Douglas Bora, veteran and civic leader, passes away on Memorial Day
Douglas A. Bora, Sr., a 64-year resident of Rowayton, died on May 25, 2015, in Rowayton (Norwalk), CT. He was recognized as a citizen who served the nation with distinction as a veteran of World War II and then returned home to enrich the community and state through a distinguished career and public service.
Doug Bora was a highly decorated veteran in World War II, serving as a combat infantryman for three campaigns in the European Theater of Operations. His decorations include a Silver Star, the nation’s third highest military decoration for gallantry in action; Bronze Star with “V” Device; Bronze Star; Combat Infantry Badge; Purple Heart; Arrowhead for leading the troops across the Weser River in Germany in April 1945; and an Expert Infantry Badge.
Bora participated in WW II’s “Battle of the Bulge”, the U.S. Army’s largest combat battle ever undertaken. He also served seven years in the Connecticut State Guard, retiring as a commanding officer in 1957 and received the Connecticut National Guard Medal of Merit in 1999. In 2006, he was one of only ten veterans to be inducted into the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame by Governor M. Jodi Rell. He was nominated for a second Silver Star and Congressional Medal of Honor for bravery by his Commanding Officers, neither of which he lived to receive.
He is widely known for having represented Rowayton in its Annual Memorial Day Parade as its veteran every year for 45 years. In many of those years, he was asked to have a public role addressing the Rowayton audience on behalf of area veterans. He died 70 years after the end of the World War II, and fittingly, on Memorial Day.
In addition to his service to his country as a decorated veteran, Doug Bora served his community extensively over many decades. He was the first person elected to serve two terms as President of the Greater Norwalk Chamber of Commerce and became the Chamber’s first Honorary Member. Bora was a 60-year member, served 10 years as Treasurer and was a 20-year member of the Executive Committee.
During that time, he helped construct the Chamber’s current headquarters on East Avenue, was Chairman of more committees than anyone else in the history of the Chamber and won first place in 32 annual membership drives and placed 10th one year in the national U.S. Chamber of Commerce. At the peak of his involvement, it is believed that Mr. Bora attracted approximately one-half of the Chamber’s entire membership single handedly. He was the Chamber’s longest-serving member at his death.
Doug Bora was Chairman of the Norwalk Bicentennial Commission in 1976, the largest such commission in the state at the time, a Director of the United Way, the Norwalk Heart Fund, the Mayor’s Historic Sites Commission, a member of the Community Development Action Plan Committee (CDAP) and a Little League team sponsor in Rowayton for 25 years. He was also the youngest and first two-term President of the Connecticut State Association of Life Underwriters.
When Interstate-95 was constructed in 1956, he helped relocate the Governor Thomas Fitch Law Library, built in 1740 and believed to be the oldest house in the city, and the Old Schoolhouse to its current location at the Mill Hill Historic Park which anchors the Norwalk Green Historic District. Col. Thomas Fitch, Governor Fitch’s son, was the leader of a group called the Norwalk Volunteers during the French and Indian War who acquired the name “Yankee Doodle” after the well-known song.
As Chairmen of the Yankee Doodle Commission and Director of the Norwalk Historical Society, Bora also convinced Norwalk to purchase the St. John House on Cannon Street – one of the few structures to survive the burning of Norwalk by British troops in 1779.
Bora assisted Mayor Frank Jerry Cook in purchasing the 27-acre Gallagher Estate on Grumman Avenue, now known as Cranbury Park, which is a priceless gem. As a leading Director of the United Community for Railroad Action, he combined the Chambers of Commerce of many Fairfield and Westchester County towns into a group that went on to create the high-level MetroNorth station platforms that exist today.
He also helped to acquire Pinkney Park in Rowayton with a group of local citizens which is now the home of Rowayton’s production of “Shakespeare on the Sound”, in addition to Norwalk’s public golf course, Oak Hills Golf Course. He also Co-Founded the Norwalk Community Theater. In one of his proudest achievements, Bora convinced Norwalk to eliminate the city dump many years ago along the south side of Interstate 95’s Yankee Doodle Bridge and to dismantle two metal incinerator “teepees” on the northern side.
As an active member of the United Church of Rowayton for 58 years, Bora served numerous times on the Building Committee, Annual Fair Committee and Tag Sale Committees.
Bora graduated from the University of Bridgeport, attended the Theater School of Dramatic School of the Arts at Carnegie and the New England School of Radio Broadcasting. He appeared in over 100 productions on local theater and radio, including Westport County Playhouse where he was pleased to appear with Gavin MacLeod, star of TV’s The Love Boat, and Marion Ross, star of TV’s Happy Days.
Doug Bora built and managed a real estate and insurance business in the Rowayton section of Norwalk over a 34-year period which was Norwalk’s most successful brokerage firm for many years.
Born on April 5, 1924 in Burlington, VT, he was the oldest of seven children and son of Helen Chatfield Bora and Arthur Bora. He is survived by his son, Douglas A. Bora, Jr. and his wife Lorene E. Bora of Darien, his daughter Carolyn B. Gould and her husband George M. L. Gould, Jr. of Concord, MA, his grandchildren Scott D. Bora and Elizabeth (Libby) J. Bora, his great granddaughter, Riley K. Bora and his former wife, Jean R. Ross of Vero Beach, Florida
A memorial service will be held at the United Church of Rowayton at 11:00 AM on Saturday, June 6, 2015. Gifts may be made in his name to the United Church of Rowayton, 210 Rowayton Avenue, Rowayton, CT 06853.