The Midwest Borlins

Borlin Family

The Last Borlin...Almost, David Dee Borlin


David Dee BORLIN, son of Marion and Martha PEGRAM BORLIN, was born on August 19th, 1939 in Our Savior's Hospital in Jacksonville, Illinois. He had one sister, Mary Martha, who was nearly 14 when David was born. In 1952 Mary Martha married Cecil Lloyd STEPHENSON and they lived much of their married life in homes at Springfield and Joliet, Illinois. Marion BORLIN died in July of 1967, leaving Dave as the only remaining descendant of Swiss immigrant Henry BORLIN to carry his surname. From that low point, the BORLIN family would eventually increase to 17 members by 2013.

David Dee Borlin

david borlin

All curls in 1941

sis & Bro

Older sister Mary and baby brother David 1940

David Borlin

All those curls - 1941

Dave grew up in Carrollton, Illinois – a small farming community located about 60 miles north of St. Louis, Missouri. During the first six years of his life, the United States was embroiled in World War II. His earliest memories relate to how his parents struggled with rationing during this period – saving ration coupons from all four members of the family to purchase a beef roast on rare occasions when they were available in the grocery store, as well as gasoline and automobile tires so his father could commute to carpenter jobs about 20 to 30 miles away. (Note that in this period gasoline, when available, would cost about 35 cents/gallon and tires had a normal tread life of only several thousand miles.) Other than playing with rather simple toys, entertainment normally consisted of listening to the radio (music during the day, drama shows in the evening – Sky King, Lassie, The Shadow, etc., and week-end or late evening Cardinal baseball games), an infrequent Saturday matinee movie at the local theatre, parking the family car on the public square Saturday evening and people-watching and eating popcorn from the movie theater, or visiting with various aunts and uncles in their homes.


Marion and Martha seen here with David in the backyard


David at age 6?

Dave at play

David Borlin riding a trike

The house where Dave spent his childhood was located on US Highway 67 running through Carrollton, 2 blocks south of the public square and next door to the Mehl Funeral Home. The 2-story house was originally owned by Donald and Andrewetta "Etta" SIMPSON. Donald SIMPSON died in 1903 and his widow died on 21 November 1921. The house was thus available when Henry and Mary BORLIN sold their farm and looked for a home in Carrollton. Marion then acquired the property after his parents' death. The property contained a large back yard, half of which was used as a garden to provide fruits and vegetables for the family. White and sweet potatoes would be dug by hand and stored in one of the unheated bedrooms in the second story during the winter. Corn, peas, green beans, and tomatoes would be canned in glass jars and stored in the pantry until needed. Black raspberries, blackberries, peaches, grapes, and cherries would be processed into jellies and preserved in glass jars sealed with melted paraffin (since chewing gum was not available during the War, paraffin could be used as a poor replacement, but it eventually disintegrated and had to be spit out). The diet would occasionally be augmented with fish caught in local streams, squirrels and rabbits shot by Marion, or chickens purchased from local farmers and slaughtered/dressed in the back yard. Every Sunday they would drive just outside the city limits and purchase a dozen fresh eggs from a local farmer.

NOTE: Above photos are of David BORLIN's childhood home in Carrollton, Illinois. - 615 South 5th Street (photos 2020). The structure to the forefront of the second photo is new. The old coal shed and back porch were removed and new rooms were added. You can also see the TV antenna tower still attached by David back in 1965. David's room was on the top floor, front of the house.

The BORLIN house was heated during the winter by two stoves that burned coal – one in the living/dining room and one in the kitchen. Every fall a local merchant would deliver a truck load of chunk coal, which was shoveled by hand into the back half of the unattached shed (hence the name coal shed). During the winter months it was a daily chore to break up the large coal chunks into smaller pieces with a sledge hammer, fill two buckets with the coal, and carry those buckets into the house. At the same time, the ashes would be removed from the stoves and carried out and dumped into pot holes in the alley beside the house. Water would be heated in pans on the cook stove and carried to the kitchen sink for a “sponge bath” or into the bathroom for a “tub bath”. It was a great improvement when a cook stove with a water jacket was installed – allowing hot water to be piped directly into the sinks and tub! Much later the stoves were replaced with gas-burning appliances, fed from a propane gas tank installed where the grape arbor was originally located.


