James "Dutch" Borell was born in Reading, Pa. He graduated from the Pennsylvania Nautical School of Philadelphia in 1936 with a U.S. Coast Guard Third Mates's License and sailed in the U.S. Merchant Marine for a year. In 1942, he became a navigator at Pan American Airways and flew in their Atlantic division until 1943. He then returned to the sea and sailed aboard merchant marine ships until the end of World War II.
After the war, Dutch returned to Pan American and flew as a navigator until they eliminated the position. He joined Seaboard around 1950 and flew trips providing airlift in support of the Korean War effort.
He would return to the merchant marine once again as a deck officer, earn his U.S. Coast Guard Unlimited Master's license, and eventually get a permanent job aboard a ship of the Panama Line sailing between New York; Port‑au‑Prince, Haiti; and Cristobal, Panama Canal Zone. In 1960, he took a job with the Panama Canal Company as a towboat captain and moved his family to the Canal Zone where he worked until retirement in 1978. He and wife, Gloria, retired to Daytona Beach, Fla. However, Dutch didn’t completely retire, taking jobs aboard merchant ships traveling around the world for three to four months per year until he was 70.
Dutch Borell was predeceased by his wife, Gloria Gutierrez Borell, in 1996. He is survived by daughters Janet Flud, Gloria Layne, and Victoria Edwards (who died in 2011); son, James W. Borell, Jr.; eight grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren.