By Kimberly Bolt
Dad wanted this service today to be a Celebration of Life … not for him per say, but as an example to others of what life has to offer. If a little something resonates with you today – consider it a gift from Ed.
My father experienced so much in his life… one could say – figuratively – that he was a man who “wore many hats”. Therefore my Iwould like to tell Dad’s story by way of the collection of hats you see before you.
Picture a young “Eddy B” in the 1930’s in Butte, Montana – wearing a woolen winter hat & looking much like the young George Bailey in Frank Capra’s “It’s A Wonderful Life”. Dad’s first job at 9 years old working in a Drug Store as well – this one owned by his much–loved Uncle Orrin. After school, he would go there to do odd job, and later became a delivery boy. This allowed Dad to meet all sorts of people & talk to people – many of whom were immigrants who had come to the United States for a better life and were now living in the mining community of Butte. Of course, everywhere Dad went he walked … for over 2 miles … and always in 3 feet of snow … uphill! Guess he needed that wool hat!
He used to say that this was the start of his “Onward and Upward”
Yet… Downward became a battle cry as well. He did wear a similar wool cap a few years later when he was the Montana Ski Jumping Champion in 1944 & 1945! (His skiing technique never changed – he just went straight down a mountain at top speed!)
Onward and Upward was then really applied to the next hat Dad wore … as a union (Butte: very PRO LABOR!) copper miner working 3400 feet under ground … starting in the summers when he was 17 years old! Dad liked to say that when he was down there … he learned three important lessons: **** belief in the Lord God and the power of prayer **** it didn’t matter who you were or where you were from – it was the team work that got the job done. – finally – *** He often used to get a twinkle in his eyes and add: being down that deep in the mine, he had nowhere else to go but up in life!
The Taft Hat you see before you represents Dad’s years at the Taft School in Connecticut – a big change for a Montana boy! Yet this is where he developed his life long style of dress … – mostly gray flannels & cords … always a starched button down shirt with his initials on the pocket … rep ties …and that ever present array of blazers.
He impressed on all of us the need to be well dressed.
What I will always remember he had 2 white cotton handkerchiefs with him at all times – one neatly folded in the breast pocket of the blazer or suit jacket … the other in his pocket for more practical purposes.
Dad loved the notion of always being able to produce one to any damsel in distress who needed a handkerchief!
The next “hat” I do not physically have … but I have photos! This was Dad’s time at Stanford University. He wore a Felt Fedora Style hat that men of that day wore … and he looked so dashing! I can just see him wearing this hat when he was President of the ATO Fraternity House … as he talked his fellow fraternity brothers into taking a box at the San Francisco Symphony for the Season …. Not only to encourage them in the direction of classical music as he had been instructed by his Professor of Music Appreciation, but also to impress the ladies!
I do not believe that Dad, as an Asian History Major, wore a hat when he ventured into the “off tourist” sections of downtown San Francisco to pursue classes in yoga, readings and discussions from the Devi Bhagavata (Vedas) … or to sample real Asian style sushi. He was just ahead of his time – as he was with most endeavors throughout the rest of his life.
The next hat Dad wore was the most significant in his life. In July 1952, my father was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. He did his basic training at Camp Pendleton and his OCS training at Quantico. Both sights and experiences not only shaped his character & prepared him for battle in Korea, they changed his life forever. In Quantico – Dad met with Segregation for the first time and was given the opportunity to rethink some of his family’s ways. At Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, California … Dad decided then and there never again to live in a place where he had to shovel snow for 6 months out of the year!
Dad said the winters in Korea were worse than in Butte, yet that was alright, as he felt he had left the country in good hands! He maintained a life long admiration for the Korean people and culture … and was connected with the country through many joint civic organizations.
Dad was Honorably Discharged from “The Corps” after his time in Korea, but “the Corps” remained in his blood for the rest of his life.
As kids … my brother Rahr and I were brought up to sing the Marine Corps Hymn with the same reverence as the Star Spangled Banner. He taught us and our friends to march in formation with military precision to “Hop –Two –Three – Four .. I love the Marine Corps!”. He carried his Corps Values further. We were subject to unscheduled room inspections … on which allowance was determined. We were taught to respect and honor our elders. We were encouraged to study
history and understand what military efforts accomplished. When I was in the Kindergarten, my teacher was teaching us about the Presidents and asked who could name any of the them. As many chimed in with Lincoln, Kennedy, Washington … I called out John Philip Sousa! Dad loved this story!
