Longtime educator. Loving husband, father and grandfather. Army Air Corps Veteran WWII.
GROTON - Wayne Smith Porter, 97, passed away, peacefully on March 11, 2021 at RiverCourt Residences, Groton, MA, his home for the past 5 years. He was born on June 12, 1923 in Lowell, ME, the son of John Barker Porter and Laura Salome Smith. His childhood coincided with the Great Depression and he grew up around the logging and road construction industries, where his father was a foreman and mother cooked for logging camps. He credited his summer camp experience (age 12), at Nicotous Lodge, with opening his eyes to the possibilities for his future.
Wayne graduated from Lee Academy, Lee, ME and entered Castine Normal School, Castine, ME, majoring in math and science. He taught school in a one room schoolhouse in Grand Falls, ME. Wayne was one of three sons to join the service in World War II (all three in Europe at the same time). Enlisting in the Army Air Corps on November 6, 1942 in Bangor, ME, his first assignment was at Ft. Devens, MA. He attended basic training at Smyrna, TN and Air Force Clerical School at Fort Logan, CO. Most of his time in the service was spent in Naples, Italy with the 449th Bomb Group (H), 15th Air Force, 47th Wing, 718th Squadron, WWII. He received numerous citations and awards and was honorably discharged in September of 1945.
Upon returning from the war, he took a job as principal of the grade school in West Enfield, ME and attended the University of Maine at Orono in 1948, receiving his Bachelor of Science degree. Subsequently, he went to Ashland, ME as a high school math/science teacher, where he met his wife, Theora Barley, a teacher in Presque Isle, ME. He coached ski jumping, and officiated basketball games there until 1953. He taught at Bristol High School in Bristol, ME and was the baseball coach.
Wayne became principal at Walton Junior High in Auburn, ME after receiving his master’s degree from the University of ME at Orono in 1953. From here he continued his career in education in Gloversville, NY, as curriculum coordinator in 1958 and held high school principalships in both Saugus, MA (1959-1962) and Bloomfield, CT (1962-1968). He received his certificate of graduate study (CAGS) from Boston University in 1969 and a Doctoral Degree in Education (Ed.D.) from the University of Massachusetts in 1970. Wayne and his family moved to East Longmeadow, MA in 1969 where he served as the assistant superintendent of schools and later became the superintendent of schools, remaining for 14 years until retiring in 1984.
Upon retiring, Wayne eventually moved back to Maine, where he married his second wife, Shirley Piper. He co-authored the book: The History of Lowell Maine, with Georgia Stacy. Wayne realized his long-held dream of developing a peninsula of land he had inherited from his father, creating Virgin Shores. He, along with his son, grandsons, family and friends, built a rustic camp on the shores of Saponac Pond. The “Looney Bin”, as it was known, was his pride and joy, a wonderful gathering place for friends and family.
Wayne was an avid golfer, belonging to Penobscot Country Club for years, while residing in Brewer, ME and later, at Dirigo Pines, Orono, ME. He was a fan of Boston sports, following the Patriots and the Red Sox, throughout his life. Wayne was a kind, intelligent, soft spoken man, a true gentleman in every sense of the word. He was a devoted family man and loved his grandchildren dearly, especially enjoying the time they spent with him in Maine, as he shared his knowledge and love of the Maine wilderness. The world was a better place with Wayne among us. He will surely be missed by all who were blessed to have been a part of his life. He will live on through our shared memories, especially when we cross the bridge to Maine and sit on the dock to watch the most beautiful sunsets at camp.
He is survived by his two children, daughter Terry Porter-Fahey and wife Loretta (Fahey) of Douglas, MA and son Kevin Porter and wife Janice (Bonacker) of Pepperell, MA, his sister Rhoda Dolley of Howland, ME and grandchildren: Matthew Porter (Alina Khametova) of Pincourt, Quebec, Scott Porter of Pepperell, MA, Darah Porter (Greg Azarowski) of Lunenburg, MA and Elise Hastbacka (Alan), of Chatham, MA, as well as his great-grandchildren: Alexander Porter, Alexis, Cora and Everly Hastbacka and Ryan Azarowski.
He was pre-deceased by his parents, John and Laura Porter and wives (1) Theora “Teddy” Bartley d. 1983, to whom he was married for 34 years and (2) Shirley M. Piper d. 2013, to whom he was married for 28 years, brothers: J. Norman Porter and Donald Porter, sisters: Ethel Haskell Crowell, Bethel P. Treadwell, Daisy Curtis and Fern Cummings.
Calling hours are on Thursday, March 18 from 5-6 p.m. at McGaffigan Family Funeral Home, 37 Main St., Pepperell, MA. A burial service will be held on Friday, March 19, 11 AM, Hillcrest Cemetery, 895 Parker St., Springfield, MA. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Heart Association at www.heart.org.
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American Heart Association