In Memory sorted alphabetically

Roman Borek - Year Entered 1974

Bob Gerringer (1967)

Roman Borek died Monday, December 9; he was 80 years old.  This is not an obituary since there are many specifics I do not know, but I wanted to notify all of you, and to share my thoughts.  He had successfully battled stomach cancer a couple of years ago, but this past September, very serious stomach/liver issues arose which, although not actually a reoccurrence of the cancer, nevertheless proved insurmountable, even with four surgeries since September.

I only first met Roman in 2013 when I was planning the 2015 AC Reunion in Pasadena.  I asked him to "give a tour" of the Auditorium prior to lunch in the Student Center -- and, wow, did he overachieve!!  Rather than a tour, Roman (known in some circles by the moniker "Mr. Ambassador") captivated some 200 of us for over an hour, both in the Lobby, and then seated inside the Auditorium.  He spoke with passion and articulation -- a man who loved that structure (e.g. he knew the exact number and function of every acoustical piece attached to the ceiling and walls), the artists, and the artistic wonders which had taken place within it.  He inspired laughter, tears, and amazement as he regaled us with stories of Pavarotti, Rubinstein, Barbara Cook, Sinatra, Hope, Crosby, the Berlin Philharmonic, and others.

Roman became a student at AC in September, 1974, and was quickly named "House Manager of Ambassador Auditorium", a position he held for fifteen years.  In addition to managing the Auditorium, perhaps his key role was as the person who would interact most closely with the many guest artists who performed there, including all of the above.  He was AC's "ambassador" to those performers, and part of the reason they so relished performing in this venue.

If you have not already done so, or even if you have, please, please click on "Roman Borek Auditorium Video" at the top of this webpage.  It is the video of Roman's Auditorium presentation on Feb 28, 2015, and will give you insights into Roman as relays his memories of some of the most storied performances from the heyday of the Ambassador Auditorium.

And one last treat: the morning of July 27 of this year, at our one-day AC Reunion in the Student Center, a lucky few (80+) accompanied Roman back over to the Auditorium for an encore performance of his 2015 presentation.  This time Roman included even more facts about the acoustical prowess of this performance hall (currently home to the Pasadena Symphony), and delivered an even more powerful and emotional retelling of his interactions with Bing and Kathryn Crosby, as well as other artists.  I could have listened for hours more, and Roman knew how much we all appreciated his talk.

He served the community of Pasadena in many ways, including over forty years as a member of the Tournament of Roses -- one of the many red- or white-coated volunteers who make the Rose Parade possible.

Roman Borek was a very classy, bright, positive, selfless, caring, and completely irreplaceable gentleman.  I cherish what little time I was able to spend with him. 

We will post his obituary in "In Memory" when it becomes available.


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12/13/19 02:21 AM #1    

Ronald Mundell (1975)

I am so sorry I was unable to make it to any reunionns.

I met Roman in 1975, and he was a really good person. He was always helpful, and sincere.

Truly sorry to hear of his passing.

Ron Mundell

12/13/19 07:43 AM #2    

Marvin Plakut (1975)

RIP dear old friend.

12/16/19 12:28 AM #3    

Cledice Decker (1959)

From Robin Connelly:


Like Ben Franklin, it may be said:

Like the cover of an old book, 

Its contents torn out,

And stripped of its lettering and gilding,

Lies here food for worms.

But the work shall not be lost,

For it will, as he believed,

Appear once more

In a new and more elegant edition,

corrected and improved

By the Author.

12/16/19 10:00 AM #4    

John Beaver (1967)

John Beaver here:

Roman knew I loved great voices and went out of his way to get me a seat on the stage of the AC Auditorium for Pavarotti, Milnes and Monseratte Cabella, even arranging a face-to-face meeting with Luciano in the Green Room after his concert.  He did this out of the kindness of his heart, for me. 

Roman was in the category we label as "a prince of a man."

 Thanks Roman.   JOB

12/20/19 02:37 PM #5    

Cledice Decker (1959)

Posted on Facebook by Gary Leonard

Roman Andrew Borek September 10, 1939 - December 9, 2019

I first met Roman in January of 1976 when I started working as an usher at the Ambassador Auditorium. Roman was the House Manager for the world-renown concert series.

He was a great mentor to this kid who had just moved from a small town in Ohio to the wonders of the Los Angeles basin. He worked with each of us training us to work with the public and the rising stars on the classical music scene at that time. During this time Roman would take a small group of us to local fine dining restaurants in LA so that we could experience the wonders of fine dining and the exquisite work of the chefs. From Perino’s, The Brown Derby to the Scandia restaurant, we gained a new appreciation for beauty and refined taste.

Due to Roman’s work in the Auditorium and connections in England, he worked closely with Prince Philip and Princess Anne when they were here in Los Angeles for the 1984 Olympics. They stayed at the Ritz Carlton here in Pasadena and Roman's work was closely involved in their stay here while Princess Anne was competing in Equestrian events. Roman was a major Anglophile and was fascinated by royalty, its customs, its music, and the pageantry. We were able to travel together to England and Europe one year with other friends. He was in his element when in England though.

In 1980, we both joined the Pasadena Tournament of Roses and became white suiters. Roman retired out of the regular tournament activities at age 67 but continued working in the Tournament Auxiliary committee where he worked in the VIP grandstands with the planning for the rose parade.

