Donald Randal Porter returned home to his Heavenly Father on Monday, November 20, 2023.
Dad was born February 5, 1932 in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Randal and Florence Porter during what has come to be known as “The Great Depression.” He spoke often of those trying times and how his family did not have much money, nevertheless there was always an abundance of love in his home. His father Randal was a finish carpenter by trade. Randal and his wife Florence also worked together as custodians responsible for cleaning the 3-story church of the 14th Ward building that they attended in Salt Lake City. They lived in the caretaker’s cottage behind the chapel provided to those assigned as custodians. Dad helped his father clean the chapel and shared childhood stories of how his father would cut the power to the building and make eerie whistling noises in the darkened building. He and his father would then engage in a cat and mouse game to see who could find the other in the dark first.
In 1950 Dad graduated from West High in Salt Lake City. On March 18, 1952 he married Barbara Hoagland with whom he had 2 sons, Gregory and Gary. He attended the University of Utah and graduated with a degree in Business Management. During his time at University he was involved in the Reserve Officer's Training Corps (ROTC), a college program that prepares young adults to become officers in the U.S. Military. In his early twenties, dad entered the Air Force as a Lieutenant. While stationed at the Aeronautical Chart and Information Center in St. Louis, Missouri, he had a unique experience. He was placed in charge of the procurement and contracting office on the base. This included 30 civil service buyers and contracting personnel for which he was responsible. The base commander told him when he arrived that the job was assigned for a Major, who had just left and would be replaced with another shortly. Six months later dad had the occasion to ask the base commander when the new Major would arrive. Dad was informed that there had been a conversation with the General at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton Ohio, and it was decided that since dad had been performing so well it was now his job. Six months later dad was given the rank of Captain.
At the conclusion of his Air Force service, he was hired by the Southern California Edison electric utility company and retired in 1989 after 30+ years as a customer service manager.
Dad was a good athlete, having played basketball, softball, tennis, and table tennis. Numerous trophies and medals in his home attest to his passion for these sports. Dad struggled with knee pain and often remarked, “those sports are what took my knees out.” Tennis was the sport dad loved most. He played number one singles in high school and the University of Utah until he took on a job to pay for school. When his knees would no longer allow him to play tennis, he started a table tennis, aka ping pong, club. The club started with six players, five from the Camarillo ward, including Devon Hansen and Burl Bushman. They began with one broken down table that the maintenance men from Pleasant Valley Park and Recreation had to repair every other week. Twenty-five years later when he retired from the club there were fifty-six players and eight tournament tables.
Dad felt sorrow for mistakes made in his life but would say, “even so earth has no sorrow, which heaven cannot heal” and dad tried to make up for his mistakes the best he knew how. He was loved by many and will be missed. We are grateful for the lessons he taught us.
On December 3, 1977, he married Elizabeth Whitney with whom he had 3 children Randy, Robin, and Julie.
He was preceded in his passing by his father Randal Porter, mother Florence Porter, and sister Joan Ferraro. He is survived by his children Gregory Porter, Gary Porter, Randy Porter, Robin Porter, and Julie Porter.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, December, 15 2023 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints located at 1201 Paseo Camarillo, Camarillo, CA 93010. There will be a visitation in the Relief Society room at 10am with the service to follow at 11am in the chapel.