Ella J. “Jane” Porter
September 5, 1919 – February 22, 2020
Community and conversation will be welcome in celebration of the legendary Jane Porter, hosted by her family on May 24, 2020. RSVP for details, please email: LegendaryJaneP@gmail.com. Flowers are unnecessary. It is required that you bring your party hat, and requested you leave your Kleenex box in the car. Gather to share your heart with all those that love her, and let your tears be taken with today’s tide.
Jane Porter, born Ella Jane Schaak, pioneered a path which began on the rolling plains of Montana on September 5, 1919. Her final destination was reached on February 22, 2020 in Coos Bay, Oregon in the comfort of her home.
A single child of immigrant parents, Jane was sent for illumination and education, boarded at the ( Seventh Day Adventist ) Mount Ellis Academy in Bozeman, Montana. Upon graduation she moved to Portland, Oregon to immerse herself in a culture of her choosing. From the swing of the big band, she obtained an introduction to a handsome young Navy Pilot. She married Charles “Bud” Porter in a communal wedding days before he was to deploy in World War II.
Eventually the couple moved to the bustling town of Tiller, located in the mountains of southern Oregon. This remote town was a timber community during the logging boom, with active mills and forestry services. They thrived with three children, Rosemary ( Klep ), Christy ( Stewart ), and Charlie Porter. Joining Bud’s sister Betty ( George Aker ) and their five children ( Cathy, Roxa, Russ, Scott and Terry ). These cousins would be raised together closer to siblings. Nestled in this busy, wooden canyon, Jane headed operations of the Tiller Store with her husband, supplying the community with food, gas and a post office. When she wasn’t working, she was throwing parties for a menagerie of locals, or down by the river where she taught all the children to swim.
Fiercely independent and equally opinionated, Jane created a life for herself that was unconventional for a woman of her time. She was tough, with a sharp tongue and quick wit; few dared to cross her. Her nature was not particularly maternal, and as the strong arm behind the register, she was not much for the kitchen. Her home was balanced in nurture by her loving husband. She kept social order with a cigarette in every room and her hair pinned to the top of her head like a crown. Her community was her wealth, and she was abundant in her coffers.
Upon retirement, Jane and Bud traveled along the Umpqua River, following tributaries and were deposited at Coos Bay. They purchased a crab shack on the flats of Empire that was to become their dream home. Monolithic cargo ships passed their dining room window, and the tide often rose directly under their house. With the excitement of a blue-collar coastal town, she enjoyed keeping the police scanner on around the clock to be notified of any breaking news or occurrence. The ambulance chasers of house fires to ship wrecks, they found entertainment abundant in this lively location.
Jane was known precisely by those in her presence, and her titles varied from local volunteer, to great-grandmother ( Gigi ) and great-great auntie Jane. She had a strong passion for forestry and conservation in Tiller, Oregon and her dedication to Thrift along the Oregon Coast is unmatched. Feminist, carbon neutral, and a social influencer by nature, she always was decades ahead of her time. She loved the Wild Women of Charleston, the Annual Crab Feed, and holding court from her bayside armchair.
Jane would have you believe she was an orphan if medical treatment was necessary, as she preferred privacy over family panic. However, every surface of her home is covered with photos of her loving family, and visits were frequent from neighbors and community who helped maintain her independence as she wished. Truly, she was loved far beyond what she would express, and in return she was generous beyond explanation.
It is unclear if it was the streams of Southern Oregon or if the saline air created the longevity to thrive in health for 100 years. But what is certain is that she accomplished all she set out to do. She will be missed, and yet she had her sights set on this departure. She will remain as the bonfire to our family gatherings, and the glass buoy of a rare coastal storm.
Friends and family are encouraged to sign the online guestbook at www.coosbayareafunerals.com and www.theworldlink.com. Arrangements are under the care of North Bend Chapel, 541-756-0440.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ella Jane (Schaak) Porter, please visit our floral store.