Marianne's mother, my mother-in-law, died last Saturday, at Strabane Woods, an assisted-living facility in Washington, PA. Mary Ann Porter was 103.
That's her up above, on a Harley.
Mrs. Porter was one of six daughters (there were four brothers as well, one of whom died in childhood) born to immigrants. All the Sisters -- that's how they were collectively referred to in the family -- were strong women. But now only one, Evangeline, who was the baby of the family, remains.
Mary Ann Sinclair was a newspaperwoman for the Canonsburg Daily Notes, worked in Harrisburg at the creation of Social Security, and was for a time manager of the Hats and Hair Goods section of a local department store. In 1939, she married a young lawyer named William Christian Porter. During World War II, when he was in the Navy, they took an apartment in New York City, his home port, and she worked in retail again for the May Company.
When her husband died in 1988, Mrs. Porter expected to follow soon after. But she did not. Her friends grew old and died, so she made a new set of friends among the next generation. Then her younger friends grew old and died. "She's going to have a few firm words to say to God when her time finally comes," we used to joke in the family.
She was a devout Christian who was deeply involved in First Baptist Church of Washington, a master quilter, and a woman with a lively sense of fun. She was widely beloved. Mrs. Porter lived by herself, without assistance, up until age 98, and the house was always impeccably neat and clean. She was alert and aware up until the very end. And her end was swift.
May God bless her and keep her. I don't envy Him the conversation she's having with Him now.
Above: Mrs. Porter wouldn't want anybody mislead. That wasn't her Harley, it belonged to the church sexton, who can be seen behind her. But when he gave her the opportunity to get her picture taken on his chopper, she jumped at the chance.