Since the Carrollton schools did not provide kindergarten classes, Dave began his formal education with first grade, taught by his aunt Nellie PEGRAM. Prior to first grade, his mother had attempted to teach him the alphabet, but eventually declared him hopeless and gave up. Dave loved everything about school – walking a block and a half to and from grade school with his friends, learning to read and write and do simple math, and playing endless games of cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians at recess.

During a routine nurse’s visit in first grade it was discovered that Dave was VERY nearsighted. For the rest of his life Dave would always require glasses, contact lenses, or embedded lenses to correct his vision. School subjects came easily to Dave and in the days before massive homework assignments, staying on the honor roll was fairly easy. One could even say that until about the eighth grade, Dave sort of drifted along without expending any significant effort on schoolwork.

In the late 1940s the family adopted a stray dog – a small black and white terrier mix named “Duke”. Duke would be the primary family pet until he was killed in a dog fight in 1958. Numerous goldfish, chickens, and baby turtles came and went over the years. One summer in the mid-1950s David won a baby duck at the Greene County Fair. “Duck” lived happily on grass in the back yard for several years and was eventually retired to a farm outside Carrollton.

In 1950, Dave’s sister purchased the family’s first TV set – black and white pictures, a 10 inch screen, and a big antenna mounted on the roof. It could only pick up one St. Louis channel, which only broadcast shows between 2 PM and 10 PM. It was, however, one of the first TV sets in Carrollton and everyone was amazed at the latest technology. The set was big, heavy, and generated a lot of heat from the 12-15 vacuum tubes it contained. When one of the vacuum tubes burned out, the closest repair shop was 25 miles away in Alton. A technician would be dispatched to repair the set, but sometimes it would have to go into the shop for several days. Literally every evening would see the family glued to the small screen watching shows like Milton Berle’s Texaco Star Theatre, Red Skelton’s Comedy Hour, and The Ed Sullivan Show.


Marion Borlin fishing on the Illinios River - 1920ish


The Borlin's rescued dog Duke


Marion Borlin and "Duck"


It was in eighth grade that Dave decided to run for an elected position on an information-sharing group within the grade school. He enjoyed the team meetings and the opportunity to report information back to his class. By 1953 all of the public and parochial schools in southern Greene County consolidated into the Carrollton Community Unit High School, so when Dave entered as a freshman that year, the opportunity for extra activities was expanded. Math and science classes were Dave’s favorites, but he never found a class or a teacher he did not like. He participated in competitions for Science (blue ribbons in two District Science Fairs), Speech (second place in Regional Contest), and Latin (second place in Illinois state).

During his early teen years, Dave earned spending money by mowing the grass at home and for his aunts. Initially he used a manual push mower, but finally saved enough to purchase a power mower. When Dave turned 16 in August of 1955, he obtained a work permit from the county Court House and began part-time employment at the local Kroger store, earning $1.25/hour. Initially he worked after school and Saturdays as a bagger and checker (riding his bike home from high school, changing into a white shirt and tie, biking to Krogers where he worked until closing at 5:30 PM, and then biking home for supper). He continued to work at Krogers during summer breaks and weekends until 1961, spending most of this time as an apprentice meat cutter.

David Borlin

Freshman High School Photo - Age 15 - 1954

A new baby

Mary (Borlin) Stevenson and new-born (July 5, 1954) Henry Stephenson and young brother David

David Borlin - Senior Year

david borlin

Senior High School Photo

It was during high school that David’s father, Marion, began what would be a 10+ year battle with smoking-induced cancer. In the summer of 1956, Dave represented CCUHS at the week-long American Legion Boy’s State convention in Springfield. In the fall of 1956, Dave represented the student body when the new high school campus was opened, sharing the speaker’s podium with Congressman Sid SIMPSON. As president of the National Honor Society, he worked with his peers to develop a handbook for students at the new campus. During his senior year, Dave was also president of the Senior Class, president of the school’s Student Council, and president of the Science Club. At the Homecoming event, Dave was responsible for crowning the Homecoming Queen. At graduation, Dave gave the valedictorian’s speech. Dave was named an Illinois state runner-up in the 1957 Merit Scholarship competition and was later awarded a full tuition scholarship ($2000) when he applied for admission to llinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois.

>> See some of the many Newspaper Clippings of David BORLIN during his High School Years.

