No longer forgotten: Stone now marks grave in Republic

PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE A stone now marks the grave for Julian B. Bordner, a Republic native who is buried in Farewell Retreat Cemetery.

REPUBLIC — People drove past and mowed over an unmarked grave in Farewell Retreat Cemetery.

They didn’t know a man was buried there.

But after nearly 40 years, that’s no longer the case.

A stone now marks the burial plot for Julian B. Bordner, a Republic native who also lived in Tiffin and died Jan. 7, 1981.

Republic resident Dennis Niederkohr said Bordner laid in a grave with nothing on it for 38 years.

“He was forgotten,” he said.

Niederkohr and friend Craig Neifer, graduates of Republic High School’s class of 1968, made the stone possible.

Neifer said his father, Sam, is buried at Farewell Retreat Cemetery in Republic. He said it’s a beautiful cemetery, and he likes to walk around.

He came across Bordner’s parents’ grave and questioned where Bordner, who graduated in 1964, was buried. He said he thought, “Where is Julian?”

“Nobody seemed to know,” he said.

Neifer talked to Niederkohr and his wife, Linda, while preparing for a class reunion. Niederkohr said he didn’t know where Bordner was buried, and his wife couldn’t find anything.

There had been a viewing for Bordner, but there were no graveside services the following day when he was going to be buried. No one knew where the burial was, and there were no pall bearers, Niederkohr said.

Niederkohr said he and Neifer know the cemetery left and right and figure Bordner had to be next to his parents. The cemetery’s caretaker confirmed their belief.

Officials probed and found the vault, Niederkohr said.

“He was next to his mother,” Neifer said.

Neifer said they were going to get him a stone, Niederkohr said.

“He had no parents left, no siblings,” he said.

Niederkohr and Neifer considered splitting the $600 cost of the stone.

“It’s a simple stone,” Niederkohr said.

But they didn’t have to shoulder the cost on their own because others — Chuck Daughenbaugh, Gene Breyman, Dennis Breyman, Larry Shock and Eric Shook — chipped in funding to make it happen. Others offered to help beyond the money needed.

When the stone arrived, though, it the wrong design and was flat and plain. But the mistake means Homer Dearsman, a former township maintenance worker who died in 1991, now also will have a stone.

The incorrect stone is being flipped over and will become the stone for Dearsman, who never had had a marker on his grave.

Niederkohr said Bordner was comical, fun to be around and a fanatic for sports, and he would clown around on the basketball court.

Bordner’s father died when he was 14 years old.

Bordner never had a lot growing up. His mother worked two jobs and took care of him the best she could, Niederkohr said.

Neifer said everybody liked Bordner, and he was a nice guy.

“He liked everybody,” Niederkohr said.