John Wesley Porter, 96, of Bradenton, Fla., formerly of Beverly, Mass., died on March 28, 2017 at the age of 96. The son of John W. Porter Sr. and Ethel Lulu (Langille) Porter, he was born on September 3, 1920 in Wilmington, Mass. When the family’s home was destroyed by fire, John moved at the age of 6 to Sussex, N.J. in the northwest corner of the state where his family operated a dairy farm called Meadow Farm. After his father died of cancer, he returned to Massachusetts to live with his uncle, William Richardson and his wife, Sadie in Middleton. He graduated from Boston Trade School in 1941, specializing in Automotive Repair, and began work as a toolmaker’s assistant at the General Electric in West Lynn.
He served in the United States Army from June 6, 1942 until November 8, 1945 in the 1941st Engineer Maintenance Company, achieving the rank of Staff Sergeant. He participated in four campaigns in the Pacific Theater of World War II, including Gaudalcanal, New Guinea, Northern Solomons and Southern Philippines. As foreman of a shop of 52 men who included carpenters, machinists and other tradesmen, he was awarded the Bronze Service Star, particularly for his “foresight which enabled him to accomplish much with a minimum of effort.”
Immediately after his return from the war, he married Lurana Marie Waldron of Beverly, a teacher in the Marblehead school system. He returned to work at General Electric. With assistance from his uncle Will, a carpenter, built a Cape-style house in Ryal Side as a home for his wife and daughter, Loyce Allane. He attended the newly established Northeastern University in Boston at night and graduated in 1952 with a degree in Business Administration in Engineering and Management. There was an explosion of interest at General Electric in how to package the many new instruments that the company was beginning to manufacture, so John accepted a position in the relatively new field of packaging engineering. In 1959 he won a GE Merit Award for his work with the new materials of expandable styrene (Styrofoam) and transparent plastics (bubble wrap) which quickly gained widespread use throughout GE as well as in other corporations and foreign countries. He won the Merit Award again in 1960 for his pioneering work in packaging and box, pack and ship activities in nine different categories. He worked at General Electric until his retirement in 1983.
He was an active member of the First Baptist Church in Beverly where he was a deacon, the Superintendent of the Sunday school, and the first treasurer of Anchorage House, a residential program that the church started for boys who were unable to live at home. He particularly enjoyed serving as chair of the church’s Property Committee and organizing work days when men from various trades would come together on a Saturday to work on church projects with the reward of a hearty lunch put on by the women of the church. He was honored with the Fred Pierce Men’s Class Man of the Year Award in 1966. He was also a member of the Masonic Fraternal Order for 65 years, as a member of Budleigh Lodge in Beverly, and later as a member of Sahib Temple, in Sarasota, Fla.
When his wife, Lurana, inherited a lakeside lot in Strafford, New Hampshire which had been part of her family’s farm since 1856, he spent two summers building a summer cottage and all its systems except for the fireplace. They enjoyed many summer days there with their family. After his retirement, they left Beverly and spent nine months in their new home in Sarasota, Fla. and three months at the lake during the summer months.
After Lurana’s death in 1994, he moved to Bradenton where he and Evelyn Carmody, a retired nurse, became companions for 15 years. He spent many hours helping his neighbors with handyman repairs and making clocks and fine pieces of furniture. He opened a small clock repair business, specializing in antique clocks. After Evelyn’s death in 2012, he became the caretaker of her beloved Yorkshire terrier Katie, and his neighbors often saw him faithfully walking the little dog three or four times a day.
A memorial service has already been held in Florida. He is survived by his daughter, Loyce Thomson and her husband John, of Beverly; his grandson, David Thomson, his wife Laura, and their daughter, Isabella (Izzy) of Beverly; and his granddaughter, Annsley Thomson and her husband, Michael Hoydis of Portland, Maine.
Published on  June 27, 2017