Former band director is now photographer
by Margaret Anderson
Special to The Star
Oct 02, 2013 | 1574 views |  0 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Doug Borden with his camera. Photo: Anita Kilgore/The Jacksonville News
Doug Borden with his camera. Photo: Anita Kilgore/The Jacksonville News
After Doug Borden graduated from Alexandria High School in 1950, he enrolled at Jacksonville State College, later Jacksonville State University, with a scholarship in music. The following spring during the Korean War, Borden left school to join the Air Force. He was stationed at Rapid City, S. D., where for two and a half years he played trumpet in the 612th Air Force Band.

After the war, he returned to Jacksonville State, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in music education in May 1956. Borden was hired as band and choral director for Piedmont High School in June 1956 by the Piedmont City Board of Education. W. H. Kimbrough was the superintendent at the time. 

During his first four years of teaching, he also earned a master’s degree in secondary administration. Borden remained band director until May 1975, leaving choral music four or five years earlier. 

“I loved the kids and the music,” he said. “We just had a good time. It was hard work. It was uphill and downhill, good times and bad times, but I really enjoyed it. I loved the kids and still do like they were my own.” 

After Borden left the band, he taught social studies in the middle school for 11 years. He retired after 30 years of teaching in 1986. He and his wife, Joy, who also taught, often get invited to many class reunions, but find that over the years more and more of their fellow teachers are unable to attend.

Borden bought his first camera at a young age. He taught himself about photography, just as he taught himself how to play the trumpet. He started his own photography business in 1975. He captured mostly weddings, proms, beauty pageants, church functions and family. 

His right hand man was Joy. 

“She kept a list of what to do, and I did it,” he said. 

His photographs have captured many special moments for many people over the years.

After his retirement from teaching, Borden began a new career with Bill Miller Photography, which he continued until 1994. During this time, he took thousands of photographs at schools across the state, often seeing former students.

“Some of them taught at the schools I was at,” he remembers. “It was great seeing what all they had accomplished.”

Borden no longer works professionally, but continues to enjoy taking photographs of football, basketball, spring flowers and fall scenery. 

“I like scenery,” he said. “I learned to love photographing it from my experience in South Dakota. I guess that’s when I started getting serious about photography. I enjoyed that part of the country. It’s a different and beautiful world out there.”

Borden said he doesn’t climb trees anymore like he did during his hunting days, but he still likes to shoot a gun. He frequently shoots skeet at Owl’s Holler in Etowah County.

“I try to keep moving,” he said, “because I’ve heard that once you stop, you stay stopped, and I don’t want to stop until I have to.” 

He reloads all his own ammunition. He shoots pistols, rifles and shotguns.

What Borden looks forward to the most these days are the Friday night football games. 

“I’m always on the sidelines taking pictures,” he said. “I’m slower than I used to be, but I’m going to keep going as long as I can. I’m in pretty good health for my 81 years, I think. A lot of people tell me how I still look really good, and I say that if I felt that good, then I’d be great.”

Borden is a deacon at the First Baptist Church and sings in the choir.

The Bordens have two daughters. Felecia Steward and her husband, Mike, live in Spring Garden. Susan Trammell and her husband, Jimmy, live in Piedmont. The Bordens have five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

As Borden ended the interview he said, “I want to thank The Piedmont Journal for giving me the opportunity to reminisce and to thank so many people who have been a part of my life, especially Joy, my wife of 60 years.”

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Former band director is now photographer by Margaret Anderson
Special to The Star

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