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The Walworthians: Gary C. Borkhuis

The Walworthians


A collection of telephone interviews published in the Wayne County STAR Newspaper and Wayne County MAIL Newspaper, 1994-209

by Kate Chamberlin

Gary C. Borkhuis

November 08, 1997.

Gary C. Borkhuis is one of the people in our neighborhood. He is a dedicated family man, entrepreneur and very active in our local community.

In 1967, Gary and his wife, Connie, were living in a rented home on Bills Road. They bought 5-1/2 acres from her uncle, George Frey and began to build the home they still live in today.

“I’ve always been an avid do-it-yourselfer,” Gary said. “I get it from my dad, I think, because, when I was thirteen, he built our home. It planted the seed for me to build my own home.”

Gary spoke about how he and Connie had an active hand in every inch of building their home, from pouring foundations to shingling the roof, to installing solar panels.

In 1969, they moved into their new home with their infant son, Michael. As they continued to work on finishing their home, they also added to their family: Rhonda, Michelle and David.

Gary, whose birthday is December 12th,  was graduated from Penfield High School in 1959 with a Regents Diploma. His special areas of interest were math, science and Industrial Arts. He joined the work force at Kodak through the Apprenticeship Program.   He took several engineering courses during his tenure at Kodak and accepted early retirement in 1991.

Well, he didn’t actually retire, he just retreaded. He took courses at FLCC in Horticulture and began a Tree Planting Business.

It seemed to me to be a big jump from tree planting to the car wash business, so, I asked Gary how he got interested in car washing.

“When I was a legislative assistant to Bob Oaks in 1993 and 1994,” he said, “I had to drive to Lyons several days a week. I’d pass a little car wash on the east side of Newark. I’m mechanically inclined and I wondered how it worked.”

Gary researched various car wash businesses and liked what he’d learned. It was a self-serve cash business where the customer provides his own labor and on-site inventory is low.

As he was planning his own car wash, he consulted with architects to design a building that would be both functional and efficient. He invested in quality equipment to maximize water efficiency. The reverse osmosis filter system assures each customer a quality, spot-free rinse.

He also collaborated with Barbara Cotnam of Creative Landscape Designs, because he felt an obligation to do a quality job of landscaping his business site to meld with the up-scale neighborhood.

Now that he has his own car wash in the Gananda section of Walworth, he’s finding out that owning a business that is open 24-hours a day is a lot like owning a dairy herd!

“We have to check on the building, supplies and machines several times a day!”  He lamented. “We will have to hire someone to take care of the car wash whenever we go to visit one of our grown-up children.”

Gary feels that the Gananda area has, of course, made the biggest change in the town make-up since he’s been living here, and yet, Walworth has the feel of the old Penfield area he grew up in years ago.

“I’d like to see more business development brought into Walworth,” he said. “I’d like to have the area from West Walworth to Canandaigua Road, zoned a commercial/industrial corridor. We need to have a bank, grocery store, a restaurant and a drug store to revitalize the hamlet. Maybe even a Senior Citizen’s Complex.”

Oh, Dear Gussie, spoken like a real politician! Actually, Gary has given a lot of thought about what he’d like to facilitate in our town and how to do it. He is running for Walworth Town Supervisor.

Hm-m-m-m, I could advise him about blending an up-scale Senior Living Center with a quality Child Day-Care Center!

Well, whatever the election out-come is, Gary, thank you for being a Walworthian with the accent on worth.

2018 Up-Date: Obituary: Borkhuis, Gary C.

West Walworth: Tuesday, April 30, age 71, peacefully at home surrounded by his family after a hard fought battle with cancer. Predeceased by his parents, Claude and Helen Borkhuis and his sister, Sharon Wink. Survived by his loving wife of 48 years, Connie Frey Borkhuis; 4 children, Michael Borkhuis, Rhonda Borkhuis, Michelle (Brian Whitcomb) Borkhuis, David (Gianna) Borkhuis; 7 grandchildren, Jonah, Liam and Sam Whitcomb, Catalina, Marianna and Calvin Borkhuis and Macarana Dias; brothers, Ronald (Donna Lowry) and Dale Borkhuis; several nieces and nephews.

Gary retired from Eastman Kodak Co. He served on the Walworth Town Board and owned and operated Quality Tree Planters, Fairway Car Wash and Evergreen Hills Self Storage. He was a long time member of the Pultneyville Mariners Sailing Club.

Friends may call 12-3PM Saturday, May 11th at Willard H. Scott Funeral Home, 12 South Ave., Webster with services to be held immediately following. A celebration of Gary’s life will continue at West Walworth Fire Hall, 3870 West Walworth Rd., Walworth, NY 14502. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the West Walworth Fire Department or the Wilmot Cancer Center.

Published in Rochester Democrat And Chronicle on May 5, 2013


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