John Calvin Portman Jr.
1924 - 2017
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John C. Portman Jr., the architect and developer whose post-modernist style, while sometimes controversial, won him acclaim while altering the skylines of Atlanta and cities around the world, died Friday. He was 93.

No single architect shaped Atlanta's skyline like Portman, who gave the city the Hyatt Regency, Peachtree Center, AmericasMart and the Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel. He also left his stamp from San Francisco to Shanghai, and revitalized Times Square with his famed New York Marriott Marquis.

Portman also backed numerous civic and philanthropic causes, and was a founding member of Atlanta's Action Forum, a coalition of black and white business leaders, who worked to make Atlanta more economically inclusive and preserve Atlanta's reputation as the "city too busy to hate."

Read more about the life and legacy of architect John Portman at MyAJC.com
Published in Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Dec. 30, 2017.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
JAN
5
Service
12:30 PM
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
95 entries
June 9, 2018
What a great loss to art and artists inspired by his work. Thankfully, we have all the beauty he created to enjoy. Especially Entelechy 2.
Nancy Seeley
February 23, 2018
I'm sorry for your loss. My prayers are with the family both now,and forever.
T Thompson
February 6, 2018
I worked for Portman & Associates from 1973-1975 as its first librarian. Mr. Portman built a beautiful library with a round desk for my office. After I had catalogued all the slides and photographs of models of upcoming projects, we bent over slide table together to create the slide shows he would show to potential investors/partners in his projects. I would then create books of photographs to match the slide show so the clients could take them home and show them to other potential partners. This approach was an innovative one for client presentations, where most architects relied on models and fabric samples. Since I was about the age of his son Jack, Mr. Portman treated me like a daughter and a student and taught me a great deal about presentations and public relations. This knowledge served me well in future positions in the Jimmy Carter campaign and White House and later as a college professor in Baton Rouge, LA. I remember him with gratitude and great fondness.
Maxie Wells
January 18, 2018
So sorry to see this, I worked in 1962 for Mr. Portman.
Gary Estes
January 14, 2018
A life well lived. There are very few individuals in Atlanta that one can point so and say they changed the landscape of the city. Eternal rest to Mr Portman, and condolences to the Portman family.
Benjamin Gaines
January 13, 2018
Jack,

I worked for your Dad for 10 years and still think of the impact he has on me after all these years. Even though the debt restructuring in the early 90's was supposed to be the worst of times, for me it was the best of times. The energy was once in a lifetime. John was more than a mentor to me and I remember so fondly how he came to sit with me each morning in my office to share his antics. I loved John and had so much respect for him. I know he will continue to watch his beloved city of Atlanta from above and I also know that under your guidance, it will continue as he would have wanted it. My sincerest prayers to you and your family.

