John Porter passed away peacefully on December 28, 2020, at the age of 87. He was born to State Senator Charles T. Porter and Mrs. Sonora Porter in Lewis, Colorado, which is named after his maternal grandfather.
During his tenure at Colorado A&M College, now CSU, he met and married his lifelong love of 66 years, Nancy Hicks Porter. They both graduated in 1955, John with a degree in Agriculture Business and Nancy with one in Education. They moved to Lewis to farm where Nancy started her teaching career. They raised two daughters, Mary Porter, Cortez and Marsha Porter-Norton, Durango.
John’s long career in water started as a child helping his father and grandfather irrigate. He was a board member of the Montezuma Valley Irrigation Company; Southwestern Water Conservation District; Colorado Water and Power Authority; Colorado Water Congress; Colorado Foundation for Water Education; Colorado Water Trust; and the seven-state Colorado River Water Users Association. He was on the area’s Basin Roundtable and Colorado Inter Basin Compact Committee, and was a negotiator for the Colorado Ute Indian Water Rights Settlement Act of 1988. For 22 years, he managed the Dolores Water Conservancy District overseeing the Dolores Project that brought domestic water to Cortez, Towaoc and Dove Creek, and water to farmers in Montezuma and Dolores Counties and to the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribe. He never sought recognition but earned many awards including the Colorado Wayne N. Aspinall Award, Water Leader of the Year in 2000 and the Citizen Award from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. He was honored in 2017 by the Colorado House of Representatives with a tribute.
John was on Empire Electric’s Board for 18 years and in that role served on the Colorado Rural Electric Association Board. Earlier, he was on the RE-1 School Board, County Planning Commission, and Cortez Chamber of Commerce Board. He was a member of the Cortez Rotary Club, Cortez Elks Club, the Methodist Church and was a 4-H leader. He was an avid reader, and coin and pocketknife collector. He never encountered a gadget, football game or computer he didn’t like. With Nancy, he enjoyed planning the next family gathering or scenic ride and visiting the 50 states. He enjoyed 4-wheeling and many hunting trips with friends near Dunton.
In addition to his wife and daughters, he is survived by his grandchildren, Laura Spann and son Jonah; Andy Spann, wife Megan and daughters Parker and Layne; his sister, Ardy Ptolemy; and brother Richard Porter; his son-in-law, John B. Norton; and numerous members of the Hicks, Ptolemy, Englehart, and Roxie Rutherford families. In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his brother, Stuart Porter; his in-laws, Doris and Curtis Hicks; his aunts and uncles, Albert Porter (Gerry), William Porter (Rose), Ruth Englehart (Carl), and John and Robert Porter.
The family requests that memorial donations be made in John’s name to the charity of your choice. A Celebration of Life service(s) will be announced at a future date.