Alexej Bořkovec (1925-2010)

Dr. Alexej BořkovecSáša Bořkovec was born in Prague on October 17, 1925 and died on June 10, 2010 at his home in Silver Spring, Maryland.

After the Communist takeover in Czechoslovakia and after receiving his degree (Ing.) in Chemical Engineering from the Czech Technical University, he escaped in 1949 to Germany, where he worked for the International Refugee Organization. There in Munich he met his future wife Věra. In the spring of 1951 he and Věra and her family emigrated to Bolivia and the two were married in La Paz in August 1951. In 1952 he and his wife came to the USA.

He continued his studies at Virginia Tech, received his M.S. and his Ph.D. (1955) from that university, then worked for 3 years for Dow Chemical Company in Texas. He then went back to Virginia Tech where he taught for 2 years and 1 year at Hollins College. In 1961 he joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where he worked for 30 years as Research Scientist and Director of the Insect Reproduction Laboratory which he founded.

He was a member of the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences since its inception. He was elected SVU Vice President in 1976 and served as President of SVU Washington local chapter many times: in 1967-68 when he hosted Václav Havel, then a dissident playwright, and was re-elected President of SVU Washington after 1990. Since the „Velvet Revolution“ the Washington chapter has focused largely on cooperation wth the Czech embassy and giving assistance to the homeland when needed. Under Sáša’s leadership, the Washington Chapter of SVU was honored in 2008 with the Gratias Agit award, presented to its president by the Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs, Karel Schwarzenberg.

Sáša Bořkovec continued working for the SVU as well as for his lifetime hobby of collecting, growing, lecturing and writing about alpine flowers.

Coming from a family of musicians, he never gave up his love of the guitar and he gave a number of concerts featuring the singing of folk songs, popular songs of Voskovec and Werich, Karel Hašler, and others.

Sáša Bořkovec was an exceptional human being, a Renaissance man in every sense of the word, and a model of kindness and integrity.

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