Carrollton Coronation - Carrollton homecoming queen and her attendants photographed as student council president David Borlin crowned Jeanie Dotson Friday night (10/26/1956)

Carrollton Homecoming Coronation in 1956


Carrollton Coronation - Carrollton homecoming queen and her attendants photographed as student council president David BORLIN crowned Jeanie DOTSON Friday night (10/26/1956). Left to right, seated are Patricia YOUNG, Kay KOSTER, Karen JONES and Janet KOSTER. Standing are retiring queen Bonnie TURPIN, David BORLIN and Jeanie DOTSON.


During David's under-graduate work at Illinois College (IC) from 1957-1961, he was a member of the dean's list for academic excellence every semester. In his junior year, he created and presented science demonstrations and lectured on the emerging field of rocketry to fifteen high schools in eight counties, using models provided by the Department of the Army. During his senior year, he was voted President of his class and was one of 8 students elected into the collegiate honor society of Phi Beta Kappa. Membership within Phi Beta Kappa is even today one of the highest scholastic achievements a college student can receive and is considered a mark of highest distinction. David graduated with honors and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Physics in June 1961. During the summer of 1961 David purchased his first automobile – a blue and white 1956 Plymouth sedan. In September of 1961, David began working toward a PhD degree in physics at Washington University in St. Louis. At Washington University he was awarded a Graduate Assistantship in the physics department which would include a full tuition grant and a salary of $1900 for the 9-month school year. As part of this assistantship, he taught laboratory sessions in support of the undergraduate physics classes and eventually assumed responsibility for the operation of all the introductory laboratories in physics. Physics classes at Washington University were significantly more advanced and difficult than anything he had experienced at Illinois College. The theoretical advanced calculus class proved to be the major challenge. That was the first and only class that Dave ever flunked in his academic career. During the next summer he took an applied advanced calculus class and received an A grade.

Fig 7-2 Carrollton Coronation - Carrollton homecoming queen and her attendants photographed as student council president David Borlin crowned Jeanie Dotson Friday night (10/26/1956). Left to right, seated are Patricia Young, Kay Koster, Karen Jones and Janet Koster. Standing are retiring queen Bonnie Turpin, David Borlin and Jeanie Dotson.

David BORLIN, President of the Sr. Class of Illinois College

Elected to Phi Beta Kappa - May 12, 1961

In early 1963, David successfully completed the Physics department’s “Qualifying Exam” (a 12 hour written examination covering ten major areas of classical and modern physics) as well as comprehensive written tests in French and German. He was one of 17 graduate students who took these examinations that year. After passing the test, he began the research requirement for his graduate degree. The Washington University cyclotron had been used some 20 years earlier in the development of the first atomic bomb, so a major upgrade of the system was needed to make it more useful in then-current research topics. Since the new sector focused cyclotron was a required tool for degree research, Dave was enlisted for a year by the university to assist in the reconstruction project. During this period he designed and built an electro-mechanical system to map the magnetic field of the remodeled cyclotron. He was awarded a 2-year, National Science Foundation Cooperative Fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. The Fellowship was one of 14 one/two year opportunities granted by the NSF. The Fellowship paid David $3300 over the two years which was also supplemented by his assistant-ship from the University of $1000 per year. All his tuition and fees were paid by a separate NSF grant of $2500 to the University. It was during Christmas break of 1963 that Dave took an internal class in how to program the newly installed IBM 360 computer in FORTRAN.

When it was determined that the physical reconstruction of the facility was behind schedule, it was suggested that an alternate particle accelerator be used for Dave’s research. For 18 months (1965-1966), David performed research on nuclear reactions at the Argonne National Laboratory’s sector focused cyclotron near Joliet, Illinois, living for part of that period at his sister’s home in Joliet. At the time, the laboratory was owned by the Atomic Energy Commission and operated under contract by the University of Chicago. During this period Dave was supported by grants from the AEC and utilized the University of Chicago computing facility to analyze research data using computer programs from the Oak Ridge, TN National Laboratory.

