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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. 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

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


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Jul. 31, 2013
Jul. 31, 2013