Art Borchardt, 91, of Yakima a respected osteopathic physician and surgeon, passed away on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2009, at his home with his wife Muriel at his side.

Arthur Ernest Walter Borchardt was born Aug. 21, 1918 in Ramona, S.D. to Albert Borchardt and Olga (Hannemann) Borchardt.

He was raised on a dairy farm with six siblings. He knew from an early age that he wanted to be a doctor, and left home to attend Des Moines Still College of Osteopathy and Surgery.

It was in Des Moines, Iowa while working one of his three jobs, that he met the love of his life, Muriel DeBusk. They were married on Feb. 2, 1940 in Des Moines.

He began his medical practice in Lidgerwood, N.D., during WWII. Art often made house calls by a horse-drawn sleigh in the harsh winters, delivering babies in farm homes.

In 1946 he and Muriel moved to Seattle, where he practiced at Waldo Hospital. They moved to Sunnyside in 1948 with their three-week-old daughter, Judy. Daughter Kay joined the family in 1950. Art practiced in Sunnyside until his retirement from active practice in 1984. He remained active in the profession until the age of 80. As the first osteopathic physician in the Lower Yakima Valley, Art was responsible for bringing other doctor's of Osteopathic to the Valley, splitting his practice several times as he mentored the new physicians.

He was instrumental in founding and building Sunnyside General Hospital, Sunnyside Medical Center and founded Lower Valley Hospice.

Art also is a past president of the Washington Osteopathic Medical Association.

He and Muriel were active Presbyterians, holding many church offices in Sunnyside over the years, and attending First Presbyterian Church in Yakima after retirement.

Always active in community affairs, he was a Rotarian and Paul Harris Fellow, and also served a term as Rotary District Governor. He and Muriel sponsored and mentored Rotary Exchange students from Chile, Paraguay and Denmark, who lived with the family and attended high school in Sunnyside.

Staunch Republicans, Art and Muriel were area campaign chairmen for Governor Dan Evans, who has remained a life-long friend. They also participated in a People to People tour to Russia with good friend and past Washington Secretary of State, Ralph Munro.

They enjoyed many international friendships and travels in their years together.

His avocations included being a great "horse show dad," hauling his two daughters to countless Arabian horse shows in the western states and Canada for a number of years.

He was an avid hiker, enjoying backpacking trips into the Goat Rocks area of the North Cascades, with his buddies, including Dr. Art Clevenger and Pat Bleakney.

Until last year, he still enjoyed daily walks on the Greenway, at a pace that put much younger men to shame.

His life was one of service and dedication to his patients, his community and his country. He is beloved by several generations of the families he served over the decades. As part of the circle of life, his hospice nurse Debbie Graves was one of the babies he delivered more than 50 years ago.

Art is survived by his wife of 69 years, Muriel; daughters, Judy Sinner of Selah and Kay Doggett (Ken) of Bend, Ore.; a grandson, Adam Yagiz (Ruth) of Alameda, Calif.; one brother, Clayton (Elsie) of Brookings, S.D.; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Special thanks to Dr. Christopher Clark, his office staff, to the caregivers, the staff at Ponderosa Assisted Living and to Lower Valley Hospice for their wonderful care in the last few months and to Dr. Art Clevenger for his dedication and friendship for many years and especially in the final days of Art's life.

A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

Remembrances can be made online at

Arrangements are under the care of the good friends of Smith Funeral Home in Sunnyside. Smith's are long-time neighbors on the same block, where the Borchardt family lived for many years.


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