On April 25, 1966 David had an opportunity to present a paper before the spring meeting of the American Physical Society held at the Sheraton-Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. The meeting was attended by several thousand physicists from the United States, England and Canada. The paper he presented was described as a computer analysis of data taken at the Argonne 60-Inch Cyclotron. An abstract of the talk appeared in the April issue of the "Bulletin of the American Physical Society". The results of this research also appeared in a chapter of the book “Isobaric Spin in Nuclear Physics”, edited by John D. Fox and Donald Robson (published by Academic Press of New York), as well as two additional articles in the “Bulletin of the American Physical Society” and presentations at New York and Tallahassee APS meetings. As an interesting sidelight, two days before Dave was supposed to fly from Chicago to Washington for the APS meeting, the Chicago area received more than 36 inches of snow. With great luck, portions of the Interstate 55 highway and O’Hare Airport were opened just in time for the trip. There were still cars buried in snow on downtown Chicago streets six weeks later.

Dave’s thesis (a one-inch-thick document) was published by Argonne National Laboratory and distributed to interested scientists around the globe. The research investigated a relatively new nuclear reaction to determine its usefulness as a tool to study nuclear structure and employed leading-edge computational techniques. The thesis title was “(Helium-3, Alpha) Reactions on Intermediate Mass Nuclei”.

On June 4, 1967, after ten years of college education, David was one of 29 students who received the Ph.D. degree at Washington University. In attendance at the commencement was David's mother, aunts Nellie and Beulah PEGRAM and a cousin, Cecila REISCH. At the time of his graduation, he was a member of the American Physical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers, as well as Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi honorary societies.

The Real World

After graduation Dr. David BORLIN enjoyed a brief vacation back home in Carrollton, Illinois. But in late June he returned to Washington University in St. Louis as a Vising Assistant Professor of Physics.

Barely two weeks later, Dave's father lost his battle with cancer. During the following year David taught graduate-level courses in Modern Physics and advised other faculty members on modern computing techniques. During this year, Dave lived in an apartment south of the University in Maplewood. During the very first night in his apartment there was a major fire about a half block away. In the following weeks additional fires were reported in the area until the arsonist was finally identified and arrested. The employment contract with Washington University was for one year and although Dave was told they would be happy for him to continue, he felt it was time to break from the academic world. He accepted an introductory position with the Clayton branch of IBM Corporation at twice his teaching salary. He moved into a 2-bedroom townhouse apartment on Warson Road. In quick succession, Dave received Assembler Language training in Detroit and operating system software training in Chicago. He was then assigned to McDonnell Douglas as a systems engineer. One of Dave’s friends at IBM, Dave Harrington, moved into his apartment and they split the costs.


On Jan 23, 1969, Shari EISING, from Quincy, Illinois, and her roommates met David BORLIN and his roommate at a Friday night Collegiate Club dance in downtown St. Louis. Their first date was dinner the following Sunday. This was the beginning of a whirlwind courtship that resulted in their engagement six months later on Jun 13, 1969 and marriage on Oct 11, 1969. They were married at St. Mary's Church in Quincy and honeymooned in Nassau, Bahamas and Miami, Florida.

Read more about the Eising - Borlin Wedding in this article from 1969.

Borlin Wedding

Wedding Party

David and Shari BORLIN - Wedding Day October 11, 1969

 David and Shari Borlin - Wedding Day October 11, 1969

happy couple

David and Shari BORLIN - Wedding Day October 11, 1969

down the isle

David and Shari BORLIN walk down the isle at St. Mary's Church in Quincy, IL

New Home, Children & Events

David and Shari lived in Dave's old apartment on Warson Road for less than a year before building a house in the spring of 1970 in Florissant at 9948 Hadden Bay Drive. Their first house was a 4-bedroom ranch in the Paddock Forrest subdivision. This house was Dave’s first real opportunity to dive into do-it-yourself projects. The first major project was a covered deck across the back of the house. A laundry room in the unfinished basement soon followed.

Soon after moving to Florissant, David and Shari were involved in a serious automobile accident on the way to Quincy, which left Shari with a broken ankle and some nerve damage in her right arm.

In late 1971, David left IBM for a more technical position at the MCAUTO division of McDonnell Douglas (systems programmer).

On May 13, 1972, Jon David BORLIN was born at St. John's Hospital – just hours before Mothers' Day. Scott Michael BORLIN followed in 18 months, on Nov 24, 1973 at St. John's Hospital.

On May 12, 1974, when Dave was bringing his mother down to celebrate Jon’s second birthday, they were hit head-on by a drunk driver south of Jerseyville, Illinois. Dave was unhurt, but Martha suffered a massive stroke and a broken arm in the accident. She would spend the next 7 years in a nursing home, passing in Aug 1981.

