Royce D. Porter

Born in Roscoe, TX on April 1, 1939

Departed on May 31, 2018 and resided in Hendersonville, TN

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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.

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40 Comments to Royce D. Porter

  1. Mike Gail Redden
    June 4, 2018 4:30 pm

    A great person and friend. Those of us involved in Royce Porter Day in mid 80s in Sweetwater Texas counted it a great honor and privilege to create and put on a celebration for Royce. He made us thankful and proud to be from Sweetwater. One of many local heroes who helped put Sweetwater on the map. Love and prayers for all his family.

  2. David and Rita Russell
    June 5, 2018 10:03 am

    Thanks for the memories of music, laughter and warm friendship.

    • Randy Porter
      June 10, 2018 8:26 pm

      Dave and Rita,
      I don’t have to tell the two of you, just how special you were to dad. He love you both, from the day he met you. Your friendship had an impact on him, that lasted his whole life. You always offered us your home and warm hospitality and I’ll never forget that. Thank you both.
      Randy

      • Marlin Daniel
        June 27, 2018 10:10 pm

        Randy, I hope you remember me from our old Reagan Jr. High days in Sweetwater. From all I’ve ever heard of your Dad, I sure wish I had gotten a chance to know him. Somehow I think he’s the only Porter I never knew. Anyway, so sorry for your lose. It’s easy to see how much love there was between the two of you simply by reading your elegant writing. I don’t know if you write songs also, but you certainly are a good writer and storyteller. I don’t know if you ever get back to Sweetwater on occasion, but I live just down the road in Abilene now, and would love to meet up and catch up if we are ever around at the same time. Good luck ole buddy, and know my thoughts and prayers have been with you since hearing of your fathers passing. Marlin Daniel

        • Randy Pirter
          July 21, 2018 3:41 am

          Of course I remember you Marlin ! Thank you so much for the kind words. I wish you could have met dad too. Like the others you know, he was definately unique, to say the least. No, I’m not a sonwriter, but we did colaborate on one song together. But, like him, I didnt get a real job either. I was a fifefighter for 35 years. I would love to catch up some time. Unfortunately, I dont currently have any relatives there, but have promised my wife a trip there sometime. Let me know if you get this Marlin and send an email.
          Great to hear from you !
          Randy

          • Randy Porter
            July 21, 2018 3:56 am

            Sorry about the typo in the name

          • Marlin Daniel
            November 7, 2018 5:06 pm

            Great to hear back from you Randy. I’d love to stay in touch from time to time, but I don’t know how to get your email address. I just happened to stumble across your reply today by accident. I hope you see this and can contact me sometime when you get a chance. I’ll leave my company email address below, as it’s the only one I look at daily. I look forward to hearing from you.

  3. Diane Parker
    June 5, 2018 3:55 pm

    Many wonderful memories of Royce – loved his humor and hearing him perform. May he rest in peace.

  4. Christopher B. Davidson
    June 5, 2018 8:41 pm

    To the FAMILY & FRIENDS of ROYCE PORTER (not from Sweetwater, Texas):

    This is a DIRECT LINK to the largest Face Book Group dedicated to SWEