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In Memory

Tom Borden, former state forester, has passed away

July 5, 2009

Tom Borden was born in Houston, Texas, on May 2, 1927, to Helen Berniece Taylor and Roger Hugh Borden. In his adult life, he rarely claimed to be a Texan.

Career in forest management

Moving north to Chicago in 1937, after ten years in Dallas, Tom completed his public school education, ending during his senior year at Nicholas Senn High School. He joined the United States Marine Corps in December, 1944, serving as part of the Marine detachment aboard the heavy cruiser, USS Fall River, until April 23, 1947. He took part in the two atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll in 1946.

After remedial, accelerated high school courses in English and mathematics, Purdue University accepted his application to enroll in the school of forestry, majoring in forest management. He graduated in February, 1952.

On June 30, 1951, to his great good fortune, Rogene Marjorie Busche agreed to be his bride for the next 58 years. She survives, as well as sons Martin Scott (Susan), Thomas Andrew, daughter Beth Ann (Clarke Wright,) grandson Matthew (Kristin,) granddaughters Elaine and Audrey, and great-granddaughter Willow.

Tom's job experience began as district forester for the state division of forestry, Charleston, Ill., from 1952-54, followed by a year with Trees for Tomorrow, Inc., Eagle River, Wis. He then returned to Purdue as a graduate teaching assistant, culminating in 1957 with a master's degree in conservation education.

His next assignment was assistant state forester, South Dakota division of forestry, stationed at Rapid City until 1959. The job responsibility was to lead the state's forest fire protection program.

Named Colorado State Forester in 1959

Tom was named Colorado State Forester, Colorado State Forest Service, a division of Colorado State University, in 1959, where he served for 25 years. As an aside, Tom always dreamed of being the state forester of Colorado and was the youngest in the nation when he was hired. As an added responsibility, he served as executive assistant to the CSU president, 1969-1970.

After retirement, Tom purchased 70 acres of forest land in Rist Canyon and actively, personally managed it for over 20 years. It has been donated to CSU.

Tom served on the board of the American Forestry Association, the national council of the Society of American Foresters, two years as president, and one year as president of the National Association of State Foresters.

At his request no rites will be conducted.

Tom Borden Tree Fund at CSU

Memorial gifting may be made to the Tom Borden Tree Fund, a CSU project to replace or add trees to the campuses of the university. Send contributions to the Colorado State University Foundation, P.O. 1870, Fort Collins, CO 80522; be sure to specify the Tom Borden Tree Fund.

Originally published in the Coloradoan, July 1, 2009.