Tag Archive | Betty Mae Peters Porter

Unveiling of Dr. Walter J. Porter Portrait-Part#1

     I loved and admired my father Walter J. Porter dearly.  The San Diego community respected and liked “Wally” as well.   Walter Porter was a community activist, and a highly respected educator in the City of San Diego.  It is my love of my father that I continue in my father and mother’s legacy as they both were educators.  Betty Porter was an elementary school teacher for over 30 years in the San Diego Unified School District as my father was a Dean for the San Diego Community College District.

     In 2003, I started a campaign to have a new school built under proposition MM to have my father’s name on it.  We were blessed not only to have one school named after my father, but the former Kennedy Elementary School in San Diego, which was also rebuilt named after my father.  They are both one school but they are called the North and South Campus.

     When the South campus was dedicated and  the ribbon cutting ceremony was held, I donated a painting of my father from the 70’s to be placed in the South Campus office.  The painting of my father was the only one the school had.  Many of the children did not know who Walter Porter was, and they did not know that he had been an advocate for education and for the youth. 
Invitation Flyer to the Unveiling
Dr. Walter J. Porter
Walter Porter with his dummy “Jody”
Ventriloquist in the 50’s & 60’s in Los Angeles

     The Portraits above were revealed on Friday, December 9, 2011. The Porter family and community had two Masterpiece Pencil  Portraits that were made by Clarence “Pencilman” Pointer.
     Clarence captured the spirit of my father through his eyes in the solo photo.The North Campus auditorium was filled with at least 100 students, many parents, and community members to see the unveiling.  The students were receiving awards for their outstanding  academic achievements.

       During the unveiling, Dr. Shirley Weber, an educator at San Diego State University, former board member of the San Diego Unified School District, spoke about the life of Walter Porter.  She spoke to the children letting them know that even though Wally had not been a President of the U.S.,  a Senator, or someone that had a big National position, he did have big dreams, and he advocated so that these students would have a future.  Wally’s spirit can be felt today by all the things Wally cared about.

     The Porter family and community had two Masterpiece Pencil  Portraits that were made by Clarence “Pencilman” Pointer.  Clarence captured the spirit of my father through his eyes in the solo photo.

Holding two of the Portraits that were unveiled

     After the ceremony, a reception followed:  More pictures to come of the unveiling and the children receiving awards.

Walter & Betty Porter Burial at Sea Ceremony by U.S. Navy: Veterans Day Posting

Walter J. Porter
23 years old
Fort Ord Military Base
May 1951
     There are so many individuals who have served our Military of the U.S.A.  They have fought for our freedoms and liberties. They have protected and served us.  Today is Veterans day and there is no way I could do justice in presenting a post that is so worthy of what they have done for us.
     I decided today I would take the time and present my parents burials at Sea Ceremony.  As my father served in the Army, and had requested that upon his death that he (have his ashes) buried/scattered at sea.  My mother had not made any particular wishes. She basically left it up to me. I adored my mother and I knew how much she loved her husband, so I knew the right thing to do was to have a burial at Sea as that would be her final resting place along with my father.
     My parents also loved cruises, so what a way to spend eternity on the wide open seas.

My father Walter Porter was born on September 11, 1929 and he died August 7, 2001.  My mother and I were mourning the death of my father and we had decided to celebrate his life and do something special on his birthday.  Well, when I woke up on 9/11/2001, the plans of doing something special changed.  My father had been dead for a month, and what happened next shocked the World, and especially the United States.  We were all in shock from the terrorist attacks upon the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the great loss of life.  America began to mourn.  I felt, at that moment that I had no right to mourn over my father’s death because our Country was in turmoil, anger, and sadness.  What right did I have to only think about my father and mother and our family?  It was really no time for that; to think only about our own grief.

Our Military went out and did what had to be done.  The first responders answered the call and many lost their lives, like many of our military soldiers.  This was a time in history when Americans UNITED, and even with that there was a lashing out at the wrong people.  The pointing of fingers, of which was not righteous. Life had changed on 9-11!

My mother received a call that my father’s burial at Sea was going to be postponed for another month as it was not the right time for a ceremony when our country was in turmoil.

Then October 24, 2001 arrived and my father was given the Burial at Sea that he had wanted.  My mother Betty was sent a letter from the Department of the Navy after the ceremony.

Letter to Betty Porter, wife of Walter Porter
Description of Ceremony

The ceremony for my father was video taped.  I hope to one day have it copied on DVD.

Burial location of Walter J. Porter
and Betty Mae Porter
Betty Porter was born on November 17, 1926 and died on January 5, 2004.
When my mother was to be given to the Sea, I received the letter below.
Letter to Daughter re: Betty Porter
Description of Ceremony
A couple of photos of Betty Porter’s Burial at Sea Ceremony
Betty Porter’s Ceremony at Sea #1
Betty Porter’s Ceremony at Sea #2

Sometimes I wish I could go to a cemetery and place flowers at my parents headstones.  I was sad that I could not memorialize at the location that they were resting.  The consolation is that my parents are in the wide open sea.  They loved to travel and they loved the idea of going places they have never been.  So now every year, I go to the ocean in San Diego on their birthday’s and drop flowers into the ocean.

Walter & Betty Porter
Vacationing on one of their many cruises together

Walter J. Porter does have two San Diego City Schools named after him and this is a testament of how important education was to him.  So when I think of the fact that he has no headstone…I laugh and say, “Hey Dad, You have two schools in your name!”  What more can you ask for to be remembered? 

Wordless Wednesday: Porter’s on the Political Scene

My mother and father Walter & Betty Porter were well connected to the politics in San Diego and the State of California. These photo’s were taken sometime in the 1970’s.

Betty & Walter Porter
(middle) Conley Major-Rep for Council Member Leon Williams
Receiving a Resolution 

California State Assembly Member Pete Chacon (middle)
Walter J. Porter (to r. of Chacon)

Wordless Wednesday: Dance Dance Dance

    I love this photo!  My mother Betty Porter is sitting next to the bongo player and my brother’s God-mother Dolores Ratcliffe is dancing with I believe my mother’s friend Betty Smith.  My mother, father and her friends liked to boogie!
Los Angeles, CA
Photography by Robert A. Gordon

Wordless Wednesday: Baby makes Three

     This is a proof sheet of photos of my parents, (Walter & Betty Porter) and my big brother, Marshall.  Marshall was born in 1966.  He was Probably two years old in these photo’s.  This was before I arrived on the scene, and he had all the attention until I showed up.

Those Places Thursday: The Apollo Theater

     I went to Harlem for the first time in June of 2010 to visit the places my mother had frequented as she was growing up in New York.

     During my research trip to Harlem, New York, one of the places I visited was the Apollo Theater, and I had the opportunity to attend “Amateur Night at the Apollo” two times.  It was a wonderful experience, and I look forward to visiting again.

My mother is on this video talking about the executioner Stagehand Norman Miller, who created the character “Porto Rico” for the Amateur Night in the 1930’s.

Comedian Capone of Amateur Night & Me
To read about the Apollo click Link:  Amateur Night History & Legacy