ForeverMissed
Obituary

Peter Borst, 85, of Whitestone, NY died unexpectedly of heart failure on February 16, 2021, in the company of his wife.  He was born and raised outside Philadelphia, PA.  In his teens, he (saxophone) and his two brothers (drums and trumpet) performed together in jazz bands.  Peter’s musical skill earned him a scholarship at the University of Miami to study music and play in their marching band.  At the University of Miami, he met Katharine (Kay) Horton, who he married in December 1955.  In the early 1960s, Peter served stateside directing US Army marching bands.  Next, he began teaching junior high school music, moved to Levittown, NY, and learned to sail.  In 1964 his daughter Lynne was born, and within a few years, the family moved to Flushing, NY.  After Kay’s death in 1969, Peter raised Lynne on his own while completing a graduate degree in music education from the City University of NY at Queens College.  Peter also taught private music lessons and occasionally performed in nightclubs with a jazz band.  Because of his success with innovative teaching approaches, around 1980 Peter was invited to join a small team that developed a music curriculum for use across all of NYS. 

In 1986 Peter married Elizabeth Singer who he knew through his teaching tenure at Hicksville Junior High School.  His son Kurt was born in 1987, and shortly after that, they moved to Whitestone, NY.  Peter fit right in with the musically and artistically inclined Singer family and instantly became a beloved member.  He supported his wife as she developed her own successful teaching career as one of the premier art teachers in NYC.  He also passed the music gene to his son, who went on to become a live performer like his father as well as a writer and producer in the music industry.

Peter’s love of music, and for teaching people about music continued through his whole life.  In retirement, Peter became an adjunct professor at Long Island University Post Campus.  In this capacity, he taught professional enrichment classes to music teachers, and he developed and presented music appreciation and history lectures for the adult continuing education program. 

Peter’s leisure time was shared with his family visiting art museums and botanic gardens, attending the NY Philharmonic and NYC Ballet, and sailing.  Peter became an avid sailor starting around 1960 with a used 16’ wooden sailboat.  A 17’ fiberglass sailboat followed making life easier without caulking wooden planks!  After more than a decade with day-sailing boats, he stepped up to a 24’ sailboat capable of sleeping four.  Peter kept the 24’ boat for over 35 years until he was 80.

In New York State Peter leaves his wife of 35 years, Elizabeth Singer Borst; his daughter Lynne Borst Kolaya, her husband Scott, and their son Drew; his son Kurt William Borst and his fiancé Ashley Jana; niece Laurie Horton Foote, her husband, children and grandchildren; and his wife’s siblings and their families with whom he was very close (especially Rhiannon).  In Georgia Peter leaves close family from his first marriage, sister-in-law Diantha Horton and her son David Horton.  In Pennsylvania Peter leaves his brother William Borst and his extended family.  In Missouri Peter leaves his sister-in-law, Bonnie Borst (widow to James Borst), daughters Jennifer and Stephanie, and their families.  In California, Peter leaves nieces Wendy Borst Reade and Heidi Borst, both daughters of James Borst.

Peter will be remembered by family and friends as a good-natured man, who faced each day optimistically.  He advocated for equality and treated everyone fairly.  Whether as a friend, spouse, parent, or teacher, Peter encouraged many to achieve their potential in life.  His positive attitude and sense of humor prevailed to the end of his life.

Peter did not want a traditional memorial service, so please use this Tributes section or Stories page to celebrate Peter’s life and send condolences.  Gifts in memory of Peter Borst can be sent to the American Cancer Society, the Wildlife Conservation Society (NYC Zoos and Aquarium), or a charity of your choice.

Posted by Dolores Garger on February 25, 2021
Although I was never a student of his, he was always a smiling face in the hallways of Hicksville Junior High School, saying hello to everyone, whether they be his student or not......my condolences to those he leaves behind.....may he rest in true peace!""
Posted by Pamela Friedlander on February 25, 2021
Sadly, I didn't know Peter as he had retired and started a new chapter as an Adjunct Professor at LIU Long Island Campus before I ever made it to Hicksville Middle School.

I wish I had the honor to meet him at any external event, but that was not to be. Somewhere after Peter's retirement, I was blessed to have a teaching position at Hicksville Middle School, I was hired to teach music appreciation (general music) and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of teaching piano in the new piano lab there. The position was advertised as a "general music position" with no mention of piano or piano lab. That's significant I think.

It's probably best that I didn't first start hearing about Peter for a while, as that surely would have been professionally overwhelming in my first year there, but soon thereafter, everyone had a story to tell me about Peter.

He was greatly respected by the students and colleagues alike. He had a wonderful sunny "disposish". Peter's optimism, innovative teaching approaches, sense of humor, and ability to motivate students to achieve their potential; created a picture for me that served as a shining goal to achieve and hoped I would. Talk about "hard acts to follow". I'm not certain anyone ever could, even now.

