On April 1, 1985, a ray of sunshine was born in Dothan, Alabama. Little did the world know that this April Fool’s baby, William Robert Borland, would leave an indelible mark on the hearts of everyone he touched. Will, as he was affectionately known, possessed a unique ability to draw people into his warm embrace, love them fiercely, and effortlessly bring laughter into their lives. Tragically, on Tuesday, September 26, 2023, at the tender age of 38, Will’s journey on this earth came to an end due to unexpected health complications. He passed away peacefully, surrounded by his devoted family and close friends, leaving behind a legacy that will forever endure.
Will’s legacy finds its most cherished manifestation in his beloved family. He leaves behind his loving wife, Jennie, and their 6-year-old twins, Franklin and Stella, who were the very heartbeat of his life. Beyond his immediate family, his tight-knit circle includes his mother, Nancy, and sister, Mary Kathryn. He is also survived by his in-laws, Mindy and Dick Bodenhamer, Anna and Stefano Daneri, and their children, his niece and nephew, Willa and Sonny. In our collective imagination, we picture Will being welcomed into the embrace of his grandparents, Beth and Emile Evans, who departed from this world in the past year and a half, knowing that their beloved grandson was joining them in a better place.
Will’s story began in Dothan, Alabama, where he spent his formative years. He graduated from Northview High School, a place where he not only honed his skills on the football field but also showcased his thespian talents on the stage. He regaled his friends and family with tales of playing the role of Nicely-nicely Johnson in the school play, as well as holding the esteemed position of first chair saxophone player in the school band. Under the Friday night lights, he was not just “number 55 in your programs” but “number one in your hearts,” a sentiment that held true for all who had the privilege of knowing him.
After graduating from high school, Will embarked on his academic journey at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia. Yet, his heartstrings pulled him closer to family and friends, leading him to Auburn University, where he would meet the love of his life, Jennie. Will often spoke about how their paths crossed at the perfect moment. Upon their graduation from Auburn, Will and Jennie decided to make Birmingham their home, where they began building a life together. Their love story culminated in a beautiful marriage on March 17, 2012, surrounded by their cherished family and friends.
The greatest surprise and joy of Will and Jennie’s lives came in the fall of 2016 when they learned that they were expecting twins. Will embraced fatherhood with an unparalleled enthusiasm and devotion. Stella became “Daddy’s Little Princess,” and Franklin, “Daddy’s Little Buddy.” Will ruled his household with love and affection, leaving an indelible imprint on his children’s lives. His absence is palpable, but his presence is ever-felt.
In the wake of Will’s passing, his family and friends have rallied together, proving the strength of the village that surrounds us during difficult times. Will has bestowed upon all who knew and loved him a remarkable legacy – a lesson to cherish our loved ones, hold them close, express our love, and embrace life to the fullest.
A memorial service will be held to celebrate Will’s life at Trinity United Methodist in Homewood, Alabama, at 1 pm on Saturday, September 30. Instead of flowers, the family kindly requests that you consider making donations in Will’s honor to Trinity’s Children’s Ministry. This contribution will serve as a lasting tribute to Will’s memory and support the nurturing and loving environment where his own children, along with many others, will flourish for years to come. You can send your donations to 1400 Oxmoor Road, Homewood, AL 35209.
In the wake of Will’s passing, we are reminded of the profound impact one person can have on the lives of those around them. William Robert Borland, a beloved husband, father, son, brother, and friend, will forever remain in our hearts as a beacon of love, laughter, and legacy. His memory will continue to inspire us to live our lives with the same unwavering devotion, infectious laughter, and boundless love that he shared with all of us. Will may be gone from our sight, but he will never be absent from our hearts.