Respectfully,
Betsy Vartanian
540-270-2242
Betsy Vartanian
January 10, 2018
Mr. Harold Waters who worked with Mr. Portman wishes to express his condolences to the Portman family and to request the Mrs. Joan Portman give him a call ( 470 302 1808) at the Brickmont Assisted
Living Facility (Milton GA)where Mr. Waters is currently living.
He deeply regrets not being able to attend the memorial service for Mr. Portman.
Thank you
Bill Collins
January 8, 2018
I just returned from an out-of-country trip that kept me away from news and so it is only today that I learned of Mr. Portman's passing. As often occurs at the death of a creative genius, Portman's native land will begin to appreciate more what Europeans and Asians sensed all along: Portman was an artist, a creative designer responsive to his times and to the people he served, and, in the end, he was not so much "controversial" as misunderstood in the contexts of his many urban worlds of operation. His spirit is present as much in his small yin/yang bronze or larger sculpture "without beginning or end" that he called "The Web," as it is in the enduring spatial excitement of his atrium lobbies and in the forms of his towering skyscrapers. I predict his star will continue to rise. And I will miss his generosity and genuinely kind greetings whenever our paths crossed.
Robert M. Craig
Robert Craig
January 7, 2018
Rest in Peace, John.
was a pleasure & an honor to work with you.
My deepest condolences, Jan.
Harold Waters
2925 Webb Rd.
Milton GA 30004
January 6, 2018
If his buildings had not been built, American contemporary architecture would have had a fundamental gap. His filling the gap makes John Portman one of the most important, if not the most important, architects of recent years and one of the most significant voices in international late modern architecture.
John Portman succeeded in capturing something that touches people's hearts and he has managed to put this into his buildings.
Elizabeth and Paolo Riani
January 5, 2018
Evelyn Wilson
January 5, 2018
Blessings and prayers and our sincere condolences to the Portman family,our daughter Mashelle Epps Dean started working as a temporary employee,she became permanent and would always tell us how she enjoyed her job at Portman,she would also talk about Mr. Portman continuing to come into the office. What a legacy,Mr. Portman will forever be remembered in Atlanta and through out the world. Sorry we never had the chance to meet him.
Evelyn Wilson
January 5, 2018
Dear Jack and family,
Sincere condolences for your loss. Your father significantly shaped modern downtown Atlanta and together you had a major impact on Shanghai. These architectural achievements live beyond a life-time well spent, and may your pride in him help you with your grief.
Dagmar Epsten, PlanAPlanet
Dagmar Epsten
January 5, 2018
I am proud to work as a Property Manager in Peachtree Center, where we reside in Mr. Portman's former offices. We all feel a responsibility to Downtown Atlanta in maintaining his legacy.
Dawn Marx
January 5, 2018
thank you for all of your great contributions to the world especially Atlanta RIP
bernetha patterson
January 4, 2018
He is missed, but has left this world a better place in so many ways.
Michael & Nancy Weaver
Acquaintance
January 4, 2018
The revolutionary 22-story Hyatt Regency atrium in October 2016.
B. Humphreys
January 4, 2018
A great treasure and for us all, his passing is only a temporary separation for those of us he shed his inspiration on . It is not a closing book, only a prelude to his creations on the streets of gold.
David A. Hopkins
January 4, 2018
Jack & Mike, my family joins me in conveying my condolences to you and the extended Portman families. During my tenure of some 24 years with JP&A, Mr. P offered opportunities which exposed me to many nuances of architecture and the integration of architecture for people and their environs. Friendships and associates were cultivated. Never in my wildest imagination did I ever dream of working on major urban projects, Detroits RenCen & New York Marquis and others, that became catalysts for energizing major city centers. The experiences which I gained as the skyline of Atlanta took shape are unparalleled. He taught me a lot. My thanks and my condolences,

Bob Jones
Bob Jones
January 4, 2018
My family business was commercial kitchen design and installation. We built the "Midnight Sun", and other Portman projects. Working with Portman, FABRAP/ASD and other Portman affilliates intimidated me, at first. But then quality was Mr. Portman's insistance. That was what my company thrived on. My Father, Ralph, was also a Georgia Tech graduate. I think that is what Mr. Portman used to judge my Father's committment to quality. Sometimes, it's not the price but it's the quality. We were so fortunate to earn Mr. Portman's trust and continued to design and furnish commercial restaurant equipment, china, silverware, glassware and the like until we sold our company in 1991. What fun it was to see the final creation and say "WOW!" and know that we had a small part in a Portman creation. I trust that the family will treasure the memories of Mr. Portman. Every time they drive downtown, their father's presence will surround them and they can also say, "WOW!"
Winston Whitlock
January 4, 2018
My Condolences to Jack and family,

I am sorry for your loss. And, I am sorry for the loss to the industry. Mr. P had a story yet to be told.

