Father’s Day is a time to kick back, relax, spend time with the kids and indulge in a little “me time” for many dads.
That’s exactly what 83-year-old Don Boresow of Leawood plans to do this Sunday. However, it wasn’t until recent years that this father of 14, grandfather of 53 and great-grandfather to three, has taken a break to mark the day.
“To be completely honest, I used to work every Father’s Day and every holiday – that’s when I would make extra money,” Boresow said.
While raising his brood with wife, Harriet, Boresow often worked three jobs to make ends meet for the family. The former Marine married his sweetheart in 1957 after serving in the military for three years.
The couple started their family with the arrival of son, Mike, a year later. The senior Boresow said having 14 children was not planned.
“It happened so fast,” he said. “We were very lucky.”
And busy. While Boresow worked an average of 80-plus hours a week as a mailman and as a regular at Milgrim’s and Hen House grocery stores. Harriet Boresow was in charge at home. However, when it came to discipline, it was Dad who laid down the law.
“We had certain rules and they were obeyed,” Don Boresow said. “One of them was the older ones had to help with the younger ones. I think you ought to raise your kids so they can take of themselves and their kids. If you do everything for them, it makes it harder.”
The oldest Boresow child, Mike, recalls a busy household growing up, but one thing was for certain about his dad.
“He made time for all of us no matter how much he worked,” Mike Boresow said. “He was always there to give advice.”
There were other lessons, as well.
“He taught us discipline, respect for parents, teachers and authority figures, to be honest and do the right thing,” Mike Boresow said. “And we had consequences if we didn’t.”
Despite long work hours, Don Boresow always found time to coach several of his children in baseball and softball. There were also occasional surprise outings.
“The kids liked it when I picked them up from school and say I needed to make a phone call and I would run into Topsy’s and bring them a treat,” he said.
Those special times have been passed down to the next generation, as well. Grandson Brett Boresow, who now lives in California, remembers going by Hen House to see his grandfather at work.
“He would always give us quarters out of his tips to ride the little motorized train,” Brett Boresow said.
The Boresows have faced some tough times together. The couple has had to endure the death of two of their sons and one grandchild.
“It was terrible,” said Don Boresow of losing loved ones. “I realize when you have big family there are more chances, but you just have to be strong enough to get through the bad times.”
Boresow gives credit to his wife for getting through the hard times.
In more recent years, Father’s Day has extended into a weeklong celebration.
“With so many kids and grandkids, it’s hard for us all to get together,” Don Boresow said.
“I like all the kids around me. The best part is the children and the grandchildren.”
“They never missed coming to see their dad,” said Harriet Boresow. “He’s been a great dad.”
Son Mike Boresow agrees.
“I always try to be a good dad to my boys like my dad was to me and teach them what my dad taught me,” he said.