Irvin George Porter (1942 - 2018)

Obituary
  • "Psalm 90:10 says that the days of our years are 70 years,..."
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  • "Judy and Hillary- I am so sorry for your loss. George was..."
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    - Kim Peterson
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    - Cathy and Don Shinpaugh

Longtime resident, George Porter unexpectedly passed away on May 1, 2018 while enjoying an extended winter break in Palm Springs, California. He was 76.

George was born February 13, 1942 in Salmon, Idaho to Irvin Charles "Abe" and Carrie Estelle (Benjamin) Porter. His entire youth was spent in Salmon with his parents and three siblings, L.J., Joan and Deanna. George characterized his upbringing as carefree, fun and adventurous – a classic small town rural life of the 40s and 50s. These times were remembered with great fondness and funny stories of the "great potato wars" engaged with other neighborhood kids, long days of exploration and play in the "petrified forest" and throughout the fields and hills of Salmon, numerous sleep outs in a large teepee (constructed by his father, Abe), the building and testing of model rockets, and watching cowboy movies at the Saturday matinee while ducking for cover behind the theater seats with toy six guns blazing away. George also recalled the many wonderful hours and days of family activities spent with his parents, brother and sisters in their Willys jeep, roaming the local hills and hunting and fishing the area creeks.

While attending Salmon High School, George played football and was a member of the track team. It was during these years, he became keenly interested in amateur photography – a talent he pursued and perfected, in all aspects, well into his 30s. George attended the University of Idaho receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering and later earned professional engineer and land surveyor registration in Montana and Alaska.

George worked for the Montana State Highway Department until 1969 when he accepted the position of Claims Engineer for the Alaska Department of Highways and moved to Juneau. From 1969 into 1978, he held engineering leadership positions with the Alaska Departments of Highways, Public Works, and Transportation and Public Facilities. In May 1978, George was appointed Assistant Director of Public Works for the City and Borough of Juneau and later he served as Director of Public Works and as Director of Engineering. This was a time of strong economic and infrastructure growth in Juneau. George had a significant role in leading and managing several major CBJ engineering projects to include streets, sidewalks, docks, harbors, utilities and the airport. He left city employment in 1989 and entered the private consulting sector as Senior Civil Engineer with R&M Engineering, Inc., until retiring in 2002. After retirement, George was appointed to the newly created CBJ Utility Advisory Board. He served five, two-year terms before resigning in 2015.

Creative and hardworking, George was an extraordinarily skilled DIYer, adept at performing electrical, plumbing, roofing, carpentry and landscaping tasks, just to name a few. Over the years, he completed the remodel of two family homes and many small and large improvement projects for family and friends. George was also known for his elaborate holiday yard displays and for his bountiful and beautiful home gardens and yard. He was a busy guy. These personally challenging and satisfying activities kept him "occupied, fit and flexible", he'd say. However, everyone needs a little break. Palm Springs was truly their "happy place" where George and his wife liked to dodge the dark, damp, cold Juneau winter to renew their spirits soaking in the heat and sunshine of the beautiful desert. Just days before he passed, George checked off another bucket list item. In company of his daughter, Hilary, they enjoyed a vintage biplane ride over the desert cities and landscape. He alleged the tandem skydiving company was temporarily closed.

George is survived by his wife of 42 years, Judy (Reid) Porter, daughter Hilary Porter, siblings L.J. (Jeanette) Porter (Lakewood, CO), Deanna (Jim) Grisenti, (Jackson, ID) and Joan (Brent) Williams (Evanston, WY) plus numerous extended family members and close, treasured friends. George was much loved and will be deeply missed. We entrust his curious spirit, quirky wit, and generous nature to the loving care of family and friends in the hereafter until we can embrace him once again.

A celebration of life will be held Saturday, May 26, 1 to 3p.m., in the Smith Hall, Chapel by the Lake. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages a memorial donation to the .
Published in The Juneau Empire from May 20 to June 19, 2018
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