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David W. Borst and Dr. George Abraham, Ph.D. founded the
Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS)
while students at Brown University in Rhode Island.
DAVID W. BORST (August 5, 1918 to December 1, 2000)(IBS CO-FOUNDER)
The son of social workers Homer and Ruth Wilson Borst, David entered the
world on August 5, 1918 in Jacksonville, Florida. But the Sunshine
State was not to remain his home for long, as his father's job with
Community Chest caused a number of rapid relocations New Orleans until
1920, Minneapolis until 1923, and Indianapolis until 1929.
Although his tenures in these places were short, they saw the formation
of many of his lifelong interests. A grade school program provided
instruments to interested students and Dave picked up the violin.
Having come from a musical family -- his mother played the piano, his
father the trumpet Dave had a facility for the instrument and would
continue to play well into adulthood. Two other lifelong interests
began in grade school as well a knack for engineering, instigated when
his father brought home a battery operated motor, and a passion for
railroads, spurred on by yearly train trips to his grandparents' cottage
in Westbrook, Connecticut. Summers in Westbrook included excursions to
the White Mountains of New Hampshire and to Acacia National Park in
Maine as well as one memorable summer in the Rocky Mountain town of
Eldora. This trip, taken when Dave was seven years old, began his
much-talked-about fascination with Colorado.
In 1929, the family moved to Yonkers, New York and then onto Bronxville
in 1931. Although his parents were Unitarian and sent him to a Dutch
Reformed Church Sunday School, his voice brought him every Sunday to the
nearby Episcopal Church where he joined the choir and was promoted to
³solo boy.² Unfortunately, his solo career was cut short after two
performances when his voice changed and he was quickly ushered down to
the alto section. Neither discouraged nor dissuaded, Dave continued to
sing in church choirs the rest of his life.
As he belonged to both the Bronxville High School orchestra and drama
club, Dave would often play his violin during the overtures of Gilbert
and Sullivan operettas before dashing backstage to don his costume for
the performance. He appeared in ³The Pirates of Penzance,² ³HMS
Pinafore,² and ³Trial by Jury,² as well as the senior play ³Death Takes
It was in Bronxville that he began tinkering with radios. He and friend
Bill Orr constructed radio sets out of spare parts they salvaged and
bought in lower Manhattan. Dave took numerous subway trips in pursuit
of this hobby and passed a code test to earn his call letters 2IAU. He
joined the Amateur Radio Club at Bronxville High, but the real work was
done at home. Ham radio was a thrill for him in those days as it
allowed him to reach out to other people.
When his family moved to Connecticut in 1935, Dave remained behind to
graduate from Bronxville High in 1936. Winning a scholarship to Brown
University, he spent four years in Providence, Rhode Island before
graduating in 1940 with a degree in electrical engineering.
At Brown, he co-founded the nation's first student run college radio
station the Brown Network -- with fellow student George Abraham. The
initial system worked on wires connected to radio receivers in
individual dorm rooms. For longer broadcasts, the system ran under
Dave's ham radio call letters 1KFG, but soon evolved into an AM station
under the present call letters WBRU. Dave and George went on to form
the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS) in February of 1940.
Through IBS, Dave helped other colleges establish their own stations by
distributing copies of his engineering booklet and helping them register
with the FCC. The concept of college radio was born.
While at Brown, Dave was also a member of the Glee Club, the Beta Theta
Phi fraternity, and continued in the 2nd violin section of the
university orchestra. It was there that he first met a cellist named
Helen Thomas. They were married in Providence in 1941.
After graduation, Dave began work at General Electric in the department
that handled Heavy Rectifier Equipment. During World War II, he
interviewed for the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee but
ultimately stayed on at GE in the military contract department. There
he helped coordinate and develop improvements to the TBX system, a
floating 2-way radio for the Marine Corps.
The GE plant was in Schenectady, so Dave and Helen bought a home across
the river in Scotia, New York, where they lived from 1941 to 1954. Dave
and Helen played in the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra together until the
appearance of three children Linda, David, Jr., and Ruth. After the
children were born, Dave switched over to a male choral group known as
the Schubert Club in order to share babysitting duties with Helen. He
soon became president of the group and also sang with the local church
choir. In 1954, he relocated to a GE department in Lynnfield Center,
Massachusetts. Three years later, the department moved down to
Dave took up community theatre in Lynchburg when his wifeıs group needed
an actor for their play ³The Bees and the Flowers.² Faced with the
choice of an undesirable choir solo or time at the theatre, he opted for
the stage -- but found he really liked it. Unfortunately, the move to
Lynchburg lasted only a year before a departmental relocation sent the
family back north again, this time to Springfield, Pennsylvania. They
stayed in Springfield until 1961 when Dave left GE for International
Rectifier and moved his family to Palos Verdes, California, where he
would spend the rest of his life.
