Paul Wayne Porter

May 15, 1949March 28, 2021
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Paul Wayne Porter, 71, of Hickory, passed away on Sunday, March 28, 2021 surrounded by loved ones at his residence.

Born May 15, 1949 in Caldwell County, he was the son of the late James Oscar Porter and Hessie Mae Dancy Porter. He was a dedicated family man as well as dedicated to life-long service retiring with 36 years of service from both the United States Navy and Civil Service as a Targets System Specialist.

Those left to cherish his memory are his wife of 51 years, Deborah “Debbie” Turnbill Porter; daughter, Tia Porter Richards and husband Mark of Suffolk, VA; son, Jeffrey Mark Porter and wife Melinda of Huntersville, NC; brothers, Jerry Porter, Dale Porter and Eddie Porter; sisters, Rebecca Porter and Rita Hubbard; granddaughters, Ashlee Jordan Heath, Alicia Chandler Porter, and Alyssa Jenna Heath as well as many other extended family and friends.

A memorial service will be held on at 12:00 noon Thursday, April 1, 2021 in the Chapel of Drum Funeral Home in Hickory with Pastor John Moore officiating.

Condolences may be sent to the Porter family at

Drum Funeral Home and Cremation Services in Hickory is serving the Porter family.


  • James Oscar Porter, Father (deceased)
  • Hessie Mae Dancy Porter, Mother (deceased)
  • Deborah "Debbie" Turnbill Porter, Wife of 51 years
  • Tia Porter Richards and husband Mark, Daughter and Son-in-Law
  • Jeffrey Mark Porter and wife Melinda, Son and Daughter-in-Law
  • Jerry Porter, Brother
  • Dale Porter, Brother
  • Eddie Porter, Brother
  • Rebecca Porter, Sister
  • Rita Hubbard, Sister
  • Ashlee Jordan Heath, Granddaughter
  • Alicia Chandler Porter, Granddaughter
  • Alyssa Jenna Heath, Granddaughter
  • as well as many other extended family and friends.


  • A Memorial Service

    Thursday, April 1, 2021


Paul Wayne Porter

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Sandra Cochran

March 30, 2021

I will always carry Paul in my heart. He was one of the kindest, gracious men I've ever met. Never a dull moment with Paul and Debbie. Not to mention Tia, Jeff and their girls. Job well done raising them. We will all have an empty space in our lives that cannot ever be filled. Debbie I really wish I could be there for you but in these times I can't justify travelling. I'm with you in spirit- always. I will see you when I'm able to get out. Love you all!


Doug Snitch

March 30, 2021

Our initiation. Our family like relationship.

Sandy Allen

March 29, 2021

I loved being with Paul and Debbie. Paul was such fun. He always had a great sense of humor and kept time together fun. He was a generous and kind soul. Always had engaging conversations with him on just about any subject. I know he loved Debbie, his children and grandchildren and was so proud of them all. Heaven has gained a great guy, a good poker player and I know my Bacall will seek him out for cuddles. Welcome home Paul. Until we see you again, much love.



If anyone ever cared, really cared for someone else it would have to be Paul Wayne Porter. He was a warm hearted and well-liked individual, and these wonderful traits came easily to him because he was such a sociable and amiable person, someone who was always making certain that those around him had whatever they needed. Paul was a talkative person who was always tactful but typically said what he meant.

Paul was born on May 15, 1949 in Dula Hospital in Lenoir, NC. He was the son of Oscar and Hessie Porter. Paul was raised mainly in Lenoir, NC but also grew up in Fayetteville, NC, Whitnel, NC, Marion, NC and Macon, GA. During his childhood he learned to be reliable and respectful. Paul was an obedient child who wanted to win the favor of others. He found it easy to show sympathy and to perform kind acts for others. These admirable qualities would become a part of Paul's personality throughout his life.

Though Paul was frequently the one to initiate games and activities with his family, he was also quite often the family member who took the role of referee. Paul was a peacemaker with an ability to resolve all sorts of family conflicts. In fact, Paul worked conscientiously to keep those typical family spats at bay. Paul was raised with eight siblings. He had two older brothers John and Jerry and two older sisters, Marie and Rebecca. He also had two younger brothers, Dale and Eddie and two younger sisters, Rita and Jill. Paul and his siblings had the typical rivalries while growing up, but they cared deeply for one another.

As someone who reveled in the sheer joy of his experiences, Paul was always enthusiastic about new adventures. Although he had an exacting nature, Paul was always tactful. One thing Paul will certainly be remembered for is that, when he got up in the mornings, he was ready and raring to go. As a young boy, Paul had numerous interests and was an active child. Paul took part in football, baseball and stock car racing. In his spare-time he liked building model cars and tinkering and figuring out how things go together.

For Paul, the school routines were never a problem although he generally preferred variety to structure. He seemed to be able to start a project and work right through to its completion. And he was able to do it quickly and efficiently. Paul was also adept at details. Paul was very observant and was generally quick at picking up new things. He attended Willingham High School but received his GED while in the Navy. He enjoyed some courses more than others, but his favorite classes in high school were math and science.

There was one thing that all of Paul's friends knew and will still remember, and that is that he was a talker. He could pretty much talk to anybody about anything. This quality is one of the primary reasons that Paul was such a popular person throughout his life. But Paul was also dependable, loyal and trustworthy. Paul was the kind of person who simply radiated good fellowship. While he maintained personal standards and his own personal values, Paul was very accepting of others. With a distinct skill for working things out, Paul was often the person who would organize events. In fact, Paul was fairly comfortable playing the role of “host” for just about any occasion. When Paul made friends, he made true and lasting friendships. While growing up, some of his best friends were Steve Marley and his brothers, Jerry, Dale and Eddie. Later in life, he became friends with Frank Ferney, Doug Snitch and his poker buddies.

