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Friends in Billings remember legacy of astronaut Frank Borman

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Posted at 9:26 PM, Nov 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-13 11:50:35-05

A hangar at Billings Logan Interntional Airport used to belong to Frank Borman.

He donated it to the Experimental Aircraft Association, Chapter 57.

Many around the world knew about Frank Borman, an astronaut on Apollo 8 and Gemini VII.

Some in Billings, knew how much the man cared about people.

Some of Borman's memorabilia is displayed proudly in the hangar.

The NASA Colonel could fill halls with his accomplishments, but he preferred to spend his time helping the next generation

"He loved to do things with kids," said Steve Tostenrud, president of EAA, Chapter 57. "There's Frank the astronaut and there is Frank the human."

Tostenrud says even though Borman had been the commander of Apollo 8, a U.S. Air Force pilot and C.E.O. of Eastern Airlines, he was just like anyone else in the club and talked more about airplanes than his career.

"He was just another one of the boys, I should say boys and girls," said Tostenrud. "But that was what was so nice about him. He was just totally unassuming, considering what he did. He went where very few men go."

Borman, Jim Lovell and William Anders read from the Bible on Christmas Eve in 1968.

In 2018 Q2 story, Borman talked about his wife Susan, who died in 2021.

"The most important thing that's affected my life has been my marriage to my wife Susan," Borman said. "She was my anchor, my rock. I was very fortunate. I got the best of the best."

And one of the nurses who helped care for Susan Borman could see that from Frank every day.

"It's just was an amazing experience to see," said Danielle Babcock, a St. Vincent physician assistant. "Very faithful, and I think that that kind of helped him with understanding and like being able to handle like his wife situation as well."

Babcock was a CNA working home health.

She was not sure she would go through physician assistant training and says Frank Borman encouraged her to seek that education.

"I just felt very blessed that I got to meet him and talk to him over the years that I took care of his wife," Babcock said.

"I'm I going to miss the guy," Tostenrud said.