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Family of
Vance C. & Tennie Mae Benge Porter


Alexander and Emmaline Williams Benge Family

Vance Porter Family
By Bobbie Gaspard

Vance Coralton Porter was born near Hillsboro, Laurence County, Alabama, on October 13, 1888. He was the eldest son of Robert Lee Porter, Sr., and Rose Ella Le May Porter. His early education was provided by tutors who lived in the homes of the several families whose children were taught. In 1906, he entered Alabama Polytechnic Institute (Auburn) at Auburn, Alabama, where he was graduated in 1910 as a certified electrical engineer. In 1913 he made the decision to make Bay City his permanent home, and went to work for the electrical department of the Texas Public Service Company. Until he moved his mother to Bay City from Alabama, he lived in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Marenus Moll. In May, 1916, he entered the United States Army as a Second Lieutenant and served at the Mexican border under General Pershing's command. During World War I, he served in France, Belgium, and Germany. Captain Porter was discharged from the 131st Machine Gun Battalion, First Division, in 1919, and returned to Bay City where he worked for Central Power and Light Company, formerly Texas Public Service Company. In 1925 he became District manager of C. P. & L.'s Rice Belt District. His career spanned thirty-five years.

On May 2, 1922, Vance married Tennie Mae Benge of Bay City, and they bought a home at 2500 Avenue H.

2500 Avenue H
Courtesy of Bobbie Gaspard, Joan Gaspard and Patrick Porter

Nine years later they purchased the Benge family property and moved to 2500 Avenue E. Vance and Tennie were affiliated with the First Methodist Church where he was an active member of the Wesley Bible Class and she was a member of the Gleaners Class. Tennie was Superintendent of the Junior Sunday School Department for fifteen years. Vance was active with the Chamber of Commerce, was a charter member of the Rotary Club, was a member of the American Legion, and served on the Bay City School Board for nineteen years. He was also a Mason, an avid sportsman, and often included his family in outdoor activities. Tennie was a charter member of the Chautauqua Club, and both parents were involved in their children's school activities.

Vance died on June 23, 1950 and Tennie died on October 3, 1971; both were buried in Cedarvale Cemetery.

Their daughter, Bobbie LeMay was born in Bay City. She was graduated from Bay City High School in 1940, attended Texas Christian University for two years, and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology from Lamar University in Beaumont. After 1961 she taught school in Port Arthur, Beaumont, Nederland and Sweeny. She married Roy Bill Thomason of Centerville, Texas, during World War II and had a daughter, Elizabeth Joan. They were divorced in 1944. In 1945 Bobbie and Melvin William Sander of Bellville were married and a daughter, Joyce Ann, was born on August 23, 1945. Melvin died in 1950 and was buried in Cedarvale Cemetery. After his death, Bobbie and the two children returned to Bay City to make their home with her parents. On December 23, 1952, Bobbie and Clifford Joseph Gaspard, born on December 7, 1925, at Fig Ridge, Texas, were married. A veteran of the United States Navy, Clifford was an employee in the Production Department of Texaco, Inc., and after six weeks they moved from Bay City. C. J. adopted Joan and Joyce and in 1956, he and Bobbie adopted a son, Gregg Porter Gaspard. After living way from Bay City for twenty-six years, the Gaspards returned and resided in the Porter family home at 2500 Avenue E. They were members of the First United Methodist Church.

Vance Benge Porter was born on September 22, 1926. He was an Eagle Scout, the second in Matagorda County; a graduate of Bay City High School, and served as an Ensign in the United States Navy during World War II. In 1947 he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering from Texas A. & M. University. His work experience included work for major oil companies which called for residence in many parts of America. In 1955 he married Mary Ann Welch of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They were the parents of Vance Timothy, Robert Patrick, Maurene Rose, Andrew John and John Benge. Vance retired from Mobil Oil Company on December 31, 1984 and died on July 15, 1998 in Denver, Colorado.

Historic Matagorda County, Volume II, pages 412-413


2500 Avenue E


Funeral Services For Vance Porter Sr. Held Here Sunday

Funeral services for Vance Porter, Sr., 62, were held from the First United Methodist Church here Sunday afternoon with the Rev. W. W. Hawthorne and the Rev. Terry Wilson officiating.

Mr. Porter, retired district manager of Central Power and Light Company, had been in ill health for several years.