Paul was a faithful and loving person. Some would even call him sentimental and a romantic at heart. His kindness and consideration radiated an aura of warmth to those around him. Paul cared about what others thought and carried that into his marriage. Compassionate and devoted, Paul worked hard to make his wife Debbie happy.

Harmony was important to Paul and he made every effort to maintain it with his family. Paul was blessed with two children, daughter, Tia and son, Jeffrey. They were also blessed with three granddaughters, Ashlee, Alicia and Alyssa. Paul was always conscious of others’ feelings. He was reasonable and understanding. As a result, Paul was quick to solve disputes and did so without much fuss. His secret of success in this area was simple: Paul would listen before he would act.

Taking his work seriously came naturally to Paul, and he expected the same from those around him. Paul was a good team player, someone who was born to cooperate with others. He was what some would call a “people person” and it was demonstrated in his good communication skills. Paul was a steady worker, one who was realistic about schedules. The kind of details that would give family members and work colleagues fits were situations that Paul handled well. He could understand the details without getting lost in the broad “big picture.” His primary occupation was an aviation technician. He enlisted in the US Navy and served for 20 years, then joined the Civil Service for 15 additional years of government service. He brought harmony to his work environment, doing what was necessary to get the job done, while always maintaining respect for his colleagues.

Blessed with a practical nature, Paul was a person who appreciated the routine of the military. He was a man who took his obligations seriously, working well with the others in his unit. Paul was a United States Navy Veteran. He was stationed with VP10, VP30 and finished up with VC6. It was in the US Navy that Paul traveled the world. Paul saw action for two tours of duty in Vietnam. He spent time on bases from Brunswick, ME, to Jacksonville, FL to Bermuda to his home of Norfolk-Virginia Beach, VA. Through his hard work and dedication, he achieved the rank of E-8 Senior Chief. He received several awards including a Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Navy Achievement Award.

A methodical man, Paul enjoyed spending time working on his various hobbies. He had no problem following all the steps and instructions on a given project and was proud of the fact that he could have something to show for his efforts. His favorite pursuits were spending time with family and friends, playing cards especially poker, laughing, fishing and boating.

Paul was one of those people who took pride in constantly putting forth his best effort. Nowhere was that more visible than in sports. Paul was always enthusiastic and a great team player. Recreational sports included softball. Paul also liked being a sports fan and enjoyed following his favorite teams whenever he got the opportunity. Tops on his list were Nascar.

His keen interest in things that affected the lives of other people led Paul to become actively involved in professional and community organizations. Because he was outgoing and worked well with others, Paul did his fair share of volunteer work. And he wouldn’t shy away from taking the lead on committees or events, either. He was a born list maker and was great at creating and sticking to schedules. Throughout his later years, Paul was an active member of the Bubba's Poker Club for distinguished gentlemen sworn in by Big Bertha.

A generous and compassionate man, Paul accomplished much during his lifetime. Though he never set out to gain individual recognition, Paul was recognized and given awards for his many and varied efforts throughout his life. Some of his most prestigious awards included his Navy awards.

Not only did Paul enjoy traveling, but he also seemed to enjoy planning all those trips and vacations. He was a facilitator who could easily make up a near perfect schedule of all the things to do and see. He rarely tired of going back and revisiting his favorite places. Favorite vacations included taking the granddaughters to Disney World.

Paul was a lover of animals and cherished his pets. One of his favorites was Tiny, a Pomeranian as a child and Poochie, a terrier as an adult, who was his best friend. Tiny lived 4-5 years and Poochie lived 18 years. His family was rounded out by several other dogs Samantha, Bogey, Bandit and Princess and two cats, Missy and Chang.

Since it was easy for Paul to meet and get to know new people, he quickly made friends, even in retirement. Once he met those new friends, he loved sharing stories and talking about the good old days. Since he was practical and cost effective, Paul was ready when that day to retire finally came in 2012. His new life involved relocating back to North Carolina, first to Nebo, NC and then to Hickory, NC. Even in retirement, Paul stayed in touch with his old friends and made plenty of new acquaintances. He was active in the community and felt fulfilled with the opportunities that retirement offered him.

Paul passed away on March 28, 2021 at his home in Hickory, NC. His death certificate records his cause of death as Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) and protein caloric deficiency. He is survived by his wife, Debbie Porter, two children, daughter, Tia Porter Richards and husband, Mark, son, Jeffrey Mark Porter and wife Melinda; granddaughters Ashlee Jordan Heath, Alicia Chandler Porter, and Alyssa Jonna Heath; brothers, Jerry Porter, Dale Porter, and Eddie Porter; and sisters, Rebecca Porter and Rita Hubbard. Services were held in the Chapel of Drum Funeral Home in Hickory, NC. Paul was cremated.

Paul was a fantastic conversationalist who could engage just about anyone in a discussion. And whenever he said something, he meant it. Paul was a down to earth person, outgoing and gregarious. He was without question the type of person who enjoyed experiencing things firsthand. He was practical and sensible, but what friends and family will remember him for most is the fact that he was so understanding and kind. Everyone whose life he touched will miss Paul Wayne Porter.