A Lasting Memorial: Sentimental Sunday

Photos by ImageSeed Photography & Mike Norris…All Rights reserved

Speaking to Staff and some Parents @ Porter Elementary
 re: Naming of School and who Dr. Walter Porter was.

Today is the 10th Year Anniversary of my Father’s Passing.  It is very difficult for me to do justice in honoring my father in a short and sweet post.  It is not like my father was extra-ordinary because he was just a regular guy who sometimes did things in an extra-ordinary way.

During my father’s Celebration of Life Services, there was mention as to naming a building, street, maybe one of the Salvation Army Centers, just name something after him.  I thought, “Wow! That would be nice!”  Well, in 2003, as I was reading a local newspaper, The San Diego Voice & Viewpoint, I came across an ad requesting names for the naming of two schools to be built under Proposition MM.  (The light-bulb went off!)


“The Campaign for the Naming of a San Diego City School was ON!”

Now why on earth would we name a school after my father?  We have other great men (Black men) in San Diego, so why Walter?  I think it is because of the Essence of who Walter Porter was, and it was in the heart of the people who knew him and his life, that they chose to have this school named after him.

For those of you that did not know who Walter James Porter was, (known as “Wally” to others) here is a letter my mother wrote for the school naming campaign I organized:

 [Transcribed]

Janet D. Delaney
Director of Community Relations
San Diego City Schools
4100 Normal Street
San Diego, CA 92103

         May 28, 2003

Dear Ms. Delaney:
When my beloved, now deceased husband retried from his administrative position with the San Diego Community College District in June 1994, his retirement party was attended by hundreds of people.  The Admiral Kidd Club’s large dining room was packed.  He received so many plaques and proclamations that the two huge bulletin boards I had constructed in a large room in our house were inadequate to contain them.  He received letters of commendation from the (then Republican Governor of California and from the Democratic President of the United States of America.
When, as a long-established nursing home resident, in 2000-2001, for many months, it was noted that Dr. Walter J. (“Wally”) Porter received more guests than had ever been recorded in the history of that institution (and some visited after sign-in hours.)
Hundreds more people packed the Neighborhood House Association at Wally’s Celebration of Life Memorial Service on August 18, 2001.  They came from near and far.
Why?
Wally belonged to the community.  He was devoted to helping as many people as possible.  As Mrs. Freddye Jackson, retired principal, once remarked: “He really cared,” and to Wally, the “Community” stretched from the Mexican border to the North County border and far beyond whether he was selling raffle tickets in San Diego or soliciting funds (and getting them) from the Pentagon, he energetically and tirelessly worked on behalf of his community.  Whether he was helping an individual solve a problem on a “one-on-one” basis or leading an extremely large group toward a successful altruistic goal, his magnetic personality, genuine warmth, incredible sense of humor and leadership skills accompanied by his rich baritone voice enabled him to “move mountains.”
In addition to working tirelessly as a community college administrator, Wally participated enthusiastically in innumerable organizations.  He was a man who didn’t know how to say “No!”  Some organizations he worked with for a while.  Others appeared to be permanent.  In fact, he was dressing to attend a Salvation Army Breakfast Meeting when he suffered his first stroke. (I was at home and called 9-1-1.)  A partial list of his organizations follows.  (I’m bound to leave some out, since he was active in Los Angeles before we moved here in 1968-1969 with our family).
(My daughter has sent you Wally’s resume, so I won’t repeat all that).

Partial List -San Diego Community College Administrator’s Association
-Charter member, San Diego Southeast Rotary Club
-President, San Diego Chapter, N.A.A.C.P. (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
-Martin Luther King, Jr., Educator’s Breakfast and Parade Committee
-Starlight Musical Theater Board of Directors
-Salvation Army Advisory Board
-La Jolla Playhouse Advisory Board
-Alpha Pi Chapter, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity
-Omega Psi Phi Fraternity
-Tema, Ghana (Africa) Sister City Society
-100 Black Men (National Coalition) San Diego Chapter
-San Diego Museum of Art, African Arts Committee
-San Diego Catfish Club
-Mentor for San Diego Links-“An affair of Honor.” (Yearly event)
In spite of (the above) and many other endeavors, Wally found time to be a loving husband and father.  He always had time for us, individually and together.
Dr. Walter J. (Wally) Porter is as fine a role model as has ever been born.  The Community of San Diego deserves to have a school named in his honor.
Respectfully submitted,
(Mrs.) Betty M.P. Porter

If you want to more about Walter:  Click on the links below:

Wally Porter & Jody (His Performing Days)

My Tribute To My Father

Even though my father has been physically gone from this earth, I feel his Spirit daily.  I found myself trying to walk in my father’s shoes and did not give my self a chance to breathe. Now I have found my own calling, and am free to be who I am.

My father had his ashes buried at sea..So the School is a wonderful testament and memorial to his life.

The School Naming Committee unanimously voted to name a school after Dr. Walter Porter, and then the San Diego Unified School Board District voted unanimously to name a school after Walter Porter.  So….

We had a School Naming Ceremony….

Formerly Kennedy Elementary School




We Had a Groundbreaking Ceremony…..



We Had a School Dedication and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony:



We Formed a Foundation, Raised some monies for some projects & Had 1st Annual Gala Honoring Community Leaders



Had A Second Gala & Honored Community Leaders


We have participated in Book Reading to the children, and many other activities……

Willie G, Yvette Porter Moore, Donnell Johnson

Community Member

Yvette Porter Moore

Yvette Porter Moore
We as a community are going to continue to keep the name & Spirit of Wally Porter alive as we Re-establish the Porter Foundation, and help our children to continue pursuing their education.
The Two New Schools in Dr. Walter J. Porter’s Honor (North & South Campus):

Painting donated by Porter Family Estate

© Yvette Porter Moore-All Rights Reserved

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