In late 1976, Shari and Dave began to look at subdivisions in West County St. Louis. Eventually they discovered that the Greentrails Estates subdivision was about open in unincorporated west St. Louis County and decided to build a house there. When they moved into their new home at 344 Greentrails Drive South in May 1977, there were only a handful of occupied houses and the subdivision was bordered by wheat fields and a working farm. The two boys loved to play in the surrounding dirt piles in the neighborhood. The street in front of the house ended in a turnaround three doors south. As before, Dave’s first project was to build a deck across the back of the house. During the following years more subdivisions quickly devoured the remaining farm land and the sound of cows mooing at night was gone forever. Several years later this area would incorporate as the City of Chesterfield, Missouri.

Jon entered kindergarten in September of 1977. Jeffrey (Jeff) Marc BORLIN was then born on Dec 1, 1978 in St. John's Hospital. All three boys attended Green Trails Elementary School, Parkway Central Jr. High School, and Parkway Central Sr. High School. Jon graduated from Central Missouri State University; Scott and Jeff both graduated from Bradley University.

McDonnell Douglas, MCAUTO, IBM & Scotland

During his time at McDonnell Douglas, Dave moved from a technical role to one of managing programmers and eventually operators in the St. Louis computer center. In the late 1980s he was offered a position as Corporate Director of Information Resource Management. For 5 stressful years Dave’s office was about 30 feet down the hall from that of CEO John McDonnell on the top floor of the Corporate Office Building.

In late 1992 Dave moved back to the MCAUTO Campus as Director of St. Louis Operations. In 1993, McDonnell Douglas outsourced their Information Technology function to IBM, so after 21 years, David found himself back at IBM. As part of the transition, Dave formally retired from McDonnell Douglas at the age of 55. Between 1993 and 1997, Dave worked with McDonnell Douglas in Missouri and California and Boeing in Seattle. He also held strategic planning responsibilities within the IBM Corporation. At one point he was asked to consult with a customer in Holland who had issues with IBM’s help desk function.

In 1997 he assumed the role of Service Delivery Manager for a multi-billion-dollar outsourcing contract with Ameritech in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin. For 3 years he spent weekends in Chesterfield but the rest of the week within the 5-state area of the contract. During that period, Dave had an apartment in the Chicago area and clocked nearly 10,000 miles/month on a rental car.

In August of 1997 Dave was approached by IBM management from Europe and asked to take a 2-year assignment at the Bank of Scotland in Edinburgh. Since their youngest son, Jeff, was about to enter college, Shari and Dave agreed to the relocation assignment – which eventually lasted 3 years. During that period Dave was also asked to consult with companies in Ireland, England, Holland, New Zealand, and Australia. Dave and Shari lived in downtown Edinburgh for 3 years. They seized the opportunity to travel around Europe on long weekends and embraced numerous hobbies (macramé, bridge, canasta, walking/hiking, jewelry making, reading) and made many lasting friendships.

In 2000, after returning from overseas assignment, Dave went on a one-year "Leave Of Absence" from IBM (award for staying the extra year and helping engineer an outsourcing contract with the Bank of Scotland). In 2001 at the age of 62, Dave formally retired from IBM.

The Golden Years

Since their return from Scotland, Shari and Dave have gracefully moved into the role of “Nana and Grandpa” for 9 beautiful grandchildren – Reese, Shelby, Jake, Charlie, Maxx, Tobi, Lilly, Lucas, and Lucy BORLIN. Retirement has provided Dave with the time and resources to gradually remodel every room in the house in Chesterfield. For a period he was active in the Sons of the American Revolution and the Chesterfield Historical Commission. Later he picked up on Shari’s love for the game of bridge and the two joined several couples groups. Dave is also active in researching the family history (EISING, ROEHL, PEGRAM and BORLIN) and spends many happy hours working in the yard and garden.

Borlin family 1979

First full Borlin Family photo in 1979

Borlin Family 1989

Borlin Family 1989

Photo taken in front of Mary & Norbert Eisings home in Quincy Illinois in 1989

borlin famly 2020

Photo taken in the winter of 2019 right before the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Little did we know, this would be the last time the family would be together for over a year.