His Marine Corps life continued. He served for 52 years on the Board of Devil Pups … a youth program that sends inner city kids to Boot Camp at Camp Pendleton for 6 weeks, and then continues to mentor and financially support the top young people through their education years … eventually having a 80% Marine recruitment rate from those in the program.
When President Reagan first met Dad – back in the days he was running for Governor … Reagan immediately saluted and said “Hello Marine”! For Dad never changed his crew cut. Nor was he rarely seen without his Marine tie clip, lapel pin or Korean War Veteran Cap. He was proud to identify himself as a Marine.
This association with Ronald Reagan in turn led to two Presidential Appointments to the Board of Visitors at The United States Naval Academy. Dad figured they probably needed a good Marine to keep things inline there!
What made Dad most proud was his “start to finish” involvement as one of the original Reagan Presidential Appointments to the Korean War Veterans Memorial Commission. To quote Dad: “It took the Marines to get the darn thing started …” This wonderful memorial in the Nation’s Capital is Dad’s legacy.
Dad was also extremely proud of his Western Heritage and Montana roots. CHARACTER, he was often heard to say, was determined by the men and women who went west and made something of themselves! The America Dream … the opportunity for any man to determine his own future … to be his own boss … to contribute to make this country great.
So the next hats to pay tribute to Dad are his Stetson Cowboy Hat … and the Marine Corps Drill Sergeant hat. He wore these hats when he was doing his Western thing … working on projects at the ranch in Santa Cruz, California, or on the family property at Moose Lake, Montana. I picture him riding his horse “Semper Fi” … hat on … instructing all assembled as if he were Chesty Puller! He gained quite a reputation with both of these hats when out in the San Inez Valley of California … on an annual weeklong ride with his Rancheros buddies – a gregarious group of Western Businessmen.
He usually came home grinning and bruised after that week, but rarely divulged stories … except for one time. In 2005 … Dad, (aged 74), and his Real Cowboy buddy Cotton Rooser (aged 78) and the horse (then aged 22) WON the Hyde Ride Contest! To this day they remain the oldest combined team to compete … let alone WIN! And yes … Cotton was riding the horse that was pulling Dad on the cattle hyde. Dad doesn’t remember much except flipping over, holding on tight to the hyde and praying! He forever proudly displayed his BIG BLUE RIBBON!
It was this Western derived Spirit and Optimism that propelled Edward into his unabashed Patriotism and business opportunities.
In brief, here are the results of figurative hats he wore in those arenas:
He created the California Small Business Development Company with fellow Stanford Business School pals. This group reunited during Goldwater Campaign – championing their new system for getting vote tallies to and from the precincts before the results were announced on the radio. They then went on to finance
young people who had great business ideas – like The Nuclear Protection Suits, space pens, frozen yogurt machines, Velcro (no laces) sneakers for Rehab Facilities … and my particular favorite: packaged condiments. Dad and his buddies started the All Portions Company to meet the needs of the rising fast food industry. (Sad, but true: growing up in our household, we never had proper containers of condiments like other families – we had packages of whatever you wanted!) Dad’s company also started The Monterey Vineyards – one of the first large commercial winery in California. Dad contribution was the financial side. Being fiscally conservative in thought, Dad tackled the bottom line by contracting with the State of California to employ laborers from the nearby Soledad Prison to pick the grapes! As one would expect, Dad enjoyed walking amongst and chatting with these men … learning their story and encouraging them to improve themselves while behind bars: find religion, study, behave … and then come see [him] when they got out! This was Dad.
Throughout his time on this earth, Dad made lifelong friends. Whether he agreed with you or not – he always loved meeting new people, discussing things and keeping up acquaintances! I have boxes of political hats, company hats, association hats – you name it – lots of hats that Dad collected over the years!
Sadly, I do not have his political hats; albeit one: when Dad ran for the US Senate in 1996 Montana Republican Primary. He didn’t win – but he had a great time going all over Montana … in all sorts of weather … wearing his Ed Borcherdt for US Senate cap!
Yet I digress. Politics: A life long passion! After hearing and reading Reagan’s 1964 “A Time For Choosing” speech, Dad actively entered the political arena.
During the mid 60’s, Dad and the now titled Borcherdt and Company bought and rehabed the rundown west coast Ed Sullivan theatre … and introduced the world to Video Tape on TV instead of film. Thus was born The Hollywood Video Center From this studio we all got such classic TV shows as The Steve Allen Show, The Della Reese Show, The King Family Specials, the first ever airing of LA’s public television broadcasts … and a little known production called Operation Entertainment.