He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Tennie Porter; one daughter, Mrs. Bobbie Sander; one son, Vance Porter Jr.; two grandchildren, Joyce and Joan Porter; his mother, Mrs. Rose Porter; four sisters, Mrs. Ira Rose, Mrs. Terril Pierce, Mrs. James Birkner, all of Bay City; and Mrs. Millard Pullum of San Antonio; four brothers, R. L. Porter of Cleveland, Ohio; W. I. and A. P. Porter of Bay City, and J. W. Porter of Edna.

Burial was in Cedarvale Cemetery and Matchett-Newman Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Daily Tribune, June 24, 1950

Last Rites Held Sunday For Vance Porter, Sr.

Last rites for Vance Porter, Sr., were held from the Methodist Church here in Bay City Sunday afternoon at 4 o'clock. Reverend W. W. Hawthorne and Reverend Terry Wilson jointly officiated at the impressive ceremony. Interment was in Cedarvale Cemetery with Matchett-Newman Funeral Home in charge of the arrangements.

Vance Porter, 82, passed away at John Sealy Hospital in Galveston, Friday night, June 23 at 11:25. He had been in failing health for several years.

Well known throughout this section of the state, Mr.  Porter worked for the Central Power and Light Company here in Bay City for years until his retirement several years ago. His climb to position as district manager had been literally from the bottom. Born in Hillsboro, Alabama, in 1882 he attended schools in Alabama and graduated from Auburn University as an electrical engineer. He came to Texas in 1913 and started his career with the ice plant here. For a while he worked in the Valley, but returned to Bay City.

During World War I he organized a National Guard unit here and spent time on the Mexican border. He served over seas during the war and also in the army of occupation. He was discharged as a captain soon after his return. He was then made manager of the local plant, under the Texas Power and Light Company. When that company was taken over by the Central Power and Light Company, he was made district manager, which position he held for many years until his retirement.

A man of keen responsibility as a civic servant, Vance Porter was an active worker in the Chamber of Commerce and was at one time president of that organization. He was a member of the Masonic organization, served as member of the school board for nineteen years. He was also a member of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. He was a charter member of the Bay City Rotary Club. He served on the board of stewards of the Methodist Church and was one of the organizers of the Wesley Bible Class.

Vance Porter was keenly interested in the affairs of his city, his state and his nation and whenever his services were needed, he sacrificed his own time to served in various capacities. Even though he was in failing health the past few years he was ready and willing at all times to do what he could for his community.

He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Tenie Porter; one daughter, Mrs. Bobbie Sander; one son, Vance Porter, Jr., of Franklin, La.; two grandchildren, Joyce and Joan Sander; his mother, Mrs. Rose Porter; four sisters, Mrs. Ira Rose, Mrs. Terrill Pierce, Mrs. James Birkner of Bay City and Mrs. Millard Pullum of San Antonio; four brothers, R. L. Porter of Cleveland, Ohio, W. I. and A. P. Porter of Bay City and J. W. Porter of Edna.

Interment was in Cedarvale Cemetery with Jack Norcross, Wilton Chapman, Sydney Bowman, Jack Huebner, James Lee Parr and Carey Smith as active pallbearers.

Honorary pallbearers were: E. O. Taulbee, C. A. Erickson, Dr. H. H. Loos, Lewis Matchett, Charles Newman, I. A. Breeden, S. R. Sholars, Billie Thompson, W. T. Cox, R. H. Minton, Fred Carleton, R. G. Wertz, A. Harris, Sr., J. C. Lewis, Joe Wolffarth, Lester Epstein, Melvin Epstein, Top Huebner, John Huebner, Jack Huebner, Bill Doughtie, S. E. Doughtie, Aaron Simon, Richard Gusman, Cooper Gusman, C. R. Bell, A. R. Matthes, Russell Matthes, Johnnie Harmer, J. W. Harmer, Jr.

