OBITUARY: Karl Borden was a serial entrepreneur, academic, community pillar and proud husband and father

GIBBON – Karl J. Borden, 76, of Gibbon passed away on June 7, 2023, at his home, surrounded by family.

Private family services were held. A celebration of life will be held at a later date. Memorials are suggested to the Gibbon Volunteer Fire Department. Please visit to leave a tribute or message of condolence. Horner Lieske McBride & Kuhl Funeral and Cremation Services in Kearney is in charge of arrangements.

Karl was born on Dec. 17, 1946, in Akron, Ohio. He was preceded in death by his parents, Merle and Morris, and infant son, Paul. He is survived by his wife, Sandra; sons, Jason, Mark and Jacob; daughter, Anna; and seven grandchildren.

Raised in Cleveland, Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie with his younger siblings, Carol and Jack, Karl loved to ride in his father’s Buick Roadmaster convertible. Later in life, Karl refurbished 1947 and 1948 Roadmasters, in loving memory of his father.

Karl attended Hebron High School in Maine and was a track star, specializing in the 440-yard dash and 4×440 relay. He attended college at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, and graduated in 1968 after also winning a scholarship to the London School of Economics. While in London pursuing a degree in history, Karl enjoyed full access to all records contained in the British Museum. Karl would later receive his doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts in 1975 and an MBA from the University of Cincinnati in 1984.

At the age of 15, Karl first saw his future wife, Sandra Leigh, as she was drinking from a fountain in Davison, Michigan. Karl and Sandra would marry in 1969 in Wilmette, Illinois, and would have celebrated their 54th anniversary on Aug. 9. Over their marriage, they would traverse the country, from Minnesota to Massachusetts, Idaho to Ohio. They finally settled in Gibbon and have been residents for the past 30 years.

With boundless energy, Karl juggled two careers as a serial entrepreneur and an academic. While living in Omaha in the mid-80s, Karl ran multiple companies while commuting to Kearney State College (now UNK) to teach courses in finance. In 1990, Karl accepted a full-time position at UNK, and the family moved to Gibbon. Karl believed in excellence in education and was able to require his students to achieve financial knowledge and skills. He was respected by colleagues and students and served on a variety of committees. He was an ardent supporter of freedom and capitalism.

He was a pillar of the community as a member of the Rotary Club, doing a humanitarian mission to Bangladesh on his sabbatical, and anonymously contributing his time and money to countless community members in need. Karl’s interests and hobbies were as broad as they were deep, and he never wasted an opportunity to try anything new. Karl loved to play racquetball, was a collector of glass animals, and could regularly be found playing poker with friends at the Gibbon Legion. Karl also had a soft spot for hard-luck sports franchises, especially the Cleveland Indians, the Browns and the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Karl was a proud husband and father who loved his family very much. Karl found ways to make the family cohesive by boating on summer weekends, organizing international vacations, including a road trip to the Yucatan, winter skiing and summer scuba, and taking each of his three adult sons on specifically tailored expeditions.

Karl never wanted thanks or praise, preferring to remain in the shadows content with having someone else get the credit. He will be missed by his family, students, business partners and colleagues.