Obituary of Rev. Joseph Borgkvist, Jr.
Reverend Joseph Borgkvist, Jr., of West Columbia, South Carolina, went to be with the Lord Monday, October 23, 2023 at 79 years of age. “Joe” was born January 13, 1944, to Joseph and Virginia Mae Borgkvist in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Joe’s story is one for the history books because his life was a true reflection of what God can do even in the most unlikely of circumstances. After enduring a difficult home life, at age 11, he got tangled up in the “wrong crowd” and wound up serving five terms over the next seven years in a reform school named State Industrial School in Manchester, New Hampshire. Chapel attendance was a requirement and he attended religious education classes so he could have a Bible just to have something of his own. After aging out at 18, losing interest in church and trying out salesmanship, he entered the Army in 1964 as the Vietnam conflict was heating up and was shipped to Fort Dix, New Jersey for training. After a wild night in NYC, he woke up and discovered he was AWOL and panicked, fleeing to Miami. There, Joe got a job and got into a conflict with a co-worker who tried to kill him over $7 by running over him with his car, breaking his back. Now in the hospital after being AWOL for 44 days, he was caught, court marshalled and faced a 5-month recovery. By God’s grace, he received a very lenient sentence and was assigned to Fort Benning, GA where he decided to take stock in his life. He met Ira Moss, a Southern Baptist Chaplain, who gave him life-changing advice. He changed completely that day, recommitting his life to Jesus Christ. He served eight months in Vietnam where he met another Southern Baptist Chaplain, Albert Blue, who had God-inspired influence in directing Joe toward the Southern Baptist church. Joe was honorably discharged in 1967 achieving a rank of sergeant as well as receiving a letter of commendation from the major sergeant of the company and returned to Portsmouth, NH where he married nursing student, Jo-Ann Fenn, whom he met by being set up at a basketball game by his brother, Tom. Armed with his high school equivalency diploma, he began a career in insurance. Joe, Jo-Ann and their son, Chris, had to relocate to warmer weather after Jo-Ann was diagnosed with scleroderma. In Smyrna, Georgia, Joe was influenced by the Minister of Music and Youth at Fortified Hills Church, Dan Warren, who told him about the diploma program at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. God set him on the path to being a minister. With a new one month old baby girl, Rebecca, born to their family, Joe answered the Lord’s calling on his life and off to New Orleans they went. He graduated in 1978 with a 97 point average and began his duties as minister of education and youth at Northside Church. Over the years, Joe served in many Ministerial positions in Georgia and South Carolina and was passionate about bringing people to the Lord, especially youth. He served youth in countless ways. His family took in foster children over a period of time. He ministered to the troubled youth in South Carolina’s CSTOP program. I’m sure many remember the Kids Klub programs he led at First Baptist of West Columbia and at Westside Baptist Church in West Columbia. He coached youth sports and served as an umpire and referee. Joe also served as West Columbia Police department Chaplain and treasured the time spent with those in the department. He served God by serving his family well. Joe was a dedicated and loving husband even as Jo-Ann’s illness progressed over 30 years, disabling her. He was a committed Daddy to his children and raised them to understand his love was a reflection of the supreme love of God our Father. After Jo-Ann’s passing in 2005, he did what she asked and looked for a Godly woman to share the rest of his life with after her. God blessed him again with Janice, who he married in 2007 and loved tremendously until his passing. Joe and Janice laughed, loved and wonderfully blended their families. Joe accepted and loved her children and grandchildren as if they were of his own flesh and blood. He was so proud of all his family. He also cherished the wonderful times spent with his siblings as adults. They turned into big kids when they got together and he loved every minute of that. Pastor Joe ultimately retired as a career minister from Cayce First Baptist Church but his ministry didn’t stop there. He was a committed servant and member of Fellowship Baptist Church in Lexington and was passionate about his role their as Sunday School Director until his health began to limit his ability in more recent times. After that, his ministry still didn’t end, God just evolved it into being passionate about sharing Jesus with whoever he met and interacted with. He once said, “It pains me to think of my past, but it’s there. And God can use it if a person will let Him.” God surely used Joe and he let Him. An unlikely beginning blossomed into a legacy left pointing us all to God who can use anyone’s story for His Glory. Amen.
Reverend Borgkvist was preceded in death by his parents and his first wife, Jo-Ann Fenn Borgkvist; brother-in-law, Roger Fenn; sister-in-law, Grace Borgkvist; brother-in law, Richard Isom; daughter-in-law, Cindy Borgkvist; and niece, Michele Blood.
Left behind to cherish his memory are his wife, Janice Dye Borgkvist; daughter and son-in-law, Rebecca “Becky” and John Crow; stepdaughter, Christina “Tina” Hoops and her husband Leslie; son, Joseph C. “Chris” Borgkvist and his wife Cathy; stepson and his wife, Brian and Kristin Martin; sisters, Joanne Isom and Jeanna Morse; brothers, Thomas Borgkvist, Dana Borgkvist, Gary Borgkvist, and Stephen M. Routh and his wife Sig. Also, nine adored grandchildren and seven treasured great grandchildren as well as several deeply loved nieces and nephews.
A funeral service will be held at Holland Avenue Baptist Church in Cayce, SC, Saturday, October 28, 2023 at 2pm, followed by entombment at Elmwood Memorial Gardens and Mausoleum.
Thompson Funeral Home of Lexington is honored to be assisting with the arrangements.