of Clarksville, AR
June 22, 1932 - June 20, 2022
Billy Dean Porter, 89, of Clarksville, Arkansas passed away Monday, June 20, 2022 at his home in Clarksville. He was born June 22, 1932 in Harmony to Mr. James Loyce and Ola (Miracle) Porter. Bill was a member of the Clarksville First United Methodist Church and was a former member of the Harmony Presbyterian Church. He is preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, Anna Lou (Pierson); his parents; brothers, Lyall, Buell and Gus Porter and sister, Trixie Buchannan.Mr. Porter is survived by one daughter, Charlotte and Bruce Wilson of Clarksville and three sons, David and Sheila Porter of Little Rock, Jimmy and Lisa Porter of Russellville and Robert and Elaine Porter of Fayetteville; six grandchildren, Allison (Wilson) and Jason Hart, Joshua and Erin Wilson, Eli and Lorna (Porter) Pierce, William Porter, Joseph Porter and Matthew Porter; six great-grandchildren, Aurora Hart, Jonathan Hart, Penelope Wilson, Emerson Wilson, Porter Grace Pierce and Lawson Pierce, along with numerous nieces and nephews.Bill Porter is a descendent of a Porter Family that has resided in and around Harmony, Arkansas since 1838. He graduated from Clarksville High School in 1950 and the College of the Ozarks, now University of the Ozarks, with a degree in Business Administration in 1954. On March 19, 1955 at the Harmony Presbyterian Church, he married Anna Lou Pierson, a descendent of the Laster Family that also resided in and around Harmony since the late 1830s. They began their marriage in Harmony and moved to Clarksville in 1968, to a home where he resided until his death.Bill began his business career working part-time, while in college, at Galloway Lumber Company and joined the company full time upon graduation, as office manager and bookkeeper. After the owner of Galloway Lumber died in 1964, the surviving members of the ownership group, Jack Cline, E. K. Johnson and Leslie Bryant, added Bill as a fourth stockholder in a new corporation, Clarksville Wood Products Inc. He was named General Manager of the company and over the years bought out the other three stockholders, becoming the sole owner of the business, where he continued to work until retirement, when he sold the company in 1999.Early in his adult life Bill became an active member of the City of Clarksville with his appointment to the Clarksville Light and Water Committee in 1968, becoming chairman in 1970. In 1971, he successfully ran for Mayor of Clarksville and served two 4-year terms. During his 8 years in office, he oversaw many substantial improvement projects for the city, including urban renewal, street and drainage improvements, establishment of the Johnson County Regional Hospital, a new City Hall, modernization of garbage collection and disposal system, a new water treatment plant and a new city park, Cline Park. After ending his two terms he served on the board of directors of Johnson County Regional Hospital, eventually becoming chairman of the board.In 1981, Bill successfully ran for an open seat in the Arkansas State House of Representatives, a position he held for 12 years serving under governors, Frank White and Bill Clinton. During his years in the state house, he served on several committees, with his proudest achievement, the passage of an appropriations bill that provided funding for a new headquarters in Clarksville for the Arkansas State Police Troop J. He decided not to run for re-election in 1992 and formally retired from politics. During his business and political career, he served in leadership roles on numerous local, state and national committees and commissions, including the Arkansas Forestry Commission, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, President of the Cooperage National Trade Association, Clarksville Board of Education, Board of Directors of the Johnson County Regional Hospital and Board of Directors of First Security Bank. Bill was also a long time Rotarian, where he was a Paul Harris Fellow. Bill joined Harmony Masonic Lodge #433 in 1957 and received numerous Masonic degrees including the 33rd degree and Venerable Master in the Scottish rite in 1991. Maintaining and improving the original Porter family homestead in Harmony, including raising cattle, horses and a large garden, was his lifetime passion and gathering there with family was one of the things he enjoyed and treasured the most.The family would like to acknowledge the compassionate care provided by Edwina Miller, Teresa Taylor and Kelli Ford in his later years. Born in a house with no electricity or indoor plumbing, Bill Porter lived a full and eventful life and leaves behind a legacy of business success, along with many city and county improvements and achievements. But the two proudest pieces of his legacy are his 60 years of marriage to his wife, Anna Lou and happy life he was able to provide for his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Clarksville First United Methodist Church or Arkansas Hospice. Visitation will be Thursday, June 23, 2022 at 5:00-7:00 PM at Roller-Cox Funeral Home Chapel. Funeral service will be Friday, June 24, 202 at 2:00 PM at First United Methodist Church in Clarksville with Bro. David Hanshaw and Pastor Heather Clawitter officiating. Burial will follow at Harmony Cemetery in Clarksville, Arkansas. John Payne, Abe Laster, Jr., Mike Jacobs, Toby Wilson, Matt Wylie and Steve Morgan serving as Pallbearers. Lee Laster serving as Honorary Pallbearer.Funeral arrangements under the direction of Roller-Cox Funeral Home, online guestbook available at www.rollerfuneralhomes.com/clarksville
Charlotte, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
To the family, Although we may be distant relatives, Bill always kept us close. Love you all and our dearest friend!