My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Kathleen Margolis
Kathleen Margolis
January 4, 2018
Henry Ford once said the following about John Portman regarding the Renaissance Center Complex in Detroit: "Seldom if ever has an Architect had more influence or made a greater contribution to a modern American city" This was in 1972. Over the many years I have stared countless times at the Atlanta skyline and enjoyed the Peachtree Plaza in particular. I spent the first night of my honeymoon there. My daughter spent some of her 16th Birthday party riding the outside elevator to the top with us and her friends looking out over the city from the observation decks. Also, how years ago, he took the time out of his busy day to sign one of his books and send a handwritten note along with it. Although I am related to Mr. Portman (2nd cousin lol), I have to say, if you are blessed enough to have a "famous" relative, then you want one who not only is famous for the work they did but for the humanitarian works and projects that he was involved in. I am sad for the loss to his family but thankful that he was able to have such a long and productive life and that I was able to have a very tiny part in it.
Jay B.
January 3, 2018
LaToya and Mr. John Portman
It was an absolute privilege to have worked for an Architectural Legend of the Ages. "Mr. P" had such stellar aura and the energy from his presence was undeniably motivating. Thank you Mr. Portman for giving the world your contributions... you will be sincerely missed but never forgotten. To the Portman Family, my deepest condolences.
Latoya Hamilton
Coworker
January 3, 2018
While active in business in downtown, Atlanta, never personally met Mr. Portman. Saw Him many times. Admired His work and His "Attitude. Have Nieces and Nephews, Davis Family, close to His Family. My condolences to them. Atlanta, Georgia, the US and the World has lost a visionary. Marc Morris
Marc Morris
January 3, 2018
On behalf of Pat Thompson, the late William (Bill) L. Thompson, and everyone at Thompson Company, Inc., I would like to extend our sincere condolences to Jeff and the entire Portman Family. We are very sorry for your loss.

Bill often spoke of how proud he was to have been a part of the many iconic projects created by Mr. Portman and the Portman team. Mr. Portmans vision has made Atlanta what it is today and his brilliance in architecture has impacted the world.

God Bless!

Jim Blackburn
Thompson Company, Inc.
James Blackburn
Acquaintance
January 2, 2018
Condolences to Jeff and the entire Portman Family, very sorry for your loss.
Steve Champness
January 2, 2018
Truly a man of tremendous contribution to Atlanta and the world. It was an honor to have met him. My condolences go out to his beloved family.
Guy Seabrook
January 2, 2018
What stands out for me was a life of irrepressible creativity in all he touched and in particular the way in which his public work was informed by intense and private explorations of space and reality in his drawings, paintings and sculpture.

I can think of no equal.


Alan Balfour
Emeritus Professor
Georgia Tech
Alan Balfour
January 2, 2018
Bob Gaar
January 2, 2018
I will never forget Mr. Portman graciously explaining to me how to "properly" measure building plans for one of the proposed Peachtree Center towers when I was a young appraiser at C & S Bank in Atlanta. He lived a wonderful, enduring, charitable and contributory life. The world is a better place. Blessings and prayers to the Portman Family.
John Cherry, Jr.
January 2, 2018
He was larger than any of his tallest hotels. Cooler than any of the streams that flowed through his atriums. Smoother than any of the glass elevators that seemed to be headed for the stars. He was Portman. He was Atlanta. He was genius. He is not forgotten.
January 1, 2018
Florina Trifu-New
January 1, 2018
My career was forged during my time with the Portman organization. I learned about professionalism, ethics, and the value of team. He was a great man with a good heart.
Larry Carver
January 1, 2018
Please accept my condolences on the loss of your love one.
January 1, 2018
I feel so lucky to have known him at just the right time when I lived and grew up in Atlanta. He opened our minds to amazing ideas and possibilities. I send my deepest sympathy to his wonderful family who will draw great strength from each other.
Lamar Raine
January 1, 2018
My thoughts and prayers are with you, Jeff and Jana, and the rest of your family. Your dad contributed so much. Love from your Lovett 77 classmate, Julia Wallace Johnston
Julia Johnston
January 1, 2018
Worked for 17 years with the Portman Companies from Shanghai to Atlanta. Enjoyed nearly every minute of it with Mr. P as the core of our company and SO important to the growth of Atlanta into the beautiful, vibrant, world-class city it is today. He will be missed!!
Cheryl Hatcher
January 1, 2018
Atlanta and the World of Architecture has lost a true Titan. Our Condolences to the Portman Family.
John Pastor
January 1, 2018
I was the person at IBM that helped Portman folks run the computer stress analysis of the Embarcadero Center hotel. I remember so well how much the hotel meant to the employees I met. It took us several weeks to prepare the program to run the analysis. The program ran for 2.5 days. ... I guess we did id right: the hotel is still standing!! ... Much respect and gratitude for John Portman's contributions. My condolences to his family.
Len Rothman
January 1, 2018
My father,Tommy Read,was the first manager of the Fox. He was also General Manager of all the downtown theaters. He hired Mr. Portman when he was a student and let him work at the Paramount Theater. Dad had him work a shift so that he could sit in the balcony to do his homework. Dad was always fond of Mr.Portman.
Tommy Read
December 31, 2017
My condolences. I had the honor and privilege of knowing Mr Portman during the construction of The Marina Square project in the 1980s.
Bob Mittelsdorf
December 31, 2017
Along with Governor George Busbee , Herman Russell, Lee Arrendale and Busbee's Chief of Staff Fred Taylor and a few others opened China to Georgia in 1975. This small delegation were the first Georgians to travel to China very soon after Nixon's visit to normalize relations. The trip has lead to tremendous investment and job creation all across our state.

