Marjorie Louise (Rich) Bordner, age 101, of Canton, Illinois, died at 12:02 a.m. on May 1 at Clayberg Nursing Center, Cuba, IL.
She was born December 1, 1914 at rural Macomb-Bardolph, Illinois to Harry R. and Merle (Turner) Rich. She married Lawrence Inman Bordner at Old Kentucky Home on April 21, 1946 on Easter morning after the Sunrise Service while she was on spring break as Professor at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. After the beautiful garden wedding, they went inside the Mansion where Marjorie was invited to play the harpsichord, where Stephen Collins Foster composed several of his well-known hymns including “Old Folks at Home” or something known as “Way Down Upon the Swanee River.” Marjorie enjoyed this so very much and felt it to be a true honor on such a special day in her life.
Surviving are: one son Larry (and Susan Renner) Bordner of Peoria, one daughter Larrilyn Bordner Bertocchio of Arlington, VA, two granddaughters, Heidi (and Bradley) Schone of Dallas, TX, and Katrina (and Bryan) Keene of Signal Mountain, TN, and five great-grandchildren, Ava, Hahna, and Leia Schone; Kolsten and Kaleena Keene.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Lawrence I. Bordner, her sister, Bernice Onilee (Rich) Jackson, and her parents.
She received her Bachelor of Education degree from Western Illinois University in 1936 and went on to the University of Missouri, Columbia, and the University of Illinois, Champaign for her Masters and Doctorate degrees.
She began her teaching career in Fulton County Schools in 1936, first at Little Brick School in Cass Township, then Cuba Elementary School, and next at Smithfield High School. She also taught in Douglas County and Christian County High Schools before joining the faculty at Western Illinois University in 1943, where she taught chemistry, physics, and directed the campus band. She continued various activities at Western Illinois University throughout her life, including being appointed by Illinois Governor Jim Edgar to the first state Board of Trustees, served many years on the Alumni Council, the Foundation Board, the Museum Board, and the Library Board and Archives. She also taught evening classes at Spoon River College in Canton, IL.
She has received numerous awards, including the Jefferson Award in 1981 for community service throughout downstate Illinois, the Canton Area Chamber of Commerce Service Award in 1988, and in professional and educational areas, the Achievement Award and the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1972 and 1980 from Western Illinois University. She was chosen to serve as Parade Marshal for Canton Friendship Festival in both 1976 and again in 1987. She served as Fulton County Chairman of the Bicentennial of the Nation in 1976 and again as Fulton County Chairman of the Bicentennial of the Nation’s Constitution in 1987. In 2005, she was honored by the Canton YWCA as Woman of the Year.
She was a member of National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR,) serving as Regent for the Farmington Chapter and later serving as Organizing Regent and Charter Member of Amaquonsippi Chapter in Canton. She also served as District Director for Illinois Organization NSDAR and was elected Illinois State Organizing Secretary to serve on the Illinois State Board. She was Charter Member of Illinois Prairie Colony of National Society of New England Women, where she also served as President. She was a member of Illinois Chapter of National Society of Daughters of Founders and Patriots. In addition, Marjorie was a Charter Member of Pimiteoui Chapter Colonial Dames XVII Century, and a member of George Rogers Clark Chapter Daughters of the American Colonists. She enjoyed memberships in other historical organizations, too numerous to name.
During World War II, Marjorie was a licensed airline pilot with the Illinois Civil Air Patrol. In addition to this wartime effort, she was one of the first civilians hired in the Administrator’s office of Camp Ellis, a United States Army Training and prisoner-of-war camp during WWII near Bernadotte, IL. Marjorie was responsible for the hiring of hundreds of individuals to build and maintain the camp throughout the war and continued her effort with the dismantling of this camp when wartime ended.
Marjorie designed the Fulton County logo decades ago, as they didn’t have an official logo at that time. This design is still used by the County. In addition, she designed the Fulton County commemorative plate which is showcased in many locations throughout Fulton County.
In 1968, she was one of the founders and organizers of the Spoon River Valley Scenic Drive where she served as President and gave considerable time and effort toward Fulton County tourism. Decades later, this annual fall event continues to attract thousands of locals and tourists. Marjorie’s compassion and love for local history and her devotion to her community will be missed, but never forgotten. She was not just beloved to her family, but to generations of local historians who she impacted over so many decades.
In addition, Marjorie was a well-known author. Among her books were: A Spoon River Portrait; Fulton County Heritage; and From Cornfields to Marching Feet, Camp Ellis, Illinois, which won the Illinois State Award for Excellence in 1994. Marjorie was not just beloved to her family, but to generations of individuals and local historians who she impacted over so many decades.
Marjorie was a long-standing member of the Wesley United Methodist Church in Canton.
Funeral Services will be held at 11 a.m., Wednesday, May 4, 2016 at Sedgwick Funeral Homes & Crematory in Canton, where visitation will be one hour prior to service. Rev. K. Bruce Rushing will officiate. Burial will be in White Chapel Memory Gardens in Canton.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials made to the Donor’s Choice of charities or to The Marjorie Bordner Memorial Fund, c/o Sedgwick Funeral Home, 209 E. Chestnut St., Canton, IL 61520. These funds will be donated to community projects and local organizations of the family’s choice.
Special heartfelt thank you to everyone at Clayberg Nursing Center for the quality, loving care they provided Marjorie. Marjorie’s family invites friends to share memories and condolences at: www.sedgwickfuneralhomes.com.