Deceased March 25, 2017

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50th Reunion Book Entry 


In Memory

Picture of Art Porter '52 Art Porter passed away on March 25 at the age of 86 at his home in Jonzac, France. His extended family gathered in Jonzac for a quiet ceremony. Art was a native of Amherst and a graduate of Deerfield Academy in 1948. After graduation form Amherst, Art worked for the National Security Agency in Washington, D.C. Upon leaving the agency, he enrolled with the management trainee program at GE. In 1961, Art began working at Raytheon in Massachusetts.

In 1971, Art and his family made a radical change to the direction and purpose of his life. Art and his family left the Boston suburb of Wayland and became Special Placement Peace Corp Volunteer in Alor Star, Malaysia. It was a display of courage and conviction for Art and his wife, Elizabeth Rundquist, to make such a commitment. For two years, Art worked for the Muda Agriculture Authority, which was funded by the World Bank. The purpose of the called Muda scheme was to double Malaysia’s domestic rice production in coordination with 50,000 farmers. Art was in charge of the planning, development and management of the computer systems. While living in Malaysia, he and his family traveled throughout Southeast Asia.

In 1973, the Porter family returned to the United States and Art started his career at UNICEF. The family moved to Brooklyn, N.Y., and Art began working as a devoted international civil servant, as Chief of Supply Operations, Assistant to the Director of the Supply Division and Deputy Director of the Supply Division. Art mainly worked at UNICEF’s headquarters in New York City, and he was stationed in Copenhagen for a few years before retiring. Art took on many special assignments and traveled the world to advance the mission of UNICEF. 

In 1989 Art married Michele Nezereau. At their retirement from UNICEF, Art and Michele returned to Michele’s hometown of Jonzac, France. During retirement, Art and Michele enjoyed hosting many friends and family at their home. He loved the French culture, cuisine and wine. He continued to love and read about history and do crossword puzzles, and focused his energies on family genealogy, keeping up with changes at Amherst, discussing politics and following his grandchildren and sharing life with Michele. Art is buried in Cimetiere Municipal Marie de Jonzac, in France. 

In addition to Michele, Art is survived by his four children from his first marriage to Elizabeth Rundquist. Arthur L. “Scott” Porter Jr. and his wife, Marcy; Karl L. Porter and his wife, Kristen; Edward S. “Ted” Porter ’84 and his wife, Jennifer; and Laura Cohen and her husband, Irwin; and grandchildren Ethan, Gideon, Seth, Sam, Andrew, Alison, Ben and Sam.

At Amherst, Art majored in psychology and was a member of Delta Upsilon. Dad loved a good story and his heartfelt laughter told you so. Classmate Hank Kreuter remarked on Art’s “low key” sense of humor by sharing the following fond Amherst story.

“In our sophomore year, the DU house had a traditional British-India Saturday cocktail party when all the brothers dressed up as officers stationed in the Raj. Art and I had the idea of going to ROTC UMass to see whether we could arrange to arrive at the DU house with our dates in military vehicles. The fall day was beautiful, and we arrived at the party in jeeps, troop carriers, even a tank all driven by UMass ROTC staffers who enjoyed themselves as much as we did. Of course the kids of the town followed the military parade and enjoyed climbing into the military vehicles encouraged by the friendly drivers. The upper classmen had to recognize that their young pledges at least had imaginations. One problem was that when the tank turned into position on the back lawn of the DU house, the beautiful lawn was chewed up to resemble newly plowed potato field. I thought your father and I would receive a lofty replanting bill, but fortunately it didn’t happen.”

I was fortunate to have visited with my father just a few months prior to his passing. To be able to spend that time with him was a gift, even if some of it was spent discussing the inanity of the “Lord Jeff” removal. Dad was a true man of Amherst: a native of the town, son of Dean of the college and a Lord Jeff himself.

Dad was a man who thought of others before himself. His dedication to serving the needs of the disadvantaged during his stint in the Peace Corp, his commitment to his career at UNICEF and serving the children of the world and his concern and care for his four children and their families are hallmarks of his care for others.

Ted Porter ’84

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50th Reunion

It's a long way from Hitchcock Road and Amherst College to Le Clone Vert in St. Germain de Lusignan in France! Never did I dream of living in France when sitting in King Turgeon's and George Funnell's classes in French fifty years ago.

Following graduation in 1952, I journeyed with Jim Prest and the Tuttles to Washington, DC to work with the National Security Agency along with several others from '52. After three years there I moved up to the Boston area and worked with the General Electric Company and shortly thereafter with Raytheon Company for fifteen years in the Information Systems Field. Then in the early 1970's I decided to leave the defense industry. I joined the American Peace Corps as a Volunteer with my then wife and four children aging from five to fifteen years old. Two years were spent in Alor Star, Malaysia working as a Systems Analyst in a large Government Agricultural Irrigation Project with the aim of introducing double cropping of rice in a vast area covering most of two states along the border of Thailand. Holidays were spent in Indonesia, Thailand, India, Nepal, and Burma and the experiences were unforgettable including an overnight train ride in Burma from Rangoon "on the road to Mandalay" with some armed revolutionaries!

Having then had the exposure and experience in the international development sector, I joined the United Nations International Children's Fund. Its objective is to provide financial aid and development assistance to children and mothers in developing countries around the world. Twelve years in supply operations in the New York City Headquarters and my last five years in the Supply Distribution Center in Copenhagen, Denmark as a Management Adviser. Our supply function was to purchase and distribute medical, educational, water exploration, and transport equipment to UNIC EP Field Offices for use in their local country government projects.

I retired ten years ago with my wife, Michele, to her hometown here in the southwest of France in the Pineau region north of Bordeaux. We are surrounded by vineyards and have had plenty of time savoring their harvests as well as foie gras, camembert, and Saint Emilion, to mention just a few of the possibilities. Being in the provinces is quite different than the city life of Paris, with the French countryside pleasures at hand. Our Amherst College visitors have included the Kreuters the Tuttles, and one of my sons, Ted Porter and his wife Martha, both of the class of 1984. (My three other children attended Bard, College of the Atlantic, and Green Mountain College.) So from here in France as we are about to enter our house, Michele and I bid you "au revoir and bon appetit"!

Arthur L. Porter