In addition to his volunteerism in the Tournament of Roses, Roman was very active in the Fine Arts Club of Pasadena which encourages and champions new rising musicians and artists in the area.

Roman love to explore Los Angeles and California. We drove many a mile together exploring California, Salt Lake City and Utah.

For the last 16 years, Roman was up early each Sunday morning to work on the Altar Guild at All Saints Episcopal Church here in Pasadena. He would help get everything set up for the services. Being the fitness buff he was, you could find him early Sunday morning having push-up contests with the sound guys at the church. He was always ready to assist me in my flower jobs there for Christmas and Easter, not as a designer, but as the clean-up guy who cleaned behind me and others as we designed. His eye for perfection kept us all making things look great as we worked.

Roman has touched my life deeply as he has literally thousands of others over the decades.

Roman will be greatly missed.

01/10/20 11:46 AM #6    

Cledice Decker (1959)

Official Obituary for Roman Borek

Roman Andrew Borek Obituary

On Dec. 9, 2019, Roman Andrew Borek (RAB), the family's newest octogenarian, a devoted Christian and disciple of scriptures, journeyed to Our Almighty Savior.

Roman was preceded in death by his parents, Andrew and Teofila (née Piontek); infant brother, Joseph; sister, Eleanor Borek Lulkoski; and sister-in-law, Elizabeth Ann Doyle Borek.

Roman is survived by his brothers, Andrew and wife, Barbara, Newton (Clark's Summit, Pa); and Francis, Bloomfield, N.J.; twin brother, Edward, who resides at the family homestead in the village of Milwaukee (Clark's Summit, Pa.); and several nieces and nephews. At the homestead, the twins were delivered into life by a midwife. It is a place Roman enjoyed immensely during his early years. He always returned to his homestead with a biannually extended visit to include participating in the Borek/Pendrak family reunion, of which he was an active and key committee member.

RAB attended Newton-Ransom High School. He served as class president, valedictorian, and was a member of the National Honor Society. He received the American Legion Award and the Reader's Digest Foundation Award. RAB received a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, Pa. He studied European history of the 20th century at Columbia University in New York City and undertook graduate studies in child psychology at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, N.J. He received a master's degree in theology at Ambassador College, Pasadena, Calif.

RAB was the business house manager at Ambassador Auditorium. The position involved him with visits by Queen Sirikit of Thailand, Mrs. Anwar (Jehan) Sadat, five-star Gen. Omar Bradley, Abba Eban and many other dignitaries. He worked with Bing Crosby, Arthur Rubinstein and Gene Kelly on TV specials. Other performances included but were not limited to the London Symphony Orchestra, the Moscow Ballet, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo. He also worked with Bob Hope, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, Vladimir Horowitz, Leonard Bernstein, Lucille Ball, Joan Sutherland, Beverly Sills, Olympic diver Greg Louganis and Olympic high jumper Dwight Stones. After several years of working with Ambassador Auditorium, RAB was known as "Mr. Ambassador." He was also a charter member of the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation.

During the 1984 Summer Olympics, RAB was host to Prince Phillip and Princess Anne of England. During their stay in Los Angeles, he was responsible for the Royals and their entourage. This forged a friendship and invitation to have a private tour of Buckingham Palace. Roman was captivated by the protocol and splendor of the monarchy and produced several museum-quality replicas of royal crowns, which he presented at various events.

RAB was an integral member of the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena for 40 years. Family and friends were treated to the red carpet treatment to both the parade and bowl game. Activities included private tours of floats being built, the kickoff luncheon, seats in the main grandstand for the parade and great seats for the game. Roman was best at making everyone feel like a VIP. RAB was a member, officer and/or board member/director for the following organization: the Fine Arts Club of Pasadena, MacDowell Club of Allied Arts, Pasadena Conservatory of Music, Gamble House, Pasadena Arts Council. English Speaking Union, and Tanglewood Music Festival. RAB received the Gold Crown Award from the Fine Arts Club of Pasadena. A man who lived his life simply and modestly, he was lavish in his giving, both of his time and resources, including substantial financial contributions to fine arts education. A tribute and honor, and celebration of life for his meaningful contributions to society, RAB was gifted a substantial living endowment for the University of Southern California students' awards program. A very proud moment during past decades for RAB was to be the presenter of the USC awards for the Roman Andrew Borek Collaborative Art Scholarship, which is presented to an international doctoral candidate at USC. This scholarship will continue in memory of RAB.

RAB was recognized in the original society register of the Southern California Bluebook. RAB traveled to Poland to do extensive research on family ancestry. The research aided RAB in producing and publishing the Borek/Pendrak Family Reunion History Book consisting of seven generations of family trees and photos. He was instrumental in the biennial Borek/Pendrak Family Reunion, a tradition that began in 1945 to honor WWII veterans, which is held at the Borek homestead where RAB grew up.

RAB also coordinated a 21-day trip to China for 200 Ambassador candidates as a guest of the Republic of China and the Premier. He went to Israel on two separate occasions for archaeological digs. He visited England multiple times, Buckingham Palace being the first stop on his list to see the Royal Family. He also visited Syria, Jordan, Egypt, took several business cruises to South America, the Panama Canal, the Caribbean and Hawaii.

Mr. Ambassador, a life well-lived, eternal rest, Amen.

Published in Scranton Times from Jan. 5 to Jan. 6, 2020

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