‘Missed by many’

Borden service reflects a lifetime of community love

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry A Sheffield Volunteer Fire Department engine is draped in black and the coat and helmet of former Chief Jerry Borden during Wednesday’s funeral service.

Jeremiah ‘Jerry’ Borden was a life-long resident of Sheffield.

He was a funeral director for 55 years.

He was elected Warren County coroner in 1993 and held that post until his death on Saturday.

For more than 50 years, Borden was a member of the Sheffield Volunteer Fire Department. He remained an active member even at age 77.

Hundreds attended viewing and funeral services at Sheffield United Methodist Church, where Borden was a lifelong member.

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry Pall bearers load the casket bearing the body of Jerry Borden into a horse-drawn carriage following the funeral Wednesday at Sheffield United Methodist Church.

Joining family and friends among those in attendance at Wednesday’s funeral were numerous funeral directors, a bus-load of firefighters, several county employees including current Coroner Melissa Zydonik, and representatives from the Warren County Sheriff’s Office and Pennsylvania State Police.

“Jerry Borden was a true mentor to me,” Doug Kennedy, who is a funeral director at Borden Funeral Home, said. “He always had a smile. We never had a disagreement.”

“He was so kind-hearted and caring,” Kennedy said. “The first time that I met Jerry, we just clicked. We hit it off.”

He said he felt like Jerry and Judy’s adopted son and a sibling to Bob and Beth — that they treated him as one of the family.

Kennedy had a lot of responsibility on Wednesday. He said Borden often gave him advice that could have applied: “Why get worked up? Everything’s going to work out.”

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry Fire and EMS responders salute as the casket bearing the body of former Sheffield Volunteer Fire Department Chief and Warren County Coroner Jerry Borden is carried down Main Street.

“I worked with Jerry for 20 years,” Todd Andersen of Peterson-Blick Funeral Home in Warren said. “He was a good man to have for the county and a good man to work with. I’m sure he will be missed by many.”

“It’s obvious that he’s loved in this community,” Greg Buckner of Bradford Crematory said. “He’s always a pleasure to work with.”

The Warren County commissioners canceled their Wednesday meeting to allow county workers the opportunity to attend the funeral.

Following the service, the casket was loaded into a horse-drawn carriage which became part of a procession along Main Street.

Local fire departments honored their fallen brother, with ladder trucks from the Kane and Starbrick volunteer fire departments holding a large American flag high above Main Street as the procession passed beneath.

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry A horse-draw carriage carries the casket bearing the body of Jerry Borden down Main Street in Sheffield beneath a flag hung from two ladder trucks as an honor to a fallen brother.

“Jerry’s been involved in emergency services throughout my entire career and has been a positive influence on generations of responders in Warren County,” Public Safety Director Ken McCorrison said.

Many firefighters, from Sheffield and other departments, attended the Tuesday evening viewing.

“The fire hall was full of firemen that all knew him,” Sheffield Volunteer Fire Department Chief Kevin Bell said.

“He had been a chief, assistant chief, and currently he was our safety officer and a trustee,” Bell said. “He was an active member” regularly attending weekly practice and participating in calls for major incidents.

Bell said it was not uncommon to see Borden stopping traffic as the department’s vehicles were leaving or returning to the fire hall. “He’d be standing on Main Street in a suit and tie.”