Daniel Wilson Porter was ushered into peace by his daughter and granddaughter on December 14, 2020 after losing his battle with Covid -19. His amazing 98 ½ - year journey began in Urbana, Illinois, on April 24, 1922. There is much to tell you about Daniel’s life story. He loved music and humbly admitted that he was “a decent trombone player.” Music lived in Daniel’s head and often came out as he whistled the tunes that could brighten our day. His strong work ethic was formed during his teens while delivering the campus newspaper, the Daily Illini - pedaling his fat tire bike through snow and early morning darkness. It was at the University of Illinois where he met his wife, Phyllis. Dan was earning his degree in mechanical engineering when the attack at Pearl Harbor pulled us in to war. Dan answered the call to serve, taking him to New York to study meteorology, then on to Texas for a quick study of air traffic control. He was stationed at Ft. St. John, British Columbia, one of many outposts along the Alaskan Highway that were positioned to shuttle airplanes and supplies to our allies in Russia. He earned the rank of First Lieutenant and closed the base at the war’s end, returning to Illinois to finish his degree and start a family with Phyllis.
The optimism and possibilities of post-war America inspired Dan and Phyllis to move west. Denver became their new home. Dan went to work for Tramway dismantling the trolley system. When that mission was completed, he went to work in the construction industry for Gamble Building Company. Later, he joined Blackinton and Decker Construction Company and became owner in 1970. His contributions to the building community included serving as president of the Associated General Contractors in 1978. He helped to negotiate labor contracts, earning appreciation from then - governor, Richard Lamm.
Dan and Phyllis raised five children, instilling the importance of involvement in the community. Dan was an Eagle Scout and became a scoutmaster. He and Phyllis were election judges. Dan was an active Kiwanis member and Inner City Parish volunteer. He was a dedicated member of First Plymouth Congregational Church for 71 years, serving as usher and a key manager of the facility. Dan traveled to the Dominican Republic on service trips for the church. It was on one of these trips that Daniel was thanked by the famous baseball player, Sammy Sosa.
He was a board member for Senior Homes which created the independent living community, Kentucky Village. In his 70’s and well into his 80’s, he was spry enough to drive the van to transport seniors (often younger than he was) on their weekly trips to the grocery store.
Daniel served on the boards of High View Water District and Golden Canal and Reservoir Company. He was a blood donor, donating 114 pints. He relished the pints of ice cream he received in return.
Dan made room for the good things in life. He loved to fish while enjoying the beauty of Colorado. Every summer, camping and backpacking trips often became adventures as Daniel would push the limits of the family station wagon on jeep roads or our ability to handle the unpredictable weather of the Rockies. We treasure all of these memories. Dan loved to garden and earned Master Gardener status in retirement. He loved to swim and to jog. He loved fireworks and was giddy as a schoolboy as his grandsons orchestrated the backyard 4th of July pyrotechnics. He loved to help others. He loved life, even as the years chipped away at his strength and vitality. Watching the birds at the feeder while puffing on his pipe or sipping a Coors Extra Gold were golden to him. He will be dearly and deeply missed.
Daniel is survived by his five children, 9 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren.
Our sincere, heartfelt thanks to all those who helped us care for Daniel during the last chapters of his story.