Folsom Funeral Service

Borgman, George A.

George Allan Borgman, a resident of Westwood since 1985, died Monday, October 26th, 2009 at the Beth-Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Needham after a brief illness.  He was 81.  George was born January 22, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri, the only child of Herman Francis and Martha Vivien (Wecker) Borgman.  He grew up in St. Louis and attended the St. Louis Institute of Music where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree, and Indiana University in Bloomington where he received his master’s degree in musicology.  George played saxaphone and clarinet with such big bands as the Larry Tice Orchestra (1946), the Jack Everett Orchestra (1946) and the Jack Stalcup Orchestra (1950).  He entered the US Army and was a part of the Army of Occupation from 1946 to 1948, playing clarinet in an army band in Heidelberg, Germany.  From 1953 to 1957 he worked as a high school band and chorus director; two years in Colorado, and two years in Nevada.  He married Janet Claire Ferroli, a Bostonian, on February 27, 1957.  In the Spring and Summer of 1957 Mr Borgman took a television production course at the School of Radio Technique in New York City.  He subsequently worked as a lighting assistant on the Drew Pearson and Quentin Reynolds TV documentaries, and also worked as a film editor in New York.  In 1958 he was a film editor and TV cameraman at KOMU, Missouri University’s commercial (NBC affiliate) TV station in Columbia. In September 1958 George rejoined the Army in order to get into the CounterIntelligence Corps.  After attending Intelligence School at Fort Holabird in Maryland he was assigned to a CIC unit in West Berlin.  During his army career he was a special agent in the CIC, Military Intelligence, and the Defense Investigative Service, working mostly in civilian clothes.  He spent almost ten years in West Germany, about five years in Washington DC, and a year in the Republic of Vietnam. He retired in September of 1979 as a Chief Warrant Officer.  George worked briefly as an investigator for the Wackenhut Corporation in the early 1980’s, and from 1981 to 1984 he worked for the Department of Defense as a personnel security specialist in Alexandria, Virginia.  He later worked for six years as a sportswriter for a group of suburban newspapers in the Boston area.  In 1988 he began writing stories for jazz periodicals, mostly about dixieland and ragtime, although he has also written about swing, big band, bebop, and modern jazz.  George was working on a band biography of the Casa Loma Orchestra when he died.  Mr. Borgman’s reviews of jazz recordings and books have appeared in such periodicals as the IAJRC Journal, Cadence, Joslin’s Jazz Journal, TJ Today, and since 1992, The Mississippi Rag, for which he wrote a monthly column entitled “Yankee Jazz Beat”.  He was a contributing editor that that paper until it went defunct earlier this year. He wrote numerous reviews, as well as in-depth articles on jazz and on musicians.  He was voted in the top 12 of jazz critics in a Jazz Beat poll.  George was a member of the Jazz Journalists Association, and has written liner notes for Stomp Off Records and various jazz recording artists.  He was also a member of American Legion Post 320 in Westwood.  In addition to his wife he is survived by  his two sons, Paul Allan, and his wife Cynthia C. Borgman, of Woodstock, Connecticut, and Eric Bruno Borgman, of Westwood; three grandchildren, Rebecca, Robert, and William Schnarr; and 5 great grandchildren.  He was the father of the late Carole Elaine Borgman, and the late Andrea Vivien Hancock.  Visiting hours will be held Thursday, October 29th from 4-8 PM at the Folsom Funeral Home, 649 High St., Westwood.  Relatives and friends are invited to gather at the funeral home Friday at 9 AM and will proceed to St. Margaret Mary Church, 845 High St., Westwood for his Mass of Christian Burial at 10 o clock.  Burial will follow in Blue Hill Cemetery in Braintree.

Guestbook Entries

  1. October 29th, 2009 | 12:54 am

    George was deeply devoted to the original American jazz that he loved and studied assiduously. Including others, he generously covered my Blue Horizon Jazz Band in person at the Sherborn Inn and prior venues, including the Sticky Wicket in Hopkinton (where we first met) for many years: in liner notes of our recordings, and in an extended biography of my own musical history in the February,2003 issue of The Mississippi Rag, the premier publication preserving our heritage. I shall never forget and will always be grateful to George and his devoted wife Janet and son, Eric for their appreciation and encouragement through the best and worst of times. My wife, Ellen,and my son, Andy, are with me in sendng our heartfelt condolences to them and to all of George’s extended family. May God bless and rest in peace the soul of this wonderful and dear personal friend — as his spirit lives on among us!

    Stan McDonald. 25 Farm Road. Sherborn, Mass.

  2. October 29th, 2009 | 5:51 pm

    My first meeting with George was when he interviewed me for the Mississippi Rag in 1998. He didn’t do anything by half, and thoroughly researched his subject. Proof of this was an 18 page booklet he wrote for one of my CDs. It was always a treat to see George and wife Janet on my annual visit to the Sherborn Inn, both loving the music (and the food). Earlier this year he told me he wasn’t in good health but he was determined he and Janet would be at the Sherborn in August to see my performance with Stan McDonald – that was the last time I saw him.
    George loved the dry English sense of humour and he laughed at many of the stories I told him. It was a privilege to know this wonderful man.
    Neville Dickie, Carshalton Beeches, Surrey, England.

  3. William Schnarr
    October 29th, 2009 | 10:22 pm

    “Gramps” as I so loving called him was a major impact on my life for the past 27 years. His loving and kind heart will be missed by me countless other who knew him. There is a special place for him heaven and in my heart.I will never forget him and will never let his wonderful and warming words.
    To you Gramps:
    Heaven and hell are two differant place for a reason….so try not to rise to much hell.Kiss mom for me.

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