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On Monday, September 23, 2019, Gene Melton Porter passed away at Aiken Regional Medical Center, ten days after his 86th birthday.
Gene was born in Williston, S.C. to Hillie Watson Porter and Dixie Boylston Porter. He was Salutatorian of his senior class at Williston-Elko High, and earned a BS degree in Civil Engineering at the University of South Carolina. He served in the Army during the Korean War, and then went to work for the SC Highway Department in Columbia, designing many of the bridges we cross today. On October 9, 1955, he married the love of his life, Shirley Bolen Porter, also from Williston. He went on to work at Patchen, Mingeldorf & Associates in Augusta, GA, and then for Dupont at the Savannah River site until his retirement. He was a member of Williston First Baptist Church, the American Legion Auxiliary Post 75, and served as Chairman of the Board at Jefferson Davis Academy. He was a lifelong Gamecock fan.
Gene and Shirley returned to their hometown in 1961, where they raised their three children. In 1977, they moved two miles outside of Williston and one mile down a “dirty” road, as the grandkids called it, to their beloved Briarwood, their home in the country. Gene loved working on his pond and spent hours rearranging the countryside while Shirley rearranged the furniture. He was a wonderful father and an extraordinary grandpa, teaching his grandkids how to fish, how to find shark’s teeth at Edisto, and how to drive golf carts, four-wheelers, tractors, and even his brand-new truck before any of them were of driving age. He was renowned in the family for his creative musical ability to write new (and better) lyrics for any song, hence the classic “See the Flea” that we still sing to this day, and for his prowess on the dance floor. He had a legendary sense of humor, keeping everyone in stitches, even from his hospital bed.
He was a very strong man, in all ways, tough on the outside but with a soft spot for those he loved and because of that, we often called him Mean Gene the Butter Bean. He is quoted on a regular basis by his entire family, and when we talk about him, we always say “What a guy!” We will miss him so much.
Gene was preceded in death by his beloved wife Shirley; his parents; his sister Ethelyn Robinson; his five brothers, Van H. Porter, Van C. Porter, Hilly W. Porter, Dr. Neil D. Porter, and James Porter; and his son-in-law S. John Edwards Jr. He is survived by his daughters Jennifer P. Edwards and Debbie P. Kennedy (Dru), both of Columbia; his son Gerry M. Porter (Jamie) of Charleston; his grandchildren, Julie M. Edwards and Samantha G. Edwards of Columbia, Kevin C. Kennedy (Mikala) of Lyman, and Claire E. Kennedy of Simpsonville; his twin sister Geneva Crain of Chester; his sisters-in-law Ann Porter and Barbara Porter of Columbia; his brother- and sister-in law John Allen and Betty Porter of Williston; and many nephews and nieces. He is also survived by his beloved dog and faithful companion, Rooster.
Per his instructions, no funeral service will be held. For those who wish to honor his memory, donations may be made to the Williston Cemetery Fund, P.O. Box 367, Williston SC 29853.
The family would like to thank Dr. Asif Hashmi for his kind and compassionate care of our father, as well as the topnotch care team at Aiken Regional Medical Center.