John Portman a great Georgian in so many ways,my condolences to his family.
Mark Taylor
December 31, 2017
Hyatt Regency 12/28/2017 - Still the best design ever
I will never forget the first time my parents took me to Atlanta in the 1970's and I saw the Hyatt Regency. I was 12 and it blew my mind! I had no idea anything like this existed. It was amazing, otherworldly and magical. And there was even a flying saucer on the roof! We visited both the Hyatt and Peachtree Plaza with the amazing lake and skylights. I wanted to be an architect from that point on.
For me, it was not meant to be as the world of architecture crashed in the 1990's, and I became an engineer working in an aerospace company. But that allowed me to come back to Atlanta many times to visit and stay in Portman's fantastic hotels, and even have drinks in the re-opened Polaris at the Hyatt. My job also allowed me to travel throughout the United States to see his many other hotels across the country.
John Portman was an architectural genius. Every detail was thought out meticulously in each design. And though most of his works have been dramatically renovated as hotels have evolved through the years (some better than others), his still retain that Portman magic.
Your designs changed my life and many others across the world. Thanks for your great work.
Jim Callahan
December 31, 2017
To the Portman family, during this time of loss, words may fail to ease the pain, but I pray you find comfort from the love of family and friends, along with the promises of God's Word. John 11:33-36; Hebrews 4:15, 16
Andrea
December 31, 2017
Though I never met John Portman in person, his great grandfather (Arch Portman) and my great grandmother (Barbra Missouri Portman Short) were brother and sister. I have heard about him all of my life. I am so sorry that I never met this remarkable man who has done so much for Atlanta. My heart goes out to all of the family during this time of loss.
Lynne Byers
December 31, 2017
Most of us do not know John Portman the good family man and humanitarian who built some tall structures and gave permission for that scene in Burt Reynolds Sharkey's Machine movie to put a little hole in one of the upper floor hotel windows. But that scene,is what most people know of Mr.P. He will be remembered for so much more. My sympathy to his loved ones,friends and those lucky enough to share a story or two with him.
Mark Isenberg
December 31, 2017
Thanks for your unique gifts to Atlanta
December 31, 2017
Prayers to the Portman Family in their loss and thanks for Americasmart, a great place to work for the past 20 years !
The Wennerholms
December 31, 2017
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
December 31, 2017
My sincere thoughts, precious memories, and deepest sympathy to Michael and the Portman family.

