David Borntrager Jr. lived his life in a relaxed manner and valued helping others and taking care of those closest to him.

So when he, his wife, Mary, and his youngest son Ben all contracted COVID-19 in late March, he sent a text to his son Jeremy: “Dont worry, it’s not coronavirus. Just sinuses and crapper.”

But while his wife and son eventually improved, Borntrager’s condition worsened, and he was hospitalized for 39 days — all on a ventilator — until his death on May 11. His family was able to be at his bedside on that final day. He was 65.

“My dad was an amazing guy with a great sense of humor,” Jeremy Borntrager of Coon Rapids said. “The biggest thing I will miss is the laughter. He helped so many people, and all of them will miss him dearly.”

Borntrager was born in 1954 and grew up in Spring Lake Park, graduating from Spring Lake Park High School in 1972.

He then enlisted in the Navy, serving for six years and learning the electrical trade while serving aboard the USS Carl Vinson, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

Borntrager and Mary Singer married in 1980, and they raised three sons.

He worked at Northwest Airlines as a maintenance electrician until the airline’s 2008 merger with Delta Air Lines, then at Xcel Energy in Monticello as a building maintenance electrician until his retirement in April 2018.

Borntrager enjoyed riding motorcycles and rode his Harley-Davidson Sportster to work whenever possible. He and Mary rode their Tri Glide three-wheeled motorcycle to the Blue Ridge Parkway a few years ago.

Music was an important part of his life. He took up playing the banjo, sang at open mic nights and enjoyed going to Jimmy Buffett concerts and other music events at First Avenue in Minneapolis.

He enjoyed travel, taking his wife and sons on a bus tour of Ireland as a 30th anniversary present. He and Mary also took a cruise on the Rhine River in Europe in 2016 and also went on an Alaskan cruise. A planned trip to Hawaii in April had to be called off.

In addition to his wife, Mary of Oak Grove, and son Jeremy, survivors include sons Daniel Borntrager of St. Francis, and Ben Borntrager of Oak Grove; sisters Diane Sinclair of Champlin and Jean Jones of Champlin, brothers Gerry Borntrager of Blaine and Doug Borntrager of Elk River; three grandchildren and several nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date.


Rich Gordon is a statistics editor in the Star Tribune sports department.