Life Story / Obituary
There was no greater joy for David Porter than that of dedicated husband, father, grandfather, and friend. A man who influenced by example, he was hard working all while being a loving and supportive force in the lives of those he loved. People were naturally drawn to David. With his outgoing nature, he was as honest as they come, and his love for his community knew no bounds. A true family man, Dave was the rock for which his family stood. Deeply missed, his legacy lives on in the hearts of those he leaves behind
By 1931, the difficult days of the Great Depression created a jobless rate of nearly four million. It was indeed a trying time in our nation’s history, yet hope was found as New York City opened the Empire State Building, and celebrated as the Star-Spangled Banner was adopted as the U.S. national anthem. Amidst these trying times in the Michigan city of Jackson, Stanley and Irene (Curtis) Porter found reason to celebrate when on March 5, 1931, they welcomed the birth of their twin little boys, David Lee and Dwight D. Porter into their arms. Unfortunately, Dwight passed away a short time later.
David came to know the value of a hard work ethic through his father who supported their bustling household as a laborer in a local foundry. He also raised beautiful irises which he sometimes sold to the locals. On the home front, David’s mother was a busy homemaker, looking after him along with his four younger siblings, Joan, Joyce, Robert, and Richard.
Having enjoyed a childhood typical of his generation, David shared many adventures with neighborhood friends while attending the area schools. As the eldest, he had his share of chores and also helped out with the younger ones in the family. School was a priority for David, especially in sports. During high school, he was involved in many activities. He was an active participant in Future Farmers of America (FFA), and he was a member of the baseball, basketball, and football teams. In fact, he was on a championship football team, and most notably, it was while playing football that David lost his front teeth. A well-liked fellow, David enjoyed the friendships of many throughout his school years before graduating from Springport High School in 1949.
David went on to serve in the U.S. Air Force, earning the rank of Airman First Class. He enlisted in 1950, and it was while on leave in December of 1951 when he was set-up on a blind date by mutual friends. That was when he met the love of his life, Rita Compagner. To meet Rita, Dave needed to drive from Jackson to Three Rivers, and it was a distance. His parents, however, had no idea he was driving that far, but Dave was known to have driven farther than agreed in those days!
When David first laid eyes on Rita, the pretty brunette he came to know and love was sitting beside a Christmas tree. The best Christmas present he ever received, the feeling was mutual and before long they fell head-over-heels in love. Happily married on June 6, 1953, they began their new lives together in Bermuda where David was stationed. Following his honorably discharge in 1954, David and his bride returned to Michigan. While David began taking classes at Michigan State University, Rita took on a teaching job in a one-room school in Holt and later, Saranac. She loved teaching and had the uncanny ability to make any situation a fun one, and she was loved by each of her students.
David graduated from MSU with his Bachelor of Science and Business degrees in 1958. And every since his days there, he always believed it was okay to wear all green clothes until Rita would spot him and make him change. Shortly after graduating, the couple relocated to Kalamazoo and began a family of their own. It brought them joy to welcome the blessed births of their four children, Jana, Julie, Stanley, and Aaron into their lives. As a family they enjoyed memorable holidays and other special times. For David, becoming a father was one of his highest callings and he took it to heart. He was involved in the lives of his children where respect, honor, and devotion were ever present in their home.
In 1969, David and his family made the community of Schoolcraft their permanent home. He loved the small town charm of Schoolcraft and served his community well in numerous capacities. Although busy with work as an insurance agent since 1956, David found time to volunteer for the school PTA in Kalamazoo and PTO in Schoolcraft. His long history of community service included his membership in the Schoolcraft Lions Club where he was honored to have served once as Lion of the Year. He was also a past president of the Lions. David’s commitment also included giving of his time and talents at one time as the Vice President of the South County Community Services, Inc. Very involved with the Boy Scouts of America, David served as both a Scout Master, Den Master and as a Committee Chairman. David’s dedication to his home church, Schoolcraft United Methodist was evident through his many involvements as a member there. David loved going to Schoolcraft’s football games where he was an avid supporter of the home team. He also enjoyed the Detroit Tigers and especially back when Ernie Harwell was a radio broadcaster. He enjoyed turning the tv volume down and the radio up to hear Ernie.
By 1983, David had acquired his own insurance agency, the Aernie-Porter Insurance Agency in Portage which he eventually sold in 1994. David shared his father’s work ethic and continued to work fulltime in various position up until age 80. Throughout his years as an agent, David was well respected and admired for his integrity and honesty. It was in his nature to take care of people, and it showed in his and Rita’s everyday lives. They seemed to have a knack for collecting people by way of helping others when they needed it the most, and they gave them a place to go. David and Rita’s love for others was unconditional, and they never expected anything in return.
On June 17, 2008, David’s life as he knew it was shattered with the death of his beloved Rita. After 55 years of marriage, he now had to learn everyday life without her. Although difficult at times, he made it through with the help, love and support of family and dear friends. Slowly since Rita’s passing and in the last stages of his life, David’s health began to fail. No longer able to remain at home, he became a resident at Tommy’s Manor where he was greatly cared for by Gloria Carr. David made his final move to Borgess Gardens where he peacefully passed away under their loving care.
David Porter was the rock for which his family stood and they dearly meant the world to him. He was an honest man who lived with kindness and generosity. David’s sense of humor was a delight to enjoy. He was ever faithful to his Lord and thankful for the many blessings that came his way. Although life will never be the same without him, David’s memory continues on through those who knew and loved him.
David Lee Porter, of Schoolcraft passed away on Thursday, July 20, 2017 at the age of 86. David is survived by his children: Jana VanAntwerp, of Portage; Julie (Michael E.) Noteboom, of Kalamazoo; Stanley Porter, of TX; and Aaron (Neena) Porter, of Schoolcraft; seven grandchildren: Alecia (Chris) Ruswinckel, of Grand Ledge; Michael A. Noteboom, of San Francisco, CA; Daniel Noteboom, of Kalamazoo; Rachael Noteboom, of Kalamazoo; Anne Marie Porter, of Houghton; Jeffrey Porter, of Schoolcraft; Rebecca Porter, of Schoolcraft; four great grandchildren: Nathan, Matthew, John, and Cassidy. He is also survived by Joan Waggoner, of Battle Creek; Robert (Doris) Porter, of Grand Rapids; Richard (Mary) Porter, of Albion; several nieces and nephews. David was preceded in death by his wife of 55 years, Rita; siblings: Dwight Porter and Joyce Cohler and son-in-law: Dale VanAntwerp.
David Lee Porter, of Schoolcraft passed away on Thursday, July 20, 2017 at the age of 86. The family will receive friends on Thursday from 4 to 7pm at the Schoolcraft United Methodist Church. A memorial service will be held on Friday, July 28th at 11am at the church.
Please visit David’s webpage at www.lifestorynet.com where you can read his life story, sign the guestbook, and share a memory. Those who wish may make contributions to Schoolcraft Lions Club and/or South County Community Services.
The family is being assisted by the Life Story Funeral Home, 409 S. Main, Vicksburg (269-649-1697).