ALAN DEAN PORTER ~ Class of 1967
February 28, 1949 - April 10, 2009
Alan Dean Porter, age 60, died on April 10, 2009 in Vancouver, WA. He was born on February 28, 1949 in St. Louis, MO to Alva Dean Porter and Patricia Mulvihill Porter and soon moved to Richland, WA where he grew up. In 1971 he moved to Portland, OR and married Edna Marie Harrison and spent much of his life there.
Alan's life centered around education. A graduate of Central Washington State College in 1971, he earned his Master of Education in Teaching at Portland State University in 1979 and his Master of Education in School Counseling at Lewis and Clark College in 1994. He began his career teaching special needs students and later became a school counselor, working tirelessly to remove barriers to students' education. He was most passionate about working with at-risk youth and those who would be first generation college students. He dedicated over 30 years to his students and colleagues in the Portland Public School district and upon retirement continued to work as a school counselor and advocate. He spent nearly a decade working as an adjunct professor in the same program at Lewis & Clark that he graduated from. He took great joy in working with young counselors and felt it was a way to stay current in his profession. He also recently began volunteering for the Washington School Counselors Association and regularly attended WSCA conferences.
Throughout his adult life, Alan endured many medical problems and yet always kept a positive attitude. At 26 he was diagnosed with kidney failure and nine years later received a kidney from his brother, Kevin. Later in life his health deteriorated more and yet his strong spirit, positive attitude and sense of humor inspired many.
The great joy in Alan's life besides education was family. He spent time researching family genealogy and delighted in watching his daughter, and later his granddaughter, grow. His wish when he was young and learned his life may be cut short, was to see his only daughter grow up. He was blessed not only with this chance but to spend two years getting to know his only granddaughter as well. Alan was also an avid reader who enjoyed American politics and history, watching basketball and baseball, and collecting movies. He loved technology and spent countless hours converting family photos and old music and movies to digital formats.
Alan's philosophy in the words of Dag Hammerskjold:
The heart aches.
Down the rocks.
The fingers are numb,
The knees tremble.
It is now,
Now, that you must not give in.
On the path of the others
Are resting places,
Places in the sun
Where they can meet.
Is your path,
And it is now,
Now, that you must not fail.
If you can,
But do not complain.
The Way chose you—
And you must be thankful.
A snapshot that reflects how he lived his life, in the words of an unknown author:
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and
well-preserved body — but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn
out and loudly proclaiming. . . WOW! What a ride!"
Alan's life was suddenly cut short when he suffered a heart attack, but as his wife, Edna, noted, we could have lost him 35 years ago and he would be the first to say those years were a treasured gift. He is survived by his mother, Pat of Richland, WA; his wife, Edna of Vancouver, WA; daughter and son-in-law Tracy and Jeff Miner and granddaughter Nora of Elma, WA; sisters Susan Porter Wambach ('65) of Ohio, Lori Prussing of Richland, WA and brother Kevin Porter of Friday Harbor, WA, and their spouses. Our hearts break for you.
A public Celebration of Life service will be held on Sunday, April 26, 2009 at 1:00pm at Lewis & Clark College in the Flanagan Chapel with reception following. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donation be made to the following organizations:
Northwest Kidney Kids, Inc.
300 N. Graham, Suite 300
Portland, OR 97227
Lewis & Clark School Counseling Diversity Scholarship
Pay to: Lewis & Clark Graduate School
Attn: Lisa Pogue
0615 Palatine Hill Rd
Portland, OR 97219
Laura Pederson 503-768-6144