Miriam Eleanor Chesham Borel passed away peacefully on March 11, 2018. Born in Cheyenne, Wyoming, on April 27, 1915, Miriam was the youngest of three children. Her father, Albert Endersby Chesham, had emigrated from England; her mother, Julia Jeannette Williams, was a native of Colorado. Miriam’s parents were Salvation Army officers, dedicated to the service of others.

This lead to moves to St. Louis, when Miriam was two; to Kansas City when four; and to Minneapolis when five, where Miriam attended elementary school, high school, and the University of Minnesota. In 1935, the family moved again to Kansas City, where Miriam attended both Kansas City Junior College, to learn accounting and bookkeeping, and the Kansas City Conservatory of Music, to continue her study of voice, while also engaged part-time in accounting and social work for the Salvation Army. It was during this time in Kansas City that Miriam met her future husband, Paul Arnold Borel. When Miriam’s parents were transferred to Chicago, Miriam accompanied them and studied voice full-time at the Chicago Conservatory of Music.

Miriam and Paul married at the Country Club Christian Church, Kansas City, Missouri, on October 28, 1939, subsequent to Paul having completed graduate studies in Boston. Following a honeymoon in Mexico, the couple made their home first in Oklahoma City, then in Borger and later in Phillips, both in the Texas panhandle.

In December 1940, with the shadows of World War II prompting the U.S. to increase its defenses, Paul, a naval reserve officer, was called to active duty. He was to serve until December 1946. During these six years, Navy assignments led them to St. Louis, Missouri, where their first child, Nancy, was born, then to New York City, where another daughter, Elaine, was born. Shortly thereafter, Paul spent two years on assignments in the European Theater of Operations. During this period, Miriam and their two daughters shuttled between the homes of her parents in Chicago and Paul’s parents in Kansas City.

Upon Paul’s return, he was assigned to naval headquarters in Washington, DC, and they bought a home in Arlington, VA. Subsequently, Paul was discharged from active naval duty (although he would remain as reservist for 30 years); and he joined the newly formed Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as civilian (to serve there for 25 years). Over time, two other daughters, Julia and Jane, and two sons, Douglas and Mark, were born. In 1951, the family moved into a larger home in nearby Falls Church, VA, where they lived for the next 24 years.

As wife and mother, Miriam lead an ever-active life, as heart and soul of the family and in dedicated service to every institution in which she and/or family members were involved. These include civic and social affairs and neighborhood, church, and school activities. A sample of Miriam’s outside involvements include: member of Altar Guild, president of Women of the Church, and teacher and superintendent of Sunday School at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Falls Church, VA; Girl Scout leader; PTA membership chair; leader of Cavalettes; member of Great Falls Historical Society; and volunteer at the Women’s Prison Ministry. Above all, Miriam considered herself blessed with a large and loving family.

Upon Paul’s retirement, with the children well on their own ways, the couple moved to Great Falls, where they built a new home, just beyond Great Falls National Park. In 1992, after 45 years in the greater Washington, DC area, 14 of which were spent in Great Falls, they moved to Southern Pines, NC. There they soon again became active participants in the local scene.

Miriam was active in The Village Chapel (Women of the Chapel, Church Women United, the Bargain Box, and Shepherd of their neighborhood), Habitat for Humanity, Southern Pines Civic Club, Sandhills Community College (scholarship donor and Summa Group member), as well as with family, wherever located. A year and half after her husband’s death in 2007, Miriam moved to Penick Village Retirement Community, where she resided happily until her death.

Throughout her life, Miriam began each day with a prayer: “Lord, pour your perfect Love on me to give to all I meet today.” Lines, written by Miriam’s husband, convey how those closest to her came to know, appreciate, and love her, as she touched their lives and the lives of others.

Tribute to My Wife

She nobly walks life’s way from day of birth,
A gentle child from loving union wrought,
Who, through her splendid days upon the earth,
The gift of love and friendship to us brought.
So prompt to help wherever help is needed,
She without quarrel will walk the extra mile.
No neighbor’s cry has ever gone unheeded.
With all she shares an ever winsome smile.
Her spirit shines in utter radiancy,
In role as tender mother, gracious wife.
Along the way I hear her song, as she
Plants flowers in the garden of my life.
Who knows of goodness sent from heaven above,
Of goodness knows who has not known my love.

Miriam is survived by their six children: Nancy Ellis of Pinehurst, NC; Elaine Foster of Charlotte, NC; Julia Borel of Kansas City, MO; Jane O’Brien of Washington, DC; Douglas of Norfolk, VA; Mark of Lynchburg, VA, and their five spouses; 13 grandchildren and their 10 spouses; and 19 great grandchildren.

There will be a Service of Remembrance, Celebration, and Thanksgiving at ten o’clock in the morning at The Village Chapel on Saturday, April 28. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Miriam Chesham Borel Endowed Scholarship for Human Services at Sandhills Community College, 3395 Airport Road, Pinehurst, NC 28374; or Chesham Hall at Camp Grandview, Salvation Army Georgia Division Headquarters, 1000 Center Place, Norcross, GA 30093, ATTN: John Zanders; or The Penick Village Foundation, P.O. Box 2001, Southern Pines, NC 28388. Boles Funeral Home is assisting the family.

To send flowers or a remembrance gift to the family of Miriam Eleanor Borel, please visit Boles’ Tribute Store.

Online condolences: BolesFuneralHome.com.

Mrs. Borel’s family and friends are in our thoughts and prayers at Sandhills Sentinel.

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