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Leopold Porter represented the best traditions of service

Sunday, October 07, 2012    

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Eighty-seven-year-old Leopold George Porter, a former People's National Party (PNP) Mayor of Mandeville, Chairman of the Manchester Parish Council, and Councillor for the Spur Tree Division in North West Manchester was laid to rest on Saturday, September 22.

The reflections on his life at the Wesley Methodist Church in Mandeville, where he worshipped, were of a man who was not only committed to family but to his community and country.

Speaking on behalf of the executive of the PNP, Minister of Finance Peter Phillips said that Porter made an impression on the party because "he conveyed a serious sense of purpose".

He said that Porter moved from the rank of supporter to activist in 1980 when the PNP was in its greatest need of rebuilding.

Phillips said that while serving as General Secretary for the party he came to know Porter personally and his devotion in the varied aspects of his life was evident.

"For me, he represented not only the best traditions of service in the PNP but was an example of what could be achieved if you are willing to devote hard work to the cause of upliftment, not only of yourself, but to all around you. He was a family man. He was a community man," Phillips told the congregation.

Mayor Brenda Ramsay said that during the time that Porter served at the council he was more than an elected councillor and mayor but a guidance counsellor.

She said that his approach with his colleagues was one of consultation. One of the highlights of his career as mayor, according to Ramsay, was getting the most streetlights into communities, earning him the moniker "Mr Street Light".

Porter's commitment to service and his impact was felt in organisations with which he was associated such as the Royal Air Force, Jamaica Defence Force, the now defunct Alcan Jamaica Company, Manchester Lay Magistrates Association, Masonic Ewing Lodge and the Lion's Club of Mandeville.

The reflections of Porter gave evidence of a man who was able to pursue his secular interests without neglecting the spiritual aspect of his life.

Dr Basil Robinson, a representative of the church's Men's Fellowship, said that Porter was a member of the Wesley Methodist Church for fifty-five years.

"He was always at Sunday worship and only sickness prevented his attendance. He was always ready to give a testimonial about what God has done for him (and) was a willing participant in all arranged (church) events," he said.

Robinson said that up to two months before his passing Porter would still make arrangements to be transported to attend the activities of the Men's Fellowship.

Porter was remembered in other tributes for going to garages, workshops and lock-ups in the Mandeville area to witness to persons when he was able, thus, fulfilling "a passion for evangelism."

The Finance Minister said that Porter, father of seven adult children, was "the best example of Jamaican manhood" because of the care which he displayed for them and his wife who predeceased him.

His son Christopher expressed regret that his father was not able to meet his unborn grandchild.

"I wanted you to keep fighting as I wanted you to meet your soon (to be) born grandson. You were the one I called for counsel, wisdom and encouragement. You were the perfect daddy, my best friend, my hero," he said.

A decorated ex-serviceman, Leopold Porter's casket was draped in the colours of the Jamaican Flag and army rituals followed at his interment. Members of the Jamaica Legion sounded the last post at his graveside and he was committed to his final resting place at Oaklawn Memorial Gardens on the outskirts of Mandeville.

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