Scott Borderud Memorial Service
Marty Leonard Community Chapel
Fort Worth, TX
30 October 2021
Good afternoon. My name is Justin DuBose and I had the privilege of calling Scott Borderud (with Norwegian pronunciation) my mentor, my friend, my dear brother, and a father-figure to me for the past 11 years. Scott asked me about 8-9 months ago to give his eulogy. In the linguistic sense, a eulogy is just words: good words, true words, well words. But my problem this morning is (the English subtitles are) that I lack the vocabulary necessary to not only capture how extraordinary and well-rounded and complex my very best friend was. So I feel the need to employ visual as well as auditory means this afternoon.
PUT ON ROBE AND HAT AND SET OUT THE COFFEE MUG. This is how he always introduced himself: Naval Academy and Marine led the way, followed by pastor and theologian, and the Army almost never got mentioned. Drat.
As I channel my inner Borderud this afternoon, here is my refrain for eulogizing my best friend and second father: I love this man so much. I love him so much it doesn’t even make sense to try and explain my feelings for him to anyone else. But, I’m gonna try for you today.
I have always felt like my relationship with Scott is the closest thing I’ll ever experience to Jonathan and David in Scripture. There was no familial relationship, no shared bloodlines, and yet there was something between the two of them that was deeper than any language could express. 1 Samuel says that Jonathan loved David as his own soul and this is exactly how I feel about this man I love so much.
I love this man so much. When I first met Scott, he was pastoring a larger church, he had a doctorate in theology, he was a Naval Academy graduate (the first service academy grad I had ever met), former Marine Infantry Officer, an ethics and leadership professor at one of the US Army’s graduate institutions, and a retired Army officer. He was, in any crowd, a man amongst men…and more than I, as I was then, could ever hope to be.
See, at the time I met Scott I was a floundering, multi-time college dropout who had wrecked his GPA at one point down to a 0.9. I was driving a school bus and substitute teaching trying to put myself through school one last time. My most recent job before that had been as a truck driver driving a refer truck hauling frozen seafood up and down the East Coast. Oh by the way, sports fans, in the world of logistics, “refer” doesn’t mean the same thing as it does in other circles...
What in the world did a man like Dr. Rev. CH (LTC) Scott Borderud give me the blankety-blank time of day for? That’s one of those mysteries that I’ll never know the answer to this side of eternity!
I love this man so much because he took this floundering boy struggling with direction, and graciously led me to God’s path for my life. I honestly don’t know where I’d be today without him. The story of how we met is a testimony to God’s sovereignty and providence. In 2010, God called Scott & Carol to Toccoa, GA where my wife, Alanna, just so happened to be working as a nurse with a retired missionary who went to First Alliance. Alanna mentioned that I was sensing a call to the chaplaincy and Deb, her co-worker, mentioned that their new pastor was a retired chaplain. She gave Scott my number, and he called me – a complete stranger – a few times before I answered the phone. When we finally met, he took me out for some very mediocre and forgettable barbeque, and the rest – as they say – is history. What began as a military mentorship of an older Paul to a younger (but much rougher around the edges) Timothy blossomed into what I’m sure is the deepest human friendship I’ll ever experience.
I love this man so much because he mentored me, befriended me and loved on me when he didn’t have to and – as I see it – had no good reason to. We spent hours together – at his insistence – running around the track talking about everything under the sun; running up and down the stairs at the high school football stadium; him taking every “learning opportunity” to tell me something that he thought would be valuable to me now or in the future; we even had a movie night where we watched Napoleon Dynamite together at his house.
I love this man so much because he is the only person in my life to believe in me and speak boldly over me things that I would have never believed about myself. I remember when he told me that I should pursue a terminal doctorate degree because I had the mind and capacity for it. I had the mind for it? This was still the same kid who was a school bus driver with a GPA that started with “0”. What kind of crazy pills was this guy taking? And, I want to say publicly that it is ONLY because of Scott, I stand before you today weeks or months away from obtaining my Ph.D. I turned in my completed manuscript earlier this week. I was really hoping to finish while he was still alive, but I want to publicly give him the credit and honor for that accomplishment. He was the only one who saw something there and believed in me.
I love this man so much because he trusted me – a redneck from a lineage of cattle ranchers on one side and actual Tennessee hill-billies on the other – with his pulpit and platform on a weekly basis. And this wasn’t some remote church in the plains of Texas or the hills of Tennessee. This was a church filled with college presidents and administrators, theology professors, doctors, and retired missionaries from around the world.
I love this man so much because he stood up for me and advocated for me even when he had nothing to gain from doing so. When he brought me on staff as his Associate Pastor, he caught such flack for it. I remember telling him one time, after a particularly difficult meeting in which he continually defended me, that he could throw me overboard if it would keep his ship from sinking. But, he stood by me tirelessly until we had weathered the storm together…and he is the only person in my life (besides my wife) who has shown such undying love and faithfulness toward me.
Now that I’m serving in different positions of leadership, I understand the enormous amount of courage he possessed and the courage it took to do that day in and day out. You could all share your stories of his – as his obituary stated – uncommon courage – but I’d to share with you two.
STORY OF EYEGLASSES AND HEARING AIDS
STORY OF REFUSING TO TAKE OFF HIS CROSS DURING DESERT STORM
If his courage in advocating for me while I was serving on his staff wasn’t enough, he also courageously advocated for me to take my first Senior Pastor position in NC (which, oh by the way, meant leaving his staff) even after the District Superintendent said he preferred an older candidate because of the dynamics of the church. And just a couple of years ago, he advocated for me to move to the Houston area to pastor a church here. It came at just the time when Alanna and I were praying about where God might call us next. Scott was always an answer to prayer for me.
I love this man so much because he brought so much joy and laughter into my life. One of the many things we had in common was a big laugh that filled the room. He had such a great laugh! Some of my deepest laughs have come with him. I just wanted to share with you a few funny stories (I promised Scott I would do this!) where I laughed so hard my stomach hurt. There are so many it was hard to pick just a few.
He always had a way of saying things that made regular remarks hilarious. STORY ABOUT SIT-UPS AND HIM SAYING “I CAN SEE YOU DON’T HAVE ON REGULATION SHORTS”
[Schadenfreude] STORY ABOUT EVERYONE STEPPING IN DOG POO WHEN THEY GOT OUT OF MY BIG VAN AT A DISTRICT CONFERENCE
STORY ABOUT SPONGE SCOTT BROWN PANTS
The last time I talked to Scott, a few days before he died, I told him that I loved him and he told me he loved me, too. He also told me that he missed me. Well, I’d like to finish today by saying two things to Scott that he said to me. I was scrolling back through our text messages this week, and on June 18, 2018 he sent me a text out of the blue. All it said, just as he said to me last week, was “Today, I missed you.” Scott, today – and every day – I will miss you so very much. The only time I ever saw him get choked up was at my farewell service in Toccoa. He quoted Shakespeare and, choking back tears, said “Parting is such sweet sorrow”. Well, today my very dearest earthly friend, I say it back to you with the same emotion you said it to me back then: Parting is such sweet sorrow. I will miss you more than I can say or understand.
Just a man trying to save his thoughts and correspondence