Royce D. Porter, age 79 of Hendersonville, TN, passed away on Thursday, May 31st, 2018. Preceded in death by his parents, James Knox Porter and Rubye Lucille Leonard Porter, brother, Ronald Porter. Survived by his wife, Ann, son, Randy Porter (Janette), grandson, Tyler Porter (Amy Phillips), great-grandsons, Tucker and Easton Porter, sister, Joyce Funderburk (Bill). Royce is also survived by many loving extended family and friends.
Royce's passion for music and the mark he left on the industry is well known. His songs have played the airways for decades and will live in the hearts of fans forever.
Royce "the man" (my dad) however, is not as well known, but a story worth sharing. Royce grew up in West Texas, where God, football, and BBQ were required and in that order. He remained a proud Texan for life, with notable exceptions. Establishing a performers image was important, even as a teen and hair style was everything. The "required hair" was possible with a lot of work and plenty of Lucky Tiger Hair Tonic. This was later upgraded to Aqua Net aerosol glue. It was following this meticulous hair preparation, that the frequent, gale-force Texas winds, lost their allure. The accompanying red sand that quickly adhered to the aforementioned hair oil, left Royce unamused, to say the least. Even efforts to walk sideways, body bent and head pointed directly into the wind, proved unsuccessful, in preserving his couture. I'm convinced this inspired his move to Nashville and songwriting was simply an afterthought.
Royce served in the U.S. Navy and was proud of his service. He did however hold President Eisenhower, the First Lady and several cabinet members, personally responsible for suppressing his artistic juices.
Soon after the Navy, a son came along (me) and Royce became a dad. And what a dad he was. To describe him as a "typical dad” would be a lie at best. Typical dads don't put their 10 year old son, on the back of a chopper motorcycle and head out in the rain, on a two-thousand mile trip. My dad did. Our luggage for the adventure, consisted of two small, army-surplus knapsacks, a "paper" grocery sack containing our clothes (remember the rain?) and a small pouch holding a flashlight, a screwdriver and a bar of soap. A similar trip took us to Florida. Same luggage, no tent, no hotel, but we added sleeping bags for outdoor luxury. We made it to a beach, found half of a broken surfboard and had a ball. We had adventures together our entire life and I cherish them all.
As time went on, Royce's family grew and grandson (Tyler) came along. To say he was simply proud, would be a massive understatement. By age five, he was teaching Tyler to play the guitar, spoiling him rotten and teaching him things that required a debriefing, after every visit. It wasn't until second grade, that grandad's "teachings" were revealed in school. This resulted in his mom and I apologizing to the teacher, giving a nice gift and pretending to be shocked. When great grandkids came along, Royce's pride continued, but the boasting got worse. From the start, Royce would regale the unsuspecting listener for hours, with accolades, ranging from early wee-wee stories, to their creative prowess with crayons.
Royce cherished his family and loved his friends (you). Family time, gatherings and holidays, were priceless to him and yes, he wanted to be fed. He loved "Blue Bloods" marathons, roasted peanuts and BBQ brisket. He hated automatic deposit, smart phones and the internet, which he thought was a passing fad. He thought Facebook was for police mugshots and flip phones were the greatest advancement in modern technology.
Royce loved animals and never passed up the opportunity to help an animal, bird, or reptile, in need. He felt it was his civic and moral obligation, to stop traffic on busy highways, stand in the road and usher a family of ducks across the road. He performed this act many times, for turtles, baby birds and even geese, which I personally loathe, after the golf course assault incident, that left me emotionally scarred.
Daddy lived by example and taught me the important things in life. He taught me honesty, faith and the value of a man's word. He taught me to say "sir and ma'am", and to hold the door for a lady. He taught his grandson, that a men's room is just a suggestion, but the world is full of alternatives. I just wish parking lots and car tires had not been among them.
He was caring and trusting of others and stood by his friends. But, he will be best remembered for his sense of humor and the laughter he caused in those around him. He loved the open road and the wind in his face and he loved life.
Dad was my hero and I loved him dearly and I'm so proud of his success. Not just for his career or music, but as a man.
- Royce lived well, laughed often and loved much.
That's "success" -
A Celebration of Life service for Royce will be held at Hendersonville Church of Christ on Friday, June 8th at 2:00PM. Visitation for family and friends will be held at Hendersonville Funeral Home on Thursday, June 7th from 4:00PM – 8:00PM, and again at the church on Friday, one hour prior to the service. Burial will follow the service with Military Honors at Hendersonville Memory Gardens.
Family and friends will serve as pallbearers.
In lieu of flowers, memorials in Royce’s name can be made to the Shriners Hospitals for Children, www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org or to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, www.stjude.org.