Professor Albert Borgmann, 85, passed away peacefully on May 7, 2023, at his home in the Rattlesnake. A funeral service will be held at Holy Spirit Episcopal Church in Missoula on Thursday, May 11, at noon. Donations in Albert's memory may be made to the ACLU of Montana Foundation or to American Prairie and online condolences may be left at gardencityfh.com.
Albert was born and raised in Freiburg, Germany, in the Black Forest. He began college at the University of Freiburg and obtained his BA at the University of Texas. He earned an MA in German Literature at the University of Illinois and met his future wife Nancy there in 1961. They married in 1963, in Freiburg’s historic gothic cathedral. Albert earned a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Munich. Nancy and Albert returned to the U.S., where Albert taught philosophy at DePaul University, and later at the University of Hawaii.
In 1970, he settled with his young family in Missoula, Montana, and became a proud U.S. citizen. He taught philosophy to generations of students at the University of Montana. Albert received numerous awards and honors for his contributions to philosophy. He became Regents Professor in 1996, the third person to receive the honor in the university's history.
Albert’s work concerned the philosophy of society and culture, with particular emphasis on the cultural force of technology. His 1984 book, Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life, became a landmark text, in which he introduced the concept of "focal practices" as a way to reconnect technology with human values and restore a sense of meaning and purpose to our lives. He was a prolific writer who authored dozens of articles, monographs, book chapters, reviews, and six additional books, the last of which he completed in the final year of his life.
He was also a dedicated teacher and mentor who influenced the lives of countless students, colleagues, and friends, who remember him for his intellect, warmth, and generosity. Albert retired from teaching in 2020, after 50 years at the University of Montana.
Albert was an important voice in state and local politics, as well as in the administration at the University of Montana. He was actively involved in the campaign to turn his cherished Rattlesnake into a national recreation and wilderness area. He was an avid skier, often seen with his family at Snowbowl, and enjoyed biking, running, and canoeing. He loved playing music with his family, with him on harmonica and guitar. He lived a life according to the words he wrote in his books, and for this he was loved and will be missed by many.
Albert is preceded in death by his parents and his beloved wife, Nancy (who passed away in 2009). Left to cherish his memory are three siblings, Eva (Bernd) Schneider-Borgmann; Rainer Borgmann; Margrit (Peter) Breitenstein; his three daughters, Andrea Borgmann (Wayne Mesard); Caitlin Borgmann (John Lovi); Kendra (Craig) Ralstin; six grandchildren; two Newfoundlands (Joey and Karl), and an extended community of family and friends.