Operation Entertainment was the first ever mobile production TV show, in this case at military bases where they would tape a USO styled variety show for later TV broadcast. Dad was at the helm of this project … and naturally, the first show was done at Camp Pendleton.
Seems that the then Gubernatorial Candidate Ronald Reagan saw them, and one day a man, Mike Deaver, who knew Dad from the Rancheros connection, called to ask about Dad’s his political views and his production company. Thus it came to be that Dad and his partners went on to produce all of Ronald Reagan TV spots at the Hollywood Video Center.
As things happen in the political world, the White House called. Bob Haldeman, a neighbor and crew cut wearing friend from barbershop moments, & Jeb Magruder – a friend from Stanford Business School – asked Dad and his team to come to Washington DC and set up what we know today as The White House Communications Office. This in turn led to Dad being asked to stay on in WDC to head up Communications for the newly formed CREEP (Cmte. To Re-Elect the President) Dad declined … and the rest is history!
Instead he came back to Los Angeles to try wearing another hat as a Producer. Shortly before doing the first White House Assignment, Dad had sold the HVC to Wolper Productions. David Wolper asked Dad to help with a movie: Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. (Very Exciting to have a Producer Father as a child – we got to go to the premier!) That was an “iffy” experience for Dad – he found it a “Godless Environment”, but was coaxed to help produce (minor efforts) one more TV venture with David Wolper … “ROOTS”.
That was that – back to politics. Dad was now in the Rice Business and fighting the US Government – primarily with the entire State Department over his contract to sell California rice to the South Korean and China Governments. Just ask Paul Wolfowitz (on one side) and Jesse Helms (on the other side) all about that project! I hear that the Senate Agriculture Committee is still using this as a lesson!
He did reside in WDC during the first Reagan Presidential Term. LOVED IT! He explored everything the City had to offer. He used to love talking to visitors at the Korean War Memorial … and to the Park Service Rangers there. For years, he spent every Thursday evening and every Sunday after church down at that Memorial giving tours! He knew everything that was going on in town.
Dad used laugh and say … the entire Nation pays for this lovely city and all it’s offerings, but only the people who live here get to take full advantage of it!
Dad never considered retiring. He did slow down a bit, and some of his later ventures were “side lined” due to various things … but the always optimistic Edward forged on. Many of you know that he twice went to Afghanistan with his friend & NATO Allied Supreme Commander General Jim Jones – trying to bring Agricultural Development to the people and economy there at a crucial time.
Then he was on to FRACKING! He was one of the first to champion this form of energy economic freedom and prosperity for America – or that’s how he saw it. AS many of you all know and can well remember – Dad spoke passionately on this subject, and made sure that everyone learned his facts on this matter!
My father also loved music – he was forever listening to music, and gave to me a great appreciation of it as well. He found joy in it all – even if there were times when he had to endure Bruce Springsteen while riding in the car with me. His dear friend Kimberly Ludwig (aka K2) gave him an I–Pod Shuffle filled with his favorite symphony music (& RR speeches). I can see him now … with this Brooks Brothers Rain Hat stuffed in his pocket or his English Cap perched on his head … as he walked his beloved Duke through Great Falls Park … or later, up and down our street!
Lessons that came without a hat reference were valued too! He was terminally optimistic … almost child like in his appreciation for everything. He was wonderful with children. He always looked for the good in life on a day–to–day basis. He loved color –– said it was one of God’s greatest gifts to us! He rarely raised his voice in anger. Instead, he set the example of how to sit and listen to what others have to say … digest it a bit … and get back to them! He loved to call and chat with his friends on the phone – his friendships were precious and lifelong. He wrote notes and letters to friends throughout his entire life.
In ending, I would like to let you all know that as I look upon the little English Winter Cap he always used to wear to church, I am reminded of how much Dad loved Grace Church and “his friends” here. It was in this simple little church that my father found much comfort. More so than ever, I want to thank each one of you for your friendship and support – given not only to Dad, but to all his family. It has meant so much – and always will.
What wonderful hats Dad wore! What wonderful examples of how to wear many hats he left us with!
Darling Dad … I miss you so much, yet am truly thankful for showing me how to live life to the fullest – how to wear many hats – and that the bumps on the Road of Life are easily overcome with a positive attitude and keeping your hat on.
My hat is off to you Darling Dad. I love you so much!
ONWARD and UPWARD!