Jane W. Borg, a major player at the Pajaro Valley Historical Association and a virtual encyclopedia on the history of the Pajaro Valley, died earlier this week following a stroke in May. She had been living in Seaside, Ore., where she purchased a condominium in 2011.
A homemaker, retired teacher and PVHA volunteer, Borg first arrived in the Pajaro Valley in 1937. She graduated from Watsonville Joint Union High School in 1948.
She married Gerry Borg and they had four sons. After 57 years of marriage, Gerry Borg passed away in March 2011. Jane worked eight years as a Title One resources teacher at Freedom School before retiring in 1983.
Borg volunteered at the PVHA for close to 30 years and was an instrumental player in developing the vast archives of photographs, news clippings, post cards and such that represent the Pajaro Valley.
I’ve always considered being able to work with Jane on various projects over the years an absolute joy. Her kindness, warmth and sense of humor all blended together to make her a rare person. Jane helped me tremendously in getting a better grip of what the Pajaro Valley is.
In a previous interview with the Register-Pajaronian, Borg said she had always been intrigued by the history of agriculture in the Pajaro Valley and how shipping agriculture products went from large ships out of Moss Landing to the railroad out of Pajaro and Watsonville to the development of highway systems and trucking transportation.
Borg paid deep respect to Watsonville historian and author Betty Lewis and author and lecturer Sandy Lydon for their efforts in recording and sharing local history.
Borg said one of her favorite things about living in the Pajaro Valley was “Continuing to learn and think about the land and its history: Where the ranchos were, where the earliest orchards were, the layout of the earliest roads, what the views could have been 150 years ago, how people moved about. Equally, I enjoy thinking about the people who live here today.”
In 1990, Borg was named Woman of the Year by the Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture alongside Man of the Year John Kegebein.
A long time friend of Borg, Doug Mattos, said “Jane was probably my favorite student when I taught at Adult Education. She was always eager to learn. She was always anxious to share her knowledge of the history of the Pajaro Valley. I loved her passion and interest to teaching people about the rich history of the Pajaro Valley. She was definitely a great person.”
Ron Haedicke called Borg a “one in a million person.”
“Not only did she know everything about the Pajaro Valley, she made history in the Pajaro Valley,” Haedicke said. “It was her research and her work with the Pajaro Valley that brought so much to the surface and led to the creation of the Borina Archive and Alzora Snyder and Jane Borg Research Center. She never said ‘no’ to anybody. She was a spark plug, and was always there and she wasn’t afraid to get in there and help. Jane really helped bring me up to speed on what made the Pajaro Valley tick.”