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In Memoriam: Henry Porter (March 11, 1942 – Dec. 26, 2023)

Henry “Hank” Allen Porter, 81, of Stayton died Dec. 26, 2023 following a brief illness complicated by a stroke suffered in August 2023.

Henry was born March 11, 1942 in St. Helens to George and Marge Porter. He spent his childhood on the Porter family dairy farm in Cloverdale. He then attended Western Oregon University (WOU).

Henry entered the U.S. Army in 1964 and was stationed in Seoul, South Korea. He was later stationed in Mannheim, West Germany, where he met his wife of 56 years, Sandi, who was working in the American Embassy. They returned to the United States and were married on Aug. 26, 1968.

Henry finished his bachelor’s degree in education at WOU, and later received his master’s degree in education at the same institution.

Henry taught at Stayton High School from 1968 to 2002. At Stayton High, he taught civics, geography and American history as well as coached cross country, track and AAU basketball. His special passion was coaching pole vault, which is was still doing in Scio during the 2023 track season.

Henry and Sandi chaperoned 39 students around the United States and Canada during the summer of 1969. They also were active for many years in the American Field Service as advisor and hostess, and even housed a domestic student one summer. 

Henry was a true civil servant at heart and served multiple terms in Stayton government as either a councilperson or as mayor. Starting with his first term as mayor in 1979, Henry served a total of seven terms as Stayton’s mayor, the longest serving mayor in Oregon. He stepped down from his final term in January 2023. 

Among many other achievements was the completion of the Stayton Community Dog Park in 2017, which was renamed the Henry A. Porter Dog Park in his honor. 

 Henry was also a historian of guns and gun culture, as well as an accomplished gunsmith. He was the proprietor of Hank’s Gun Shop for 11 years in beautiful downtown Stayton. He enjoyed reading, movies and traveling throughout Oregon.

Henry was an active member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5638 in Stayton and recently served as the post commander. 

Hank is survived by his wife, Sandi Porter; sons, Vaughn (Cynthia) Porter of Beaverton and Arthur (Xann) Porter of Salem; daughter, Penelope (Randal) Doss of Concord, Va.; sister, Alice Piercy; brothers, Dale and Gene Porter; granddaughters, Mazie Doss and Jillian Porter; numerous cousins; and his dog, Gus.

Hank was preceded in death by his parents, George and Marge Porter.

Funeral Services will be held at 11 a.m. Jan. 9 at Calvary Lutheran Church, 198 Fern Ridge Road, Stayton. An open reception will the service from noon to 4 p.m. in the church lower level.

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