Julia Agnes Borak of Roscommon

Julia Agnes Borak died Aug. 17, 2017, at her home in Roscommon. The only child of Edward J. and Paula (Doll) Trombley, she was born in Saginaw, Mich., on Jan. 21, 1929. She graduated from St. Andrews High School in Saginaw.

Although she grew up in Saginaw, she spent most of her summers as a young girl on the Tahquamenon River in the U.P. where her father, a boat builder, piloted the tour boats daily from Hunters Mill to the falls. She and her mother worked the concessions on the boat for years, where she befriended many of the other young people who had summer jobs on the boats.

One of girls who worked on the tour boat was from Newberry and had a brother, Robert Alfred Borak. Robert and Julia were married on Oct. 12, 1953. By this time Robert had served in the Army and earned a degree in forestry from Michigan Technological University. They settled in Gwinn where Robert was a forester with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

That job would take the couple to Alpena, Gladwin, Cadillac and, finally, Roscommon in 1972, with six children in tow.

As a not-so-stay-at-home mother, Julia never stopped cultivating her many artistic and musical talents, trying her best –often successfully – to pass them on to her children and grandchildren. Her passions in life were helping people, good causes, making pottery, and planting seeds and bulbs to create gardens wherever she could. She was constantly designing and creating, from quilts to houses. 

An early and long-time member of the Roscommon Chamber Music Society and Arts Council, she helped establish the long running Art-in-the-Park event, precursor to today’s Arts Festival. Among other organizations, she was a volunteer with the Roscommon Area Historical Society, was secretary and museum docent for the AuSable River Center and past board member and active volunteer for the Gahagan Nature Preserve. She was Zonta’s Woman of the Year in 2006. She was a member of St. Michael Catholic Church.

She is survived by her husband, Robert Borak, and their six children: Paula (Roger) York of Andover, New York, and the 8 grandchildren and 2 great-children with which they blessed her; Laura (Dave Basham) Borak of Cathlamet, Wash.; Al Borak, sometimes of Roscommon; Linda (James) Mesler of Roscommon; Joseph (Kristen) Borak of Grand Rapids, who gave her twin grandchildren; and Irene Borak of Roscommon. She is also survived by her sisters- and brothers-in-law, Helen (William) Fillman of Engadine, Katherine Bourdo of Kansas City, Kans., and RoseAnn and Stephen Gardella of Florida, as well as many nieces and nephews.

Julia insisted on leaving as small of an impact on this planet as possible and, according to her wishes, she was given a “green” burial by her family at Peninsula Township Cemetery, on Old Mission Peninsula, Traverse City, on Saturday, Aug. 19. Her family is grateful to Munson Home Care & Hospice for making it possible for her die a peaceful death at home. The cause was colon cancer, diagnosed six months earlier. Burial arrangements were made through Walsh Funeral Home, Roscommon.

Causes that she believed in and worked for, and that she would love others to support, include the AuSable River Center and the Gahagan Nature Preserve of Roscommon, as well as Doctors Without Borders and Esperanca, a mission for the poor.

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