James R. Borcherding, 85, of Mabel, Minn., formerly of Fredericksburg, died Wednesday April 30, 2014, at Aase Haugen Senior Services in Decorah. Funeral services were at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 3, at the Peace United Church of Christ, Fredericksburg, with Pastor Burt Williams officiating. Interment was in Rose Hill Cemetery, Fredericksburg. Friends greeted the family beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 3, at the Peace United Church of Christ in Fredericksburg. Arrangements werewith Hugeback - Johnson Funeral Home in Fredericksburg. Online condolences for James' family may be left at hugebackfuneralhome.com.
James was born Sept. 28, 1928, on a farm near Sumner, in Chickasaw County, the son of Albert and Ruth (McConkey) Borcherding. He was known to friends as Jim. He was baptized in St John’s Lutheran Church, Sumner, and confirmed in Peace United Church of Christ in Fredericksburg. He attended country school in Alpha graduating from Fredericksburg High School in 1946. He enrolled in Upper Iowa University and obtained a three-year rural school teaching certificate. He taught near Fredericksburg at McFarland School and Dawson School with 18 students in nine grades. James continued his 4-H activities showing Guernsey cattle at county, district, State Fair and Cattle Congress. He won Guernsey showmanship, State 4-H dairy record book contest and Rosebud Farm production. In 1948, he won a trip to National 4-H Club Congress in Chicago. In 1949, he was on the State Champion 4-H Judging team and was named State 4-H Dairy Club member. He worked in Iowa State Extension as Youth Assistant in Chickasaw, Black Hawk and Poweshiek Counties. He attended Iowa State College, majoring in dairy science. Leadership roles in college included: Dairy Science Club (president), Block and Bridle Club, Campus 4-H, YMCA (secretary), Ag Council (vice president), Iowa State Ag Staff, Alumni Hall (Head Advisor) member Farmhouse Fraternity. Honors included: Sigma Delta Chi (journalism), Gamma Sigma Delta (scholarship and leadership), Alpha Zeta (agriculture) and he was a member of dairy and livestock judging teams in 1953 and 1955. He has been a judge of all breeds of dairy cattle in Iowa and surrounding states, a member of Dairy Shrine Club and a distinguished graduate of Iowa State University. He served as assistant editor, associate editor, senior dairy editor and dairy editor emeritus. He retired in 1991 and did freelance articles for a time. James loved his work, and his co-workers were extended family. He wrote thousands of words in articles about dairy farm families that displayed a passion for quality photographs. He traveled to farms, meetings and agricultural colleges keeping up with new ideas and technology. He had a kind and thoughtful style of interviewing and was a good listener. His articles provided information on new technology, embryo transfer and cloning. James lived in Des Moines for 50 years. He was a member of St John’s Lutheran Church and Living History Farms. He was lifetime member of Iowa State Alumni Association, American Dairy Science Association and an honorary member of the Agricultural Editor’s Association. He received the National FFA Distinguished Service Award and named in Who’s Who in the Midwest. He is a member of Calmar Dairy Foundation, Winneshiek Co Genealogical Society, Historical Society and Sons of the American Revolution (SAR). His McConkey family dates back to Pennsylvania during the war in 1776. The McConkey Inn on the Delaware River is the location where Washington crossed the Delaware River Christmas Eve 1776 to March to Trenton, N.J. James had two Bremer County Iowa farm families listed in the 1856 census -- Fowle and McDonald. James did a great deal of family genealogy searches and passed details on to family members. Jim was always there for his family, taking pictures and helping whenever they needed him. He was, affectionately, “Uncle Jim” to all his nieces and nephews.
He is survived by one brother, Jack (Sharon) Borcherding of Decorah; seven nieces and nephews: Dr. Scott (Dee) Hinders, Gene (Terri) Hinders, Bryan Robinson, James (Dana) Robinson, Tina (Dennis) Borcherding, Alan (Crystal) Borcherding, Tessa (Pete) Numedahl; great-nieces and -nephews: Calvin, Connor, Caleb, Taylor, Payton, Jaron and Skyelin.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Albert and Ruth Borcherding; and sister, Brenda Robinson.