Funeral services are pending for Eugen Borosch, 74, a Lehigh Acres businessman and community leader, who has helped many people in Lehigh over the years through financing of their homes and loans to others to start their own businesses to his own business holdings and investments.
Borosch died last Thursday morning, May 30, at Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers after a fall the day before at his home.
Word of his death has spread throughout Lehigh over the past few days and people who knew him were shocked to hear the news. Borosch had a history of heart disease, but he continued to work at his office in the Lehigh Towne Centre, a shopping plaza that he owned and leased out for business sites on the corner of Homestead Road and Alabama Road. The Lehigh Acres Citizen had offices there for several years.
Eugen Borosch is shown recently in his office in Lehigh.
Several well-known businesses can be found at the plaza. It was there that for the past several years, that he held outside Christmas parties for the entire community with free food and entertainment. The Christmas gathering at the Lehigh Town Centre had become a tradition in Lehigh and hundreds turned out each year.
He was originally from Germany and came to the United States to Chicago as an automotive executive for BMW and later moved to New Jersey before retiring from that position and coming to Lehigh Acres, remembered Siggi Lorenz, owner of Sunny Florida Realty. The two had been friends for the past 49 years.
Borosch retired from the automotive giant and Lorenz said he met him in New Jersey and talked him and his wife into moving to Lehigh Acres.
Lorenz said he was devastated by the news of his friend.
"It's terrible, just terrible. My wife, Djulaeha and his wife, Conchita, were all such close friends. We would see each other from time to time and it is difficult," Lorenz said.
Borosch owned several properties in Lehigh and invested in other businesses, sometimes with others. He took a run-down shopping center, one of the first in Lehigh, and turned it into one of the busiest shopping centers in Lehigh Acres today.
It's located across Homestead Road from Walgreens and is noted by the marquee that Borosch had purchased to advertise his business associates who had leased storefronts from him. He, along with his wife, Conchita, also owned the Villages of Lehigh, and they were seen often dining at the two restaurants there.
Borosch was one of the first business people in Lehigh several years ago to come up with the theme for the community: "Buy Lehigh First." He encouraged residents to do business in Lehigh with friends and neighbors.
Borosch was the first honoree of the Heart of Lehigh Acres Award presented by the Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce in January of 2010. Jose Morillo, the chamber's chairman of the board at the time, said the chamber would continue to select someone in the community in the future who had promoted Lehigh and was someone who had been an important person in the community through his or her business relationships.
At the event, several people came forward to make comments regarding their friend who had received a handsome crystal glass trophy. Then Lee County Commissioner Tammy Hall read a resolution honoring Borosch by the Lee County Commission and others like Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott and then State Rep. Page Kreegel and others had kind words for their friend.
Borosch and his wife had met the prior pope in New York City through a friendship with Archbishop Celestino Migliori, Apostolic Nuncio to the United Nations who had befriended Borosch. He had met and knew the chancellor of Germany, Angelia Merkel.
Business people all over Lee County and members of the state legislature came to call Borosch a friend and he often held special fundraisers for several political candidates.
Inke Baker, the interim president and CEO of the Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce said that on May 30, the chamber had lost "a great friend, supporter and active member."
"Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Conception, (Conchita) his daughter, Hilde and her family and the dedicated staff of his company.
She said Borosch became involved with the chamber in the 1990s and supported the chamber with his membership and several other contributions during this time.
He attended chamber events on a regular basis and was instrumental in creating the new "Politics After Hours" in 2012.
During tough economic times, Borosch assisted the chamber to make the transition from its former location on Lee Boulevard on the outskirts of town to its new location on Homestead Road in his shopping plaza.
"He was a friend to the chamber and its staff. His advice was always geared toward improving the chamber and the community of Lehigh Acres that he loved so much. He will be greatly missed," Baker said.
Another friend, Mike Welch, who is a member of the East County Water Control District and former chairman, said Borosch was one of the most important people who had helped to form his life.
"For me, his passing was sudden. I met Eugen over 18 years ago when I moved to Lee County as a young aide in the Florida Senate. He was a second father to me as I had lost my own father many years ago.
"For the past 18 years, he has helped me to grow in so many ways. We did so many good things together. He taught me how to look beyond the box and work for even the impossible. He helped so many people obtain the American Dream with the financing for homes and new businesses. The people of Lehigh have only to look at the Towne Centre and how he and his wife turned a run-down shopping center into a beautiful showcase with thriving businesses," Welch said.
He said he believes Borosch's legacy will be the opportunities he gave to people and his faith in them to succeed.
"He was an awesome man of faith that people can obtain their dreams with hard work as he had done throughout his life. I will miss him terribly," Welch said.
Soon after Borosch moved to Lehigh and began to acquire property, he allowed the Lehigh Spring Festival the parcel where it held annual festival events. He purchased the building in front at 1303 Homestead Rd. which had once been a playhouse for local actors and renovated the building and leased it out to various businesses.
Although there are many stories and much to remember about Borosch, friends say more recently, he had begun purchasing homes that had been lost in bankruptcy and houses that had not been completed and rehabilitated them and sold them to people who could afford nice homes with low payments to a finance company that he owned along with his wife.
While in the U.S., Borosch often traveled back to Germany to visit his late mother.
A funeral Mass had not been finalized until after this weekend, Welch said.
In addition to his wife, Conchita, he is survived by his daughter, Hildegard Goertz and son-in-in-law, Dominik Goertz. They have one daughter and they live in Fort Myers.
Borosch has cousins still in Germany. Welch said he was an only child.
His father was a publisher and Borosch had a love for the printed word and was one of the people in Lehigh who worked to bring The Lehigh Acres Citizen to the community.
In addition to his real estate firm, Lehigh Showcase Properties, and his finance lending business, he also owned the property near the Lee County Sheriff's Bravo Station in Lehigh which he leased out as a flea market.
He had planned for the flea market to become a place where many Spanish people and others could start their own businesses and make a living.
While his first name was spelled Eugen, people often wrote Eugene and he once laughed and said it was all the same to him, that it made no difference. If services are public, The Citizen will publish the times and location on its LehighAcresCitizen.com Internet site.