Pauline Isabel Parsons Borders / Obituary / October 30, 1920 – August 31, 2018

Pauline Isabel Parsons Borders

October 30, 1920 – August 31, 2018


 Pauline Isabelle (Parsons) Borders, 97, died Friday, August 31, 2018, at her home in the Water’s Edge Retirement Community following a long illness.  Wise, funny, relentlessly matter-of-fact, and steadfast in her Baptist faith, she had been surrounded by her large and close-knit family in her final weeks.

Pauline was born at home October 30, 1920, in Elliott County, Ky., the oldest child of Ellis and Johnny Alice Parsons, where she remembered her father selling produce out of his truck during the Great Depression. In 1937, having graduated high school at age 16, Pauline earned a Baptist scholarship and her parents sold the family’s one cow in order to send her to Rio Grande College, where she earned her teaching certificate and later her bachelor’s degree in elementary education.  Shortly before the start of World War II, her best friend introduced her to Eldon Borders, a remarkably handsome young man with wavy black hair and piercing blue eyes.  They married in 1942 and soon began their family.  She taught children (including her own sons Mike and Pat) their lessons and shaped their character for the next five decades.

Following Eldon’s U.S. Navy service in the war, the young family lived in and around Clarktown, Ohio, until 1969, when Eldon and Pauline and their youngest child, Becky, moved to Plant City, Fla., where they both taught in the Hillsborough County School system.  Pauline did not retire from teaching at her beloved Cork Elementary School until she reached mandatory retirement age in 1990, and then she served as a Kappa Alpha Order house mother at Florida Southern College for several more years. She was a member of the First Baptist Church of Plant City.

Pauline’s grandson, the major league baseball player Pat Borders, once told the audience at an award ceremony that “She was the most competitive person I ever met.”  She would complain bitterly about her cards if she lost at bridge, and she eagerly taught her grandchildren how to play all sorts of card and board games. Physically active throughout her life, she took full advantage of the swimming pool at Water’s Edge and well into her 90s often led the water aerobics class.

A lifelong Republican, she loved to discuss politics. She was also a serious baseball fan, and usually had the Tampa Bay Rays game on her television if they were playing. In addition, she was a voracious reader of newspapers and novels, and there was usually a bag full of books on their way to or from the public library on her table.  During vacations from school and throughout her retirement, she travelled much of the world, visiting Europe several times, and most, if not all, of the United States including Alaska at age 86.

Known by a variety of nicknames to her grandchildren and their friends, “Mama”, “Mamaw”, “Mammy” and even “Old Mamaw”, she was fiercely protective, generous with forgiveness and unwavering with encouragement. “Keep your families close,” she told her children just before she died.  “That’s the most important thing.”

Pauline was preceded in death by Eldon in 1979, by her sister Marjorie Frazier, and her brothers Gerald and Kendall.  She is survived by her sons Michael Eldon (Donna) of Lake Wales, Patrick Loren (Carol) of Lake Wales, daughter Rebecca Borders (Keith Rupp) of Bartow, sister Debbie Castle Daniel, and by devoted granddaughters Jennifer Barrow (Jeff), Ashley Smith (Eric), Amanda McGehee (Ryan) and Betsy Rupp. Adoring grandsons Pat Borders (Kathy), Michael Borders (Kelley), Todd Borders (Elizabeth), Bradley Borders, Barton Borders and William Rupp. Great-granddaughters Jenilee Coconato (Brian), Kala Winters (Robb), Lindsay Osovski (Marcus) Jamie Barrow, LauraBeth Borders, Leah Borders, Ellie Borders, Lily Borders, Avery Smith, Livia Borders, Lauren Kate McGehee, Landry-Kate Borders and Reagan McGehee. Great-grandsons Levi Borders, Luke Borders, Beau Borders, Nick Borders, Chance Shurling-Hill, Cade Borders, Lance Borders, Josh Borders and Patrick Smith. Great-great-grandchildren Autry and Anna-Kate Winters and Kova Cocanato, Kash and Kooper Coconato. A ninth great-great-grandchild is expected this month. Nieces Diana Martin, Nancy Frazier Purtee and Lucinda Southall and nephews Forrest Frazier and Levi Castle.

Per her wishes, a memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. on October 27, 2018 at Water’s Edge.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.