An Uncle's Eulogy
by Jim Borris
Saturday, September 2, 2006
Hello – I’m John’s Uncle Jim and also Sally’s brother.I met John for the first time in South Bend shortly after he was born. We got off to an interesting start riding in the car - John tucked snugly in his little car seat in the back. Sally was in the back seat with John - I was in the front with Bill where I happened to come across a horrible Halloween mask – and thinking John would enjoy a little fun I put on the mask… turned around and yelledboo right in John’s face. John screamed for about an hour – I learned he wasn’t shy.
John was the first child born to the Borris kids – the first grandchild for my mom and dad; the first son for my sister Sally; and the first nephew for my sister Sue and I. Just for being first John was special to the Borris family the day he was born.
John was my only nephew for quite awhile and we became close because we both loved to play. At family gatherings it was tackle football, tag, pennies (throw them in the light fixtures) or just throw the ball around.
Back then probably what I enjoyed most about John was inflicting various tortures until I forced him to yell (what I thought was appropriate) “Uncle”. My favorite techniques were a finger crunch or calf squeeze. You all need to know – John was one tough kid and a real fighter even back then (by the way I don’t think my sister was thrilled with all this but Bob never had a problem… If you want more info about this,Jim can share with you – he too was a target).
In John’s later years I came to know him as just about the most charismatic, up and positive person I knew. John loved life. John laughed. John had purpose. John was interesting. John asked a lot of questions and was sincerely interested. John came to my house eachyear for Christmas dinner. When he arrived (usually late) and came through the door, life came with him.
The last time I was with John we sat together at Jim’s graduation. John loved being there; he was happy to be with family and really proud of Jim. He asked lots ofquestions about my family, job and personal life – not much was out of bounds for John. John made me feel good that day.
John struggled mightily in his last years but the side I saw and will remember is much different.