John E. Borders, 80, passed away peacefully at his home in Altus, Oklahoma on Friday, December 29, 2023, with family by his side. A Memorial Service is scheduled for 2:00 PM on Saturday, January 6, 2024, at the Kincannon Memorial Chapel. Family visitation will be at Kincannon’s at 1:00 PM on January 6th. Cremation arrangements are under the care of Kincannon Funeral Home and Cremation Service.
John was born November 27, 1943, in Cisco, Texas to Pauline (Perkins) and John E. Borders, Sr. The family moved to Ft. Worth, Texas, the original Borders home, where John was raised and graduated from high school. He attended Texas Christian University and graduated in 1966. He went on to attend Baylor Law School for one year before joining the United States Air Force in September of 1967. John studied Spanish in school which led him to serve in Panama instead of Vietnam. He was eventually stationed at Altus Air Force Base, and he liked Altus, Oklahoma “a city with a future to share”. While John was still in the Air Force, he opened a music store, Tape Tavern, that sold current single records and albums and specialized in screen printing on shirts and caps, later selling VCR cassettes. John did not re – enlist with the USAF but remained in Altus living in the back of the Tape Tavern store. The Tape Tavern was relocated to 219 N. Main Street, which would become Crown Jewelry in 1989.
It was in 1982 that John met Debra Ann Fessenden. She worked for the Jackson County Court Clerk’s office. A co-worker and close friend, Cindy Santiago, felt sure that the two would be a good match so she did just that, matched them up! Cindy and her husband, John and John and Debra played many, many games of cards in early spring of 1982. John and Debra were united in marriage on November 26, 1982, in the Forest Restaurant on Broadway. The Forest Restaurant was a two-story home that John owned and where Forest Ray later opened a successful restaurant. Debra remembered that day well because it was Thanksgiving Day, an afternoon spent with family and friends, and of course, ten-year-old April and two-year-old Curtis who John loved with his whole heart.
John was an entrepreneur at heart and a man with a strong work ethic. In fact, John went back to work at the Tape Tavern the day after the wedding. But this was the quality Debra fell in love with and that made them a team. John started Crown Jewelry of Altus in 1984, a business that was ideal for the two of them to use their individual talents to make it thrive. John went to Bench Jeweler’s school in addition to reading and personal research to learn the trade. He learned the Skill of Lost Wax cast making, taking old gold and making new pieces, a new skill that helped the store to thrive.
John always supported the idea of a new business in his life and in the lives of his friends and family. When son, Curtis, had the idea to open a cell phone store, John supported this, and they worked together to open Cellular Plus. This led to other business ventures with friends and family throughout the years: Computer Plus, Crown Electronics, JB’s Java, Main Street Grill, Café Altus, Main Street Mercantile and JB’s Used Books.
John was active on multiple boards, one of which was Jackson County Memorial Hospice. He was passionate about the opportunity to offer more health services to people facing imminent death. John had a soft spot for animals, especially his dog, Dora. He, along with Keith Phillips and Herring Bank, raised money for the Altus Animal Shelter for several years on Dora’s birthday.
John was an active member of Grace United Methodist Church where he served on many committees, was a passionate student of the Bible, and for years, taught Sunday School and financial classes for Christians.
John was preceded in death by his parents, John and Pauline. Those left to carry John’s legacy are his wife of 41 years, Debra; daughter, April Preston and husband, Shannon and son, Curtis Cotner; Houston Green, who was like a son to John; grandchildren, Connor Preston and wife, Brittni, Alexis, and John Preston; close friend, Susan Matey; his beloved canine companion, Dora; and many, many friends.
In lieu of flowers the family graciously requests that donations in John’s name be made to the Memorial Fund at Grace United Methodist Church, 620 S. Park Lane, Altus, Oklahoma 73521 or to the charity of your choice. The church provides several outreach missions to the community. Online tributes may be made at www.kincannonfuneralhome.com. The memorial service livestream may be viewed at https://youtu.be/0Gg6lDCpvjg.