Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Happy 103rd Birthday Dad!

James Joseph Porter
20 Sep 1908 - 01 Jan 1977

The above photo is my favorite photo of my Dad. He was 33 years old when he was drafted into the U.S. Army in July 1942, and 37 years old when he was honorably discharged in October 1945, so he would have been in his mid-30s in the above picture. 

Dad arrived into this world on September 20, 1908 in Mount Vernon, Knox, Ohio, the fourth child of Harry L and Rose E Linn Porter. He spent his youth in Mount Vernon, moving to Columbus with his mother and a couple siblings about 1928. He graduated from St. Mary's High School in 1929 in Columbus, Franklin, Ohio. Being almost 21 years old when he graduated from high school, he had continued with school even though being held back a couple times. I've always been proud of my Dad knowing that even though he was held back a couple times, he still graduated from high school. His grades in school were not the problem. He missed several months of school once when he was badly scalded as an 8 year old. Then again he missed several months of school due to another serious illness. I don't really know a lot about my Dad's life as a youngster. He was not one to talk a lot about himself. I just wish that I had taken the time to engage him more in conversation about his life. His life is more documented from 1942 onward, so I know certain facts about him after that time.

Dad at barracks
He entered the Army 16 Jul 1942 in Columbus, Franklin, Ohio. His occupation in the Army was Supply Clerk 835. Leaving the US on 2 Apr 1943, he arrived in Europe on 13 Apr 1943. The battles and campaigns in which he served were Naples-Foggia, Rome-Arno, Southern France, Rhineland, and Central Europe. He embarked for the US on 26 Sep 1945, arriving on 5 Oct 1945.

Sitting on Siegfried Line Dragon Teeth

Faye and James Porter

On 7 Jun 1935 he married his first wife, Faye Bennett, in Columbus, Franklin, Ohio. This marriage lasted about 10 years; divorce occurring approximately 1945. Faye supposedly found someone else while Dad served his time in the Army. There were no children from this marriage.

Dad met my Mom in early 1946, courted her for 6 months, then they married on 29 Jun 1946 in Newport, Campbell, Kentucky.

I'm not sure when he started working at Jeffreys Mining and Manufacturing Company, but he continued working there as an expediter until he retired about 1970. He worked there more than 30 years, taking time off only for his service to his country during WWII.

Mom, Mom's twin sister Mary, Dad at Spokane Expo 1974

Dad did not think we had the money to travel, so we rarely took vacations. But he and Mom did start to travel after he retired from Jeffreys. They traveled several times to see the Fall foliage in New England, and once to the Spokane Expo.

Dad and Mom would often get together with her twin sister and husband to celebrate their birthdays and/or holidays. This picture was taken at Mom's sister's home in Mansfield, Richland, Ohio where they had gone to celebrate New Year's Eve. Dad looks quite happy, doesn't he? 

Two things I did not like about my Dad ... he was a smoker and a drinker.


I don't know if my Dad would have been called an alcoholic. He only drank beer, only at night and/or weekends. It did not interfere with his work or ability to support his family. The problem with the drinking was that he preferred to do it at the bars. Since my Mom worked at nights at the General Motors plant in Columbus, it was left to Dad to watch my older brother and myself. He failed miserably at this. So many nights alone, or doing homework in the bar, or falling asleep in the bar. Not a fun way to have been brought up. But I survived, and learned a lesson from my upbringing. 

Dad died on 01 Jan 1977 after battling pancreatic cancer for about 5 months.

My Dad was not perfect. But I know he loved us and was proud of his family. It's just the way he was.

Happy 103rd birthday Dad!

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