"Unable are the loved to die. For love is immortality."
Missy Wright Whitmire
December 31, 2017
My daddy, Joe Reynolds worked at the Mart for many years. He had high respects for Mr. Portman and his family. I am sure Mr. Portman and daddy are talking right now. My thoughts and prayers are with your family. Sincerely Peggy Reynolds Warren
maggiie Warren
December 31, 2017
We'll miss you, Great Uncle John.
Jeffrey Cox
December 31, 2017
When we were little my brother and I were obsessed with his house on sea island. After what must have been days of pestering he let us in the gate to walk around briefly. He was a nice man whose architecture profoundly changed the Atlanta skyline and the field of architecture.
Richard Hanberry
December 31, 2017
On behalf of our family, we offer our sincere condolences to you. The passing of one of Atlanta s most important pioneers and philanthropist will reviberate across all sectors. He has left a giant mark of beauty on the city and his significant generosity will have lasting effects.
Yetty and Charlie Arp
December 31, 2017
I worked for the Portman properties in the South Tower in the late 80s mr. Portman always came by and said hi he always spoke a kind word to all people whether they're picking up garbage are there were in a suit he never met a stranger and he never failed to say hi . He had the gift of kindness that came only from his heart very good man and the company treated me very well condolence to the family that I met when I worked there God bless you all in this time of Sorrow May the days ahead you will look around see your father an grandfather everywhere hold those memories so near and dear. Sheba Hairrell Sharpton i worked in public relations and promotions 5 floor south Tower ..
Sheba Hairrell sharpton
December 31, 2017
I worked at the Portman Companies for 14 years; Mr. Portman was incredibly nice to me.

The architectural and development community has lost a giant, a very good man.

God Bless!
Richard Swift
December 31, 2017
Will all regards, may God rest him peace in heaven, Amen.
Nasim Akhtar
December 31, 2017
An extraordinary man.....who shared his love with the world.
Melanie Rich-Savu
December 31, 2017
An extraordinary man.....who shared his amazing visions with the world!
Melanie Rich-Savu
December 31, 2017
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Tony Warner
December 31, 2017
My sincere condolences to the Portman Family. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.
Allison Carter
December 31, 2017
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Neighbor (Isaiah 25:8)
December 30, 2017
Dear Jana, Jack, Mary, Michael, Jared and all the Portman family. John was my alter Dad , my mentor, my hero and the man who gave me my career. He was a genius and a truly great man who had a heart the size of Texas. He did so much for Atlanta, San Francisco, Singapore', New York, Shanghai and indeed the world of architecture. My heart is with you all. Love, Simon
Simon Snellgrove
December 30, 2017
A true visionary! As Site Preparation Contractors we were privileged to work on many of Mr. Portmans Atlanta projects. Our condolences to his family and friends.
Sue, Walt and Les Chatham
December 30, 2017
Dear Portman Family,
What a dashing and darling gentleman John Portman was who never met a stranger and who met everyone with grace and style. He was always kind, and I valued his generosity, his vision, and his ability to serve others from all walks of life. My thoughts and prayers are with each one of you during this difficult time. Devotedly and With Great Appreciation,Clara Irwin TraverRetired Lovett Faculty/Staff MemberThe Portman Family Middle School
Clara Traver
December 30, 2017
Atlanta is what it is because of you and your family, RIP...
Atlanta GA
December 30, 2017
A happy day, Auldbrass Plantation, Nov 2017
Through his artistic vision, he sought to add a living richness of joy and beauty to the people of our Earth. His compassion in creating an uplifting wonder in the living art of humanity, will forever be with us. John, you are a celebration of the goodness in the human spirit.
God speed John Calvin Portman, may you forever inspire us.

Jim Klippel
James Klippel
December 30, 2017
You are a God send and will be missed.
Jennifer Jones
December 30, 2017
May you RIP, you were and will always be the brightness of my morning when you would come by my office at AMC and visit. Thank you for all you are and have given to each, our world, city and your family. You will be missed, hoping and praying peace will help your family through these trying times of you resting in a better place than here. You truly are and always will be an icon, mentor and blessing to all who were priviledged to have been touched by you being a part of our lives, thank you Mr. P. xoxo
Jennifer Jones
December 30, 2017
He taught me not to let the zeros intimidate me.