C. R. Anderson, R. Lee Anderson, Randolph Cox, Joe Freeman, Zeb Milner, Ernest Williamson, Paris A. Smith, R. O. Kiser, Samuel Kogutt, Donald Reddoch, Fred Mielsch, Jr., Frank Craft, Jr., Bernard Dombrow, Haden Curtiss, H. D. Mosley, E. H. Highley, Chas. D. Hickey, Sammie LeTulle, Roland Rugeley, Leon Guzick, Pete Kogutt, W. F. Tetts, H. A. Verser, Grant Potter, Ralph Bussell, Carl Bachman, C. G. Garner, Harry Brady, Sam Selkirk, Ted Doubek, F. A. Verser, Adelbert Verser, Shelton Breeden, J. C. Sisk, Ed Slater, Chas. Schaedel, Marvin Hale, Earl Vaughn, Norman Barkley, Sr., Norman Barkley, Jr., F. G. Cobb, E. J. Myers, W. D. Collins, Arthur Collins, Rev. M. A. Marshall, H. J. McAllister, Layton Moore, Jack Young, Jr., Fred Fields, John M. Corbett, Dr. Paul Brewer, P. R. Hamill, J. W. Ingram, J. A. Williams.

E. B. Neiswanger, Lon C. Hill, J. L. Bates, Floyd Salmon, Dave Gens, Dwight Carlsen, Dever Woods, J. A. Slaughter, A. D. Magruder, John Sander, Geo. Gilliam, J. K. Mattox, W. D. Boone, E. W. Franke, R. A. O'Neil, Wm. Luck, Joe Shaw, R. B. Cobb, E. O. Hutcheson, Rev. Rollo Rilling, Rev. Harry Rankin, Chas. Kling, H. H. Parker, Judge I. G. Samuel, H. W. Wells, P. K. Miller, O. B. Fenner, C. M. Dugger, J. Woodall.

C. Branch, H. K. Saples, E. D. White, Jno. T. Vance, Bill Clements, Clyde Niespel, I. H. Miley, J. H. Wallace, Tom Driscoll, Members of Rotary Club, Members of V. F. W., Members of the American Legion, Wm. Amos, Sam G. Selkirk.

Daily Tribune, June 26, 1950



Tennie Mae Benge Porter

PORTER, Mrs. Vance of 2500 Ave. E in Bay City died at 6:10 p. m. Sunday, Oct. 3, 1971 in Nederland. She was born in Seymour, Texas and was married to the late Vance Porter. Services will be conducted Wednesday, Oct. 6, at 3 p. m., at the First United Methodist Church; the Rev. Billy Norton of Corpus Christi and Dr. Wayland Elmore of Bay City, officiating. Interment will be in Cedarvale Cemetery. She was a member of a pioneer Bay City family and was active in civic and church organizations for years. Her parents were A. R Benge and Emmaline Williams Benge. Survivors include one son, Vance B. Porter of Anchorage, Alaska; one daughter, Mrs. C. J. Gaspard of Nederland; one brother, R. W. Benge of Bay City; two sisters, Mrs. Grace B. Johnson of Mercedes and Mrs. Johnny Johnston of Edna and eight grandchildren. Pallbearers will be John A. Huebner Jr., Charles Haley, Walton Porter, John William Harmer, Frank Craft, Jr., Gregg Gaspard, Erick Verret and J. P. Holley. Taylor Brothers Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Daily Tribune, October 5, 1971

Vance Benge Porter

Vance Benge Porter, a Bay City native, died at his Lakewood, Colorado home, Wednesday July 15, 1998. Mr. Porter was born in Bay City, Sept. 22, 1926, to Vance C. and Tennie Benge Porter. Interment was at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Denver, Colo.

Porter was an Eagle Scout and a 1943 graduate of Texas A&M. He was an officer in the United States Navy, WWII. His employment with Shell and Mobile Oil companies afforded him, and his family, the opportunity to live in interesting places from East Coast to Alaska.

He is survived by his wife, Mary Welch Porter; four sons and daughter-in-law, Vance Timothy Porter of Washington; Robert Patrick and Dana Porter of West Virginia; Andrew John Porter and John Benge Porter of Wisconsin; a daughter and son-in-law, Maureen Porter and David Wood of Lakewood, Colo.; grandchildren, Tamra, Lynne, Mark, and Julianne Wood of Colorado; a sister and brother-in-law, Bobbie and C. J. Gaspard of Bay City.

Memorials can be made to the Make a Wish Foundation; Vance Porter Memorial; 1241 South Parker Road, Suite 100, Denver Colo. 80231 or the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites, 11 Public Square, Suite 200, Hagerstown, M. D. 21740.

Daily Tribune, July 24, 1998


Copyright 2013 - Present by the Porter Family
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Jul. 31, 2013
Jul. 31, 2013