We are praying for all of you.
Dearest Charlotte,My heartfelt sympathies to you and your family as you find comfort in your happy memories. All my best.
I needed a job for a couple of months before Singer opened! Bill knew I wasn't staying long but he gave me a job working on the green chain, after a week, I wasn't sure I would last that long. That list of "Good Old Harmony Boys" just keeps growing shorter! I too was raised in Harmony, and hope some day to be listed along with Bill, as a good ole boy! He certainly was, and was a very good man! My condolences to the family!
David, Our sincere sympathy to you and your family. The Stranges
I am so sorry for the loss and I hope you will find peace and remember all the wonderful loving times you shared.
Praying for strength and peace for you
I'm so very sorry for your loss. Bill was a fine man, and I remember him well from my growing up years. Prayers for comfort to his family.
Charlotte and family, my deepest sympathy and condolences on the loss of your Dad. All my prayers are sent your way.Brenda and Bo Miller
My sincere condolences to Charlotte, David, Jimmy, and Robert. Mr.. Porter was a humble, congenial gentleman who always made you at ease. He was interested in what you were doing and what you needed from him. He graciously agreed to be my Campaign Chairman for Johnson County when I ran for Circuit Judge in 2002. He gave me seasoned, sound advice. Mr. Porter, though gone from this earthly home, will live forever in the hearts of his progeny and many friends. Rest In Peace with Anna Lou.
David we have just read of your dad's entrance into Glory. What a full and extraordinary life. Thoughts and prayers as you walk through these days. Bittersweet…Donna & Doyle
Prayers for the family.
Bill was my lifelong friend from the 3rd grade n Harmony. Aloha old friend.
He was a very special man. We are blessed to have known him.
Prayers of peace and comfort to the dear families and friends of Charlotte, David, Jimmy, and Robert. Our love to all.
Charlotte, Bruce, Allison, Jason, Aurora, Jon and family,Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this most difficult time. May God bless and comfort you.Our Love,Ronnie and Cindy Barker
Dear Friends,I was saddened when I read of your father's passing. Bill was the pillar of Clarksville, helping to bring our hometown into the modern age. My father proudly served on the Light and Water Commission for a number of years with your dad. Bill was always there with a firm handshake, pat on the back, and a big smile. He was a true Southern gentleman. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Clarksville has lost one of its finest leaders.With much love,Bliss
Dear Charlotte, Bubba and I send you and your whole family our condolences and prayers in the loss of your dad. He was a special man we were all privileged to know for so many years.
Mr. Porter was always kind and a friend to me and I will never forget him. Your family is in my prayers.
Began working for the City in 1975 when Mayor Porter was in charge and City Hall had a small office at the Housing Authority. Bill would bring mail in to office so we saw him everyday....we enjoyed working with him. Foy Howard, Ann Schmatjen and Toby Wilson worked with him there under urban renewal. In 1979, City Hall had a brand new home thanks to his leadership. He was a kind man ahead of his time improving the city he loved. He will be missed. Our sympathies to his family ....what a wonderful legacy he has left you.
Will be praying for family. So sorry for all of you
Prayers and condolences!
Bill Porter was as fine a man as you will ever meet. I'm honored to have known him and Anna Lou, and counted their children among my very best friends. My condolences, and prayers for peace.
I’m so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you all!🌹
Charlotte and family. I'm so sorry to hear of the passing of your dad. Prayers for you all