Prayers for your Jana.
Bill Borden
December 30, 2017
Jana and the entire Portman family, my sincere condolences. What a legacy has been left to Atlanta. I hope your memories will be a comfort.
katherine Dunlap
December 30, 2017
Thank you for the gift of yourself. Love and blessings to you and your beautiful family. God rest.
June Longino Wise
December 30, 2017
You will be missed but you will continue to shine light and warmth for all of those you touched, both directly and indirectly.
William McCoy
December 30, 2017
My condolences to the family and the Atlanta AE community.
I'll miss seeing you in the halls of The Garden Plaza.
Kris Kuipers
December 30, 2017
There would be no modern day Atlanta, if there were no John Portman... R.I.P. you beautiful, creative soul.
Tonee Valentine
December 30, 2017
I have worked at the Mart since 1994, and had the pleasure of meeting Mr Portman. He will be missed. Love and prayers to the family.
Zsanett Nelson
December 30, 2017
God bless Mr. Portman. You were such a beloved father to your family, loyal and generous to your friends and instrumental in changing how we live. All my love and prayers to your family.
Anne Crawford
December 30, 2017
John Portman's name is synonymous with Atlanta.
December 30, 2017
MY CONDOLENCES TO THE FAMILY NICE AND LOVING MAN GOD BLESS
Wolfgang STOFFER
December 30, 2017
We love you & will certainly miss you
Dale Cheek
December 30, 2017
I've worked in the Westin Peachtree Plaza since 90, after relocating from San Francisco. ....so his architectural genius has been known to me ALL my life. ....REST IN PEACE Mr Portman
Shauna
December 30, 2017
Thank you for helping to make Atlanta and the world a better place. RIP good sir.
Kit Blanchard
December 30, 2017
My condolences to the entire Portman family. I have many fond memories of my years at JP&A and will always be grateful for the experience gained. It was an honor to have worked with such a great architect.
Ron Budde
December 30, 2017
The family has my deepest sympathy.
Frederick Bischoff
December 30, 2017
My condolences to the family. Atlanta thanks you for your gifts and talents you shared with all of us. RIP
Mrs. Brenda Robinson
December 30, 2017
Brilliant, visionary, multi talented.
My Menotor of Architecture,
Grateful to have worked for You.

May You rest peacefully.
My thoughts are with you.

Beatrice
Beatrice Yoder-Leyba
December 30, 2017
A man of vision a gentleman! a rare combination.
Paul Latham
December 30, 2017
The most influential architect in my life. Working at JP&A for twelve years was the highlight of my career. My deepest sympathies to Jack and the Portman family.
Allen Stewart
December 30, 2017
Not only was he a genius architect; he was an accomplished artist, generous art patron, and a kind person to boot. I send thoughts of gratitude and tranquility to his family; you've left a beautiful, indelible mark on our world Mr. Portman, may you RIP.
Gina Kuykendall
December 30, 2017
Thank you Mr. Portman, for your vision for Atlanta and your love of this city when we needed the boost to move forward! Kudos
C. P. Rey
December 30, 2017
Much love and prayers to the Portman family. John Portman was a kind, wonderful loving brilliant man who will be missed by many.
Melanie Brooks
December 30, 2017
Jarel, I am saddened to hear about the passing of your father. When I started architecture school in the 70's I always hoped I could move to Atlanta upon graduation to work for him. My condolences to your family too. John Knight, MSTSD.
John Knight
December 30, 2017
Rest In Peace Mr. Portman! A life well lived.
Michelle Harrison
December 30, 2017
Atlanta thanks you
Jacques Price
December 30, 2017
I remember as a young architecture student being invited with my class to Mr. Portman's apartment atop the merchandise mart. There we had the opportunity to listen to him talk about his vision for the city. He has certainly made the most of his life, and the city of Atlanta is much better for his having done so much of his work here.
Ennis Parker
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