Lois Patricia BorgardtApril 9, 1924 ~ June 22, 2017 (age 93)
Lois Patricia Borgardt passed away in peace in her home on Thursday, June 22, 2017. Lois was the loving wife of Carl Borgardt, who passed away in 1990. She was the proud and loving mother to her children Jim Borgardt, Marcia Kegel, Bonni Aeder, Laurie Diggs, Marianne Borgardt and Carrie Sichley. She will be greatly missed by her 16 grandchildren, Jason, Xander, Allegra, Matteo, Lauren, Grace, Abby, Tim, Jennifer, John, Matthew, Carl, Lily, Sofia, Meg and Emily; and her 7 great grand children Quinn, Dylan, Damon, Devon, Cadence, Jaxon and Kerrigan Lois. She is also survived by her loving and admiring sister, Joyce Bahnsen. Her passing leaves a great void in all of our hearts.
Her legacy serves as an inspiring example to us of a life of adventure and accomplishment. At a mere 20 years of age, Lois joined the war effort by becoming a Navy WAVE (WAVES, for Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, was the World War II women's branch of the United States Naval Reserve.) She used her formidable typing and shorthand skills in her service as a radio operator and as the secretary to the commander of a stateside prisoner of war camp. While stationed on Long Island, NY, she used her free time to explore the big city and to take flying lessons at a local airport, even soloing in a small aircraft. She told many tales of her 2-year stint in the Navy with great fondness and excitement.
Lois was a life-long Catholic and, along with her husband, Carl, was an active participant in the Pro-Life Movement. She and Carl spent many Saturdays camped out in front of women's clinics in an effort to counsel and dissuade pregnant women from having abortions. Lois and Carl were both passionate about this cause and found great satisfaction in the idea they were saving young lives. Lois continued this work when she moved to Southern California and sought out a local group to assist in similar efforts.
From her early years, Lois was an avid artist, drawing comics and elegant fashions on the many sheets of blank newsprint that her father, a pressman for the Chicago Tribune, brought home to feed her growing interest. She kept sketchbooks her whole life, and was almost entirely self-taught. Once her 6 children were mostly grown, Lois began to pursue private group art lessons with the renowned Ray Brose and later, Thomas Leighton. Both artists recognized in Lois a great talent, especially in portraiture. She worked in charcoal, pastels and finally oils for her many paintings. She sold her work and was commissioned for paintings and murals over the course of about 20 years. In her 70s and early 80s, Lois' focus was on reproducing great works of art by some of her favorite painters: Remington, Monet, and John Singer Sargent. She was always a student of the masters. She had several paintings in process when, at the age of 84, suffered a stroke. While she rallied and recovered much of her strength and wonderful wit, the stroke permanently paralyzed her right arm--her painting arm. She was not one to be counted out, however. She learned to draw with her left hand.
After a creative and independent life, living alone in her newly-purchased home near the shore in Huntington Beach, California, Lois began a new and fulfilling chapter. She formed deep and loving bonds with her two long-term caretakers, Alma Guillen and Jocelyn de Leon, and graciously accepted the help and support of her loving family. Jim built ramps, installed supports and even built an ingenious circular track on her back patio, with a continuous handrail that she used during her rehabilitation. It doubled as a buffet table whenever Lois hosted the large family celebrations and holidays.
She enjoyed regular visits and outings with Alma, Lois' children, and their families to take in the many delightful attractions in Huntington Beach: the Pier, shopping, the Sherman Gardens, the beach and cruising up and down the beautiful Southern California coast, not to mention the occasional special lunches at Duke's. Her house became the gathering spot for all the holidays and family events, especially for her birthdays and when one of our out-of state siblings was in town.
Lois Borgardt was an amazing woman who will live on in the hearts of her family. We love you, Mom.