choir concerts, band concerts, softball games, basketball games, swim meets, and all the accompanying practices, rehearsals and meetings. This woman knew what to do with 30 minutes in the car and usually that was reading a book.
When her first child headed to college, Nan decided that she needed to take some classes as well. She only took classes that held an interest for her including Religious Studies, Western Civilization, English Composition, Philosophy, Women’s Studies and more. She ended up with enough credits to be a second semester Sophomore – one class at a time.
Health and taking care of herself was an everyday focus beginning with meeting the next door neighbor to do exercises with Jack LaLanne on TV. She always provided three good meals for her family and those expanded to include whoever happened to stop by the house. As she needed to address health issues over the years, she would do whatever was recommended. She would swim to address joint issues and yoga to keep her body limber. All of these likely contributed to her longevity.
She met all her challenges as opportunities for learning and growth. When life handed her a curve ball she threw it right back. When her eyesight was fading she learned to use a kindle, a computer, Zoom during the pandemic and other ways to enrich her life. She attended educational opportunities until recently through her church relationships at Community Christian Church on the Plaza and Village Presbyterian Church.
She had an affinity for cultivating relationships with all persons she came in contact with, and many of those encounters developed into lifelong friendships. In addition to children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, she had a way of “collecting” additional people along the way, who were welcomed into her home and her heart without hesitation. She was so grateful that they enriched her life and made it much more interesting, fulfilled her curiosity, and expanded her family of choice. She was witty and warm, and kept her sense of humor through all the ups and downs that life would send her way.
She is survived by her husband of almost 68 years, Raymond Eugene Borden, of the home. Her four daughters: Linda Gayle Borden Bridges, Lisa Raye Borden Burton (Jim), Leslie Erin Borden (Paula Zimmerschied), Leigh Ann Borden Knubley (Rick); Grandchildren: Carolyn Gayle Bridges Ruggles (Brent), Amy Raye Bridges, Andrea Lee Bridges Dale (Josh), William Ray Burton (Tiffany Halstead), Katherine Susan Burton, Brady Russell Knubley, and Cole Porter Knubley; Great-Grandchildren: Grayson Thomas Ruggles and Zoe Claire Ruggles.
Visitation will be from 1-2pm Saturday at the Johnson County Funeral Chapel. A Celebration of Life Service will follow at 2:00pm. If you are unable to attend, the service will be live streamed by going to the live stream button at the bottom of this page. The family requests donations to Community Christian Church, 4601 Main Street, Kansas City, MO 64112 or the charity of your choice in her name that will reflect Nan’s legacy of curiosity and learning.