Garnet Juanita Borror, age 87, of Liberty, South Carolina passed away at Rainey Hospice House in Anderson, SC. Garnet was born on September 20, 1933 in Indianapolis, IN to William and Velma Borror. She was born at her grandmother’s house, and was the third girl born to her parents.
Garnet was 4 years old when she started kindergarten. Her boyfriend would walk her home every day, and would sit in her father’s big rocking chair and teach him how to read, her brother had been born, so knowing how to read was Garnet’s door to sanity.
In third grade, the teacher encouraged her to “student teach” the other kids because she always finished her work early. The teacher spoke to Garnet’s mom about skipping a grade, her mother would not approve.
Garnet enjoyed going to concerts in Elkhart at Island Park. She was really impressed by the female soloist playing the trombone. Both of her sisters played instruments, so this made it easy for Garnet to convince her parents that the trombone was the instrument for her. In order for her to play notes in 5th, 6th and 7th positions, she had a string on the side which she attached to her finger that allowed her to reach these positions.
When in 6th grade, she would compete with students in junior and senior high because the guys in her trio were in junior high. This was during WWII and candy was hard to obtain. Both her two older sister were in music competition, they had money to buy lunch. That day, each of them bought a pound of jelly beans for lunch plus a coke and a hot dog.
Garnet continued playing the trombone throughout high school, this allowed her to go to all football games, and most basketball games. She played a trombone solo at her senior concert, a got a music scholarship to college. She choose Indiana State College over Michigan University because it was “in state”. During her college years, some weeks she was down to $10.00 for food. But she stuck it out, even working odd hours answering phones for several businesses. She wanted to become a teacher at the beginning until she had a chemistry class. She ended up with a degree in Chemistry, Physics and Math.
Garnet was able to get a job at the Ball Band Plant, which is part of U.S. Rubber at a near-by town to her home town, Elkhart. She worked there for about 2 years, until she found out that a man was training for experience in Chemistry and was making more money than she did with her degree. She did quality checking on the product lines and maintaining the chemical supplies. After about two years of this, she made an application to go to the Air Force. After waiting about six months after taking tests for officer school, she called them and found out they forgot to test her eyesight to see if she was color-blind. She told them to forget her application because she did not want to be associated with an organization that was so poorly organized. She enlisted in the Women’s Navy as an enlisted personnel, and was off to the Navy in a few months. She decided on the Navy, because (supposedly) females were paid the same as male.
While she was waiting for a call from the Air Force, she started taking flying lessons at a near-by airport. Part of the lesson included gassing the plane, checking the conditions of the plane before flying, etc. One of the early times she took off, the engine stopped when they were in the practice area. Bob landed the plane in a farmer’s field, and had me stay there while he called the airport from the farmer’s house to have someone bring up a new part. She got to help install the new part, and they took off to continue her lesson.
Another time, once they got air borne, they realized the gas cap was not fastened tightly and gas was splashing against the wind shield. Bob said it would be a waste of time to go back and land just to tighten the gas cap, so one of us had to climb out the window and crawl to the front of the window to tighten the cap. Garnet’s seat in the air plane was in front of Bob’s seat, and she thought he was prodding her to do the job. So, when she started to unfastened her seat belt, he asked her where she was going. She said that since she was in the front seat that it would be easier for her to climb out the window then it would be for him. His next comment was for her to give him her wrist watch so the wind would not tear it off. She handed him her watch, and proceeded to climb out to crawl to the front of the window shield. Because of this experience, Bob wanted Garnet to become a wing-walker and a crop duster in business with him. One Sunday morning, Garnet wanted to fulfill part of her license requirement. This step required her to do landings at three airports, check in with them, and do take offs, since the standards do vary somewhat. She also had to create a flight plan. The day happened to be after a rain storm had gone through, she was so excited on top of the experience. When she got airborne, she looked out the left window, and saw that a rainbow was there, and it was full circle. This was a rarity for Garnet. She then looked out the right side, and she again saw a rainbow, and it also was a full circle. To her, an event like this made life special.
Before Garnet got her pilot’s license, the U.S. Navy called and she was off to Bainbridge, Maryland and a new set of experiences. She had to report to the Recruiting Center in Chicago, to take the Oath. There were three other girls at the time, and they were sent to their first station via train-they slept and had their meals on the train. This was a new experience for Garnet. After finishing her flying class, she was transferred to the Pentagon, where she supervised about 50-60 enlisted personnel. She spent many weekends being the co-pilot for several men who had to keep up their flying hours. Garnet would fly and they would read the paper or sleep. They would go to different air ports to do landing /takeoffs along the eastern states. After resigning from the Navy, she started job hunting in the DC area. One company, after several hours test, said they would not hire her because she would never be a programmer.
She started a job at John Hopkins University in Maryland as a mathematician. This company held classes in programming, and that was the beginning of her programming. She asked for a job in programming and a raise, and was denied, because they were trying to get this one female promoted and said that Garnet had to wait until the other lady was promoted. Therefore, Garnet moved on. She got a job at Aerospace in California, as a programmer. This lasted about two years. She had to leave Los Angeles, because she got really ill because of the smog. She got a job at the Air Force Base, working for a contractor, where she wrote programs that evaluated chemicals and process for evaluated chemicals for testing for missile testing and firing. This company transfered her to Maryland to work to create the same direction for NASA, there she worked late night so she can get computer time. She would go in at 7pm and work until the day crew would come in. At this time she had a dog, Smokey, a full miniature poodle and he didn’t like being home alone, and so she would take him with her to work. While she worked at her desk, he would stretch out under her desk. The night clean-up crew never bother her at all, because Smokey was there. Smokey enjoyed riding on the elevator and would stay with her wherever they would go, and she never had to put him on a leash. So, when they would head home in the morning, Smokey would stay with her (without a leash) and all the incoming employees would see this dog leaving then, they would go to bed in the morning and would both be ready for bed. After several years here, she got a job at the University of Wisconsin, as a consultant. She was able to take more engineering and programming classes. When Garnet was soon to be age 85, she was very excited to live long enough the receive a 1% discount in the state of South Carolina.
Garnet honorably served her county in the United States Navy as a Lieutenant Junior Grade. She formerly worked in the office of the Chief of Naval Operations in Washington DC at the Pentagon.
Garnet is survived by her sister Donna Borror of Liberty, South Carolina, nieces and nephews William M. “Matt” (Debra) Borror of Elkhart, Bonnie (John) Richardson of South Bend, Steve (Linda) Wujcikowski of South Bend and Edwin (Pat) Wujcikowski of South Bend; several great-nieces and great nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, brother William M. “Junior” Borror and her sister Pearl Wujcikowski.
Graveside services will be held at 2 pm on Thursday, September 23, 2021 will militarily honors at Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens in Osceola, IN Stemm-Lawson-Peterson Funeral Home 1531 Cobblestone Blvd. Elkhart, IN 46514 is assisting the Borror Family
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