In California, he and Helen continued their theatre involvement with the
Palos Verdes Players where Dave received a number of awards including
the 1974 and 1977 Presidentıs Awards, the 1964-65 VIP Award, and the
1963 Production Award. In addition, he held a number of offices
including President, Business Manager, Secretary, Treasurer, Theatre
Manager and Producer. His sound engineering skills remained in use at
the theatre up through the 1990s.
Dave was named to the Board of Elders at the Palos Verdes Neighborhood
Church in 1981. He was President of the Church board in 1983.
Continuing a tradition, he sang in the church choir for thirty-nine
At IBS, he held a number of offices including President, Chairman of the
Board and Chairman of the West Coast Division.
In 1978, he was named Fellow of the Institute of Electrical Engineers
(IEEE) for his contributions in the application of power semiconductor
devices. That same year, he received an Industry Applications Society
(IAS) award for his work on Standards. From the Electronic Industries
Association, he received the Achievement Award, Certificate of
Appreciation and 1984 Distinguished Contribution Award, Engineering
For IEEE, he served as Papers and Publication Chairman at the AIEE
Conference on Rectifiers in Industry, 1957; Program Chairman at the AIEE
Third Conference on Rectifiers in Industry, 1962; Secretary of the Power
Semiconductor Committee at IAS from 1966-68; Publication Chairman of the
International Semiconductor Power Converter Conference in 1972; Chairman
of the Transactions Papers Working Group of the Power Semiconductor
committee at IAS from 1974-76; Secretary of the International
Semiconductor Power Converter Conference in 1977; Chairman of the
Industrial Power Conversion Systems Dept. at IAS from 1977-80;
Member-at-Large of the Industry Applications Society from 1981-83;
Honorary General Chairman of the International Semiconductor Power
Converter Conference in 1982; Member of the Meetings Committee at IEEE
Power Electronics Council from 1985-89; Member of the Program Committee
at the IEEE Power Electronics Specialist Conference in 1986 and again
from 1989-91; Secretary of the Power Electronics Components and Devices
Committee from 1991-93; and IEEE-IAS Representative to ANSI/USNC
Technical Committee TC-47 in 1997. His other activities included
Member 1963-75, Chairman, 1975-88, Voluntary Consultant, 1988-98, JEDEC
Committee JC-22 (Formerly JS-14); Chairman Welding Control Task Group of
JC-22, 1968-79; U.S. Delegate, International Electrotechnical
Commission, Technical Committee 47 on Semiconductor devices and
Integrated Circuits: Leningrad 1969, Ottawa, Canada, 1978, Orlando,
Florida, 1980, Montreux, Switzerland, 1981, Montreal, Canada, 1985, San
Diego, California, 1988, Frankfurt, Germany, 1989, Toulouse, France,
1991; Member, NEMA Joint Sections committee on spacing for Power
His passion in later life was travel. He and Helen traveled the globe
visiting Europe, the South Pacific, South America, Australia, the
Caribbean and Mexico. After Helen's death in 1984, he married Lorraine
Konzak in 1987. Lorraine and David met at the Neighborhood Church where
they both participated in many of the activities at the church. They
continued traveling including frequent trips to visit her family in his
favorite spot Colorado -- but his heart always remained at home in
Surviving are wife Lorraine, sisters Jana Owens and Jeri Haagens,
children Linda Noble, Dave Borst, Jr. and Ruth Punt, grandchildren
Marlene Noble, James Noble, Daniel Punt, Kevin Noble, Nicholas Punt,
Melissa Noble, Douglas Borst and Alison Borst, and great-grandson Henry
The family of David W. Borst is deeply saddened to announce that he
died in a car accident in Palos Verdes Estates last Friday afternoon,
December first. A memorial service will be held at the Neighborhood
Church, 415 Paseo del Mar, Palos Verdes Estates, California, on December
22nd at 1 P.M. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in honor of
David Borst to the Music Memorial Fund of Neighborhood Church. Attached
is an obituary written by David's granddaughter, Marlene Noble Levy.
Linda (Borst) Noble
David Borst, Jr.
Ruth (Borst) Punt and our families
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September 15, 1941 - March 14, 2006