This vivid portrait of a man, father, husband, and educator was as real to me as if he stood in front of me daily, helping to guide and mentor. Everyone loved and respected Peter as I heard through their lively stories, always told with smiles on their faces. That said it all.

Maybe this is a bit "fanciful" for I never met him, but I knew more than a bit about him and want to express my deepest condolences to his friends, colleagues, family, and friends on this great loss of a truly exceptional man and educator.

May he rest in peace and join his brother, other members of "the band" and have the best jam sessions ever in heaven. Peter made a beautiful difference in so many lives; he will be remembered with love. A donation will be made to The American Cancer Society in his memory.

May his memory be a blessing as I offer up a Gershwin song and say "thank you" to Peter, who I never met yet helped to guide me as well.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLAU7gBRwp0 
Posted by Adam Monreale on February 24, 2021
So beautiful. Peter is a friend, caring father and husband, and kind man. His spirit continues.
Posted by Bonnie Borst on February 21, 2021
You will be very missed. You and your brother can now play music together in heaven.

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Dolores Garger on February 25, 2021
Although I was never a student of his, he was always a smiling face in the hallways of Hicksville Junior High School, saying hello to everyone, whether they be his student or not......my condolences to those he leaves behind.....may he rest in true peace!""
Posted by Pamela Friedlander on February 25, 2021
Sadly, I didn't know Peter as he had retired and started a new chapter as an Adjunct Professor at LIU Long Island Campus before I ever made it to Hicksville Middle School.

I wish I had the honor to meet him at any external event, but that was not to be. Somewhere after Peter's retirement, I was blessed to have a teaching position at Hicksville Middle School, I was hired to teach music appreciation (general music) and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of teaching piano in the new piano lab there. The position was advertised as a "general music position" with no mention of piano or piano lab. That's significant I think.

It's probably best that I didn't first start hearing about Peter for a while, as that surely would have been professionally overwhelming in my first year there, but soon thereafter, everyone had a story to tell me about Peter.

He was greatly respected by the students and colleagues alike. He had a wonderful sunny "disposish". Peter's optimism, innovative teaching approaches, sense of humor, and ability to motivate students to achieve their potential; created a picture for me that served as a shining goal to achieve and hoped I would. Talk about "hard acts to follow". I'm not certain anyone ever could, even now.

This vivid portrait of a man, father, husband, and educator was as real to me as if he stood in front of me daily, helping to guide and mentor. Everyone loved and respected Peter as I heard through their lively stories, always told with smiles on their faces. That said it all.

Maybe this is a bit "fanciful" for I never met him, but I knew more than a bit about him and want to express my deepest condolences to his friends, colleagues, family, and friends on this great loss of a truly exceptional man and educator.

May he rest in peace and join his brother, other members of "the band" and have the best jam sessions ever in heaven. Peter made a beautiful difference in so many lives; he will be remembered with love. A donation will be made to The American Cancer Society in his memory.

May his memory be a blessing as I offer up a Gershwin song and say "thank you" to Peter, who I never met yet helped to guide me as well.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLAU7gBRwp0 
Posted by Adam Monreale on February 24, 2021
So beautiful. Peter is a friend, caring father and husband, and kind man. His spirit continues.
his Life

1935

Birth: Peter was born September 25, 1935.  Photo of Peter at about age 2 or 3 (the oldest photo we have of him).

1940s

Childhood: Peter was the youngest of three boys.  Bill was the oldest brother, and Jim the middle brother.

