Albert Jerome Borba was born in Fresno, CA on September 8, 1939 to parents Joseph and Telvena Borba, both of proud Portuguese decent - his father having been born on the island of Terceira in the Azores. Albert grew up on a farm in Dairyland, a community just outside of Chowchilla, CA. He was the youngest of seven in his family. The siblings being Joe, Evelyn, Frank, Inez, Elvera and Telvena.
He was closest with Telvena growing up, just a year apart in age. They had a lot of fun on the farm, feeding the crazy goose and going for the occasional joy ride on the tractor. The family also enjoyed celebrating their Portuguese heritage at local festivals and with the making (and eating!) of Portuguese sweetbread.
After his father died when Albert was nine, the family moved to town (Chowchilla). He often complained about living with four older sisters in a very small house, but he did enjoy figuring out how to rig the family phone to ring. Then he would sit back and watch them all stampede down the hall to try and answer it. Albert was also known to give a few of their boyfriends a bit of a hard time.
He graduated from Chowchilla High School in 1958 and after a few odd jobs in California and Oregon (while living with one of his sisters) he joined the U.S. Army. Taking the train cross country, he performed basic training in Maryland before being stationed at Fort Lewis in Tacoma, WA. One fateful evening, Albert gave a friend a drive off base to a roller-skating rink in south Tacoma. There he met a dark-haired Irish girl named Kathleen Chase. He told her he had no intention of putting on a pair of roller skates so she suggested bowling. They went bowling that night and ended up married in February of 1963.
Albert and Kay had four children, first a son Anthony J. Borba, followed by two daughters, Holly J. Borba and Necia J. Borba, and another son, Bryce J. Borba (for whom they won the ‘Borba Two Boys’ Award – Albert being the only one of his siblings to have more than one son). He was proud of his children, taking them on family campouts, at least one road trip a year to his hometown in California, and making sure to get them to school in the morning (although maybe not always on time!).
He also had seven beloved grandchildren; Amanda and Jacob (Anthony), Petra (Holly), Alex, Lizie, Luke and Janesa (Bryce)
Shortly after leaving the Army he ended up taking a job at Flett Dairy in Tacoma, WA loading milk trucks at night. After a few years his boss sent him out to work in the auto shop, claiming he’d seen Albert many a time tinkering with a car or truck in his yard. Maybe working and living on the same street wasn’t ideal for keeping everything private from his boss, but it led to a position as lead mechanic which gave him more freedom and more responsibility. He kept those dairy trucks rolling for over twenty years and was proud of it. Albert retired in 1995 after
about thirty years of working and being a shareholder at Flett Dairy, and countless gallons of milk and ice cream consumed by his family.
After retiring he took a few part time jobs, driving delivery truck for Inderbitzin Dist. and helping a friend doing odd jobs at a used car lot. To say Albert loved cars would be a slight understatement. He adored them, mostly classic trucks and cars, mostly anything Chevy circa the 1950s or 60s. Trying to count the number of vehicles he bought, fixed up and sold over the years would require a very good memory! He never attended college and often declared he was just a dumb Portagee, but he could fix just about anything, sometimes very creatively, and often gave his vehicle projects an artist’s touch.
Outside of the odd jobs, his retirement years were spent keeping nearly five acres of yard mowed and neat as a pin. He also tirelessly picked up trash along S. Verde Street, where he lived for nearly sixty years. Keeping the neighborhood clean earned him accolades and the occasional bag of potatoes, box of oranges or Christmas wreath from a grateful neighbor.
Albert was a tough old Portagee, as he liked to say. He could be gruff, grumpy and stubborn to a fault. But he would do just about anything for a friend or family member and was even a bit of a softy at times. He loved to tell stories about the good old days and would do so at length to anyone who would stop and listen.
Albert Borba died February 21, 2023 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tacoma, WA from complications following a stroke. He was preceded in death by his parents, all six of his siblings and his wife of 59 years, Kay.
He will be missed and remembered by all who knew him.