HENDERSON UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

Walter Porter  the first 80 yrs.

Walter went to a family reunion in August of 2015. His family wanted to honor his life and wrote a bio including photos of his life.  We at Henderson UMC know that this is not the last for Walt, and so have titled this story, the first 80 years.

Walt's love of baseball began when he was a young man growing up in rural Mississippi County, Missouri.  Although, there was not  "League's", he and a group of other young men formed their own group of baseball players and they would travel around playing against other baseball players.  He played baseball in many surrounding communities, Dorena, MO, Charleston, MO, Sikeston, MO, Deventer, MO, Henson,, MO and Cairo, IL. He played Out Field position and Center Field position, and when it came his turn to bat; he was known to HIT a Home Run.

When he relocated to Erie, Pa he joined the Glenwood Baseball League. The Glenwood Baseball League consist of 75 to 80 baseball teams.  His team in the league was sponsored by the Erie Post Office.  He played Center field and he batted second or third in the line-up and sometimes he was the leadoff batter.  He has many stoies to tell about his baseball ventures.  For example, his team was playing in Warren, Pa, a town located about 80 miles fro Erie,  A young boy came up to Walt when he was getting ready to bat and began rubbing Walt's hands trying to get the color off; the boy's mother came out and apologized to Walt for her son.  Although he did not say I bet his team was run out of many towns because of their color. 

Walt started umpiring in 1963. He is a Certified ASA Umpire and he completes training every year to keep his certification.  Annual ASA Umpire training is held in Ohio and New York.  Walt was recognized for his outstanding performance as an Umpire in 2008 when e was inducted into the Erie, PA Hall of Fame ASA Umpire.  He was awarded the recognition by his peers and he currently is the only "Black" Umpire to be honored in the Erie Pa Hall of Fame A position he humbly accepts and appreciates. Walt umpires between 150 to 200 baseball games per year. On Saturday some baseball game tournaments start as early as 7am and finish late at night.  On Sundays, baseball game tournaments start after church at 1pm and continue until completion. The ASA Umpire Association is well known all over the United States.

Walt gets his license yearly to be a member of this great association. He works (umpires games) for young people 8 years old to senior citizens.
There is a 60 year old baseball league, a 70 year old baseball league, and an 80 year old league of baseball players.

In 1959, he drove a 1950 Buick to Erie, Pa.  He arrived in Erie around 9am and went to 19th and Parade Street and was talking to some people about how to find work.  A lady by the name of Fannie Bell told him "my nephew will come home for dinner at 11am, you come back and he will take you with him to his job ".  Her nephew was Bud Bell and he worked for Charlie Gold's Junk Yard.  Walt started working that same day and he worked until Saturday afternoon and was paid $95.00. He looked at his check and though that a mistake had been made. He took his check to the secretary to see if she had made a mistake. Sure enough, no mistake was made.  Walter was used to making $26.00 a week working on the farm from sun up to sun down and 1/2 day on Saturday.  When he worked on the farm, he drove tractor, combines, chopped cotton, pulled cotton, and chopped beans. He worked at the junk yard for about 1 year.  His next job was an over-the-road truck driver for Johnson Brothers. He has been all over the USA driving trucks. He worked for eight years for Johnson Brothers.  Walter retired from the Erie School District where he was employed for 33 years. He drove a school bus and worked in the maintenance department. As a bus driver he knew the names of all the parents of the children  that rode his bus. As a maintenance worker, he supervised a crew of fifteen that was responsible for tree trimming, grounds upkeep, moving teachers from one building to another and moping and waxing floors. Erie has about 25 school buildings and his crew was responsible for all of them.

Walt was a member of the Mt Zion Missionary Baptist Church where he was baptized and attended Sunday school and church with his family.
He is currently a member of Henderson United Methodist Church in Erie, Pa.  He has been a member there since 1974 He is very active at his church where he serves as Usher, vice president of the Trustee Board. He works in the church's food pantry distributing, collecting and transporting food to the needy. He attends Sunday school, he is a member of the food committee and he personally decorates the church's Christmas Tree every year for the past 30 years.

He loves to cook and is well known for his sweet potato pie, his butter rolls, his pound cake and his 7- up cake. He is active with the youth in his church and his community. The youth attend camps, field trips, visit the zoo, and go on fishing trips. He has driven the church van for many years picking up his church members.  Currently, he picks up 4 senior citizen mothers every Sunday and take them to church. He also uses his personal car to transport sick members to Buffalo, NY, Pittsburgh, Pa  and Cleveland Ohio for cancer treatments. Walter feels that what he  is able to do is a blessing from God.

Walter was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi to the parents of Homer and Irene Porter. He is the 3rd son of the family. He has seven sisters. Currently, Walt and only two sisters survive, Minnie Brown of St Louis, MO and Mary White-Ross of Sikeston, MO.

Walter's hobbies include sports, football, baseball, hockey, tennis, softball and every type of sports. He also enjoys cooking. He is a member of the  YMCA where he enjoys lifting weights, swimming, and water aerobics. Walter is a father, grandfather, and great grandfather. His children are the joy of his life.

Walter has been featured on Times News for his involvement with the Make A Wish   foundation  and interviewed  for his years as an umpire.

 
       

 

Henderson United Methodist Church 2013 - 2015