Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 25, 1960

In Memoriam — W. Curtis Porter

On Tuesday afternoon, July 5, 1960, in a hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, a prince and a great man fell in Israel. From the weakened and pain-wracked body which it had inhabited for over sixty- three years, the immortal spirit of our friend, brother in Christ, and faithful servant of Jesus, W. Curtis Porter, took his departure to be with the God who created him and whom he served so faithfully.

For almost twenty years Curtis Porter lived intimately with death. In 1942 he discovered that he had the rare blood malady called Polycythetthavera. He gave up local church work and moved back to his home at Monette, Arkansas, and here he lived until the end of his life At first he was given only two years to live, but during this period of time doctors and scientists began to experiment with atomic isotopes in treatment of various blood diseases and brother Porter became one of their first patients. He went to the University of California for his initial treatments and he returned there periodically the rest of his life for check-ups and treatments. Only these treatments could prolong his life and each day he knew that death might come at any moment. Therefore the approach and call of the Grim Reaper was not unexpected by our brother.

After giving up local work and settling down in the routine of living with his malady, brother Porter devoted himself to study, writing, preaching in a few meetings each year, conducting debates, and doing what he was able to do on his farm. It was during these years that the name of this already well-known preacher became a household word among faithful and truth-loving members of the church. From the early thirties his writings had appeared in the Gospel Guardian, Bible Banner, Christian Worker, Firm Foundation and Gospel Advocate. He was a staff writer of the Bible Banner under Foy Wallace, Jr., and for many years before his death was an associate editor of the Gospel Guardian. Readers of these journals have been encouraged and strengthened for years as they would read his incisive, analytical and truth-filled writings. He never hesitated in declaring himself on any issue and he always knew why he stood were he did. He had a knowledge of the truth that few possess and he had the peculiar ability of presenting it, both orally and in writing, in such simplicity that no hearer or reader could fail to understand. I have read his writings for years, and have heard him debate several times, and have read other of his debates, and I have never thought at any time that he came out second best in any discussion of any issue. He was a safe and faithful teacher of the word.

In my associations with W. Curtis Porter there are two qualities that I remember best about him. The first is his ability as a debater. I have never known another person possessing the quickness and agility of mind that he had. No one could hear him in a debate and not love him for his knowledge, ability, firmness and kindness as he would deal devastating blows to false doctrines and those who espoused them. He usually addressed his opponents by the term "Friend" unless his opponent was a brother in Christ. In my mind I can still see and hear him upon the platform with a shock of hair upon his forehead, a quick, cat-like grin upon his face which showed his teeth as he toyed with his opponents, and hear the penetrating address of "Friend Tingley" or "Friend Bogard" as he would try to make these false teachers answer his arguments and explain their contradictions and inconsistencies. He was without a peer as a public debater, and I have never heard any man in debate who so thoroughly covered every argument, quibble and scripture as did he. Secondly, I remember his unfeigned modesty and humility. Curtis Porter was one of the most unpretentious and truly pious men that I have ever known. He ever abased himself and yet he was a spiritual and intellectual giant. His long illness did not become an obsession with him and he rarely talked of it, generally only when he was questioned about it. One was always made better spiritually by being in the presence of this man of God.

My life, and the lives of thousands of others who knew and loved him, has been enriched and blessed by association with him. It is yet difficult to realize that we shall see his face no more, and that his pen and voice are forever silenced. Though he is gone, his works do follow him and he yet speaks. We have lost a faithful brother, companion and soldier, but a child of God has gone to be with Him who loved him and died for him. A greater burden now rests upon every faithful gospel preacher and all of us should determine anew to fight the good fight of faith unwavering to the end as did our departed brother.

I write these lines in memory of a great and good man; William Curtis Porter. My hope and prayer is that his works may yet bless mankind even more abundantly in the future than they did in his lifetime. I trust that by writing these words concerning him others who did not know him in life will have better knowledge of him and appreciation for him as they benefit from his labors. May our Father bless his memory and comfort and keep his loved ones is my prayer.