1940s

Childhood:  Peter and his family loved going to the NJ shore.
Recent stories

Peter Borst

Shared by Joseph E. Scalia on February 24, 2021

    Among a faculty of characters at Hicksville Junior High, Peter Borst stood out. Not so much because he was strange, which he was. But then all junior high school teachers are strange and a little bit crazier than our students. It’s a prerequisite for survival teaching hormonal time bombs who are neither fish nor fowl during those critical and confusing three years before high school. Peter did more than survive, he thrived! He loved his subject, music, and he loved his kids who knew it and loved him in return.
    Back in the turbulent 60s I was a young and naïve 7th Grade teacher at the teeming, over-crowded Hicksville Junior High where I spent those first years in semi-isolation trying to teach "alot" is actually two words and sometimes "your" should be "you're" in Room T3 of the hot in summer, cold in winter, noisy, drafty T-Wing. The plan in those days of UP and DOWN staircases with more than 3,400 students under one roof was to keep the new kids and the mostly new teachers (there was a big staff turnover!) away from the “big kids” and the “real teachers” in the main building. So although I had seen Peter at faculty meetings, I didn’t actually meet him until June of my third year when we were assigned duty to guard the halls outside the gym during both graduation ceremonies. He later told me he knew when he saw innocent and well-groomed me in a three-piece suit (it was required) and bright white sneakers I said were in case I had to chase anybody down the halls, that we would become friends. And that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship for more than 50 years! Peter always had a smile and made me laugh… well not so much his terrible puns… but his off-beat insights and junior high sense of humor, something we both held on to into old age.
    In the 70s jackets and ties and clean shaved faces disappeared and the faculty let its freak flag fly to the chagrin of administrators who hadn't got the memo. Long hair, mutton chops and beards flourished throughout the building. Even several of the women teachers began sporting facial hair! Before Halloween I stopped at Peter's classroom and announced to his kids that Mr. Borst looked just like a blond Edgar Allan Poe with his shoulder length hair and mustache. In response he cranked up the volume on his stereo, where he was playing eerie Halloween music that shook the walls. It delighted the class and had teachers in the second floor corridor shaking their heads. “Borst is at it again!”
    During the school year we socialized, in summers we sailed, or sometimes just sat at the dock on in his J 24 solving the world’s problems. I remember one morning when Peter called me: “There’s wind just short of small craft warnings. Would you like to go sailing?” And we two nuts did, racing the wind on Long Island Sound from Bayside past Eaton’s Neck with full sails and the J 24 heeled at forty degrees with me on the tiller and Peter running back and forth unfurling the Genoa and trimming the lines with a big smile on his face.
    When Peter and Liz came to dinner at the house. son Jesse, who was a toddler, fell in love with her the minute she sat on the floor to play with him. We all did. In 1986, Peter and Liz got married and I was honored to be their witness. Kurt was born a year after my daughter Mikki and the three kids became friends. Peter and Liz always had great ideas to keep them entertained, from ice skating at the Queens rink to spending the day on the rides at Adventureland to walking among the butterflies at the Botanical Gardens.
    Friday before Thanksgiving when I was going through a divorce, I was upset because I wasn’t going to see my kids for the holiday and I told Peter. He didn’t say much, just listened and let me vent as he often did. But on Monday he came to my classroom. “Liz and I want you to come for dinner at our house after school Wednesday with the kids. Kurt is looking forward to seeing them.” When the three of us arrived I was surprised… amazed! Peter had rushed home right after school to help Liz who had cooked us a complete Thanksgiving feast! I will never forget such an unselfish act of love and friendship. And they had to do it all again on Thanksgiving Day for their families! Even now just writing about it I tear up.
    Our friendship went into retirement and beyond, for more than fifty years. We didn’t visit as much recently because of time and circumstances, but we talked regularly on the phone. Last week I spoke to Peter and Liz and we traded stories of all our doctors’ appointments, joked and laughed, and made plans for the time after Covid. I am grateful for that time but sad we didn’t have the opportunity to be together one more time.
    I will miss you, Peter. I wish you fair winds and happy sailing, my friend.
Shared by Frank Walker on February 23, 2021
Back in 9th grade at the Hicksville Junior High School (before it was called the Middle School) I had two favorite teachers. My English teacher
Joseph E. Scalia & Chorus teacher Peter Borst. Both went out of their way to make learning extremely interesting & fun.
Mr. Scalia & I still keep in touch & I'm very grateful for that!
I saw a post that Mr. Borst just passed away. I remember him as a very upbeat person who LOVED music & made his students love it with him. He was a very big influence on my musical development.
3 vivid memories of him:
1.We were learning a choral arrangement of the Beatles' All My Loving & he allowed me to play guitar for it. Me being around 14 or 15, I guess I didn't understand the concept of arrangements not always being like the original & I must've given him hell for the chords not being right. He reminded me of this as recently as a year ago when I was in the hospital & he wrote saying to spend the time learning the right chords to All My Loving!
2.During a school concert, I'm playing acoustic guitar with the chorus (probably the same song!) & I broke a string. Trying not to panic, I got his attention & he came over, grabbed the guitar, put his foot against the base & ripped the string off very loudly & calmly said "here you go." Big laughs from the audience!
3. During class, we were rehearsing another Beatles song, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. Sitting in the bass section against the wall was my friend , a big guy & a good friend. Mr. Borst gave Allen the job of banging the drum beat before the refrain of the song against the wall. Allen's strength got the best of him one time & he banged THROUGH the wall. Mr. Borst was shocked &, trying not to laugh, he ran over there saying "oh THIS is not good", stood in front of it as though it wasn't there & tried to find something to cover it up. We all burst out laughing from that!
I never did see Mr. Borst again since school, but he did occasionally write to me through his wife here on Facebook. Last time was this past May when they listened to my album & had very nice things to say about it. I was very grateful for that & told him how much he influenced me.
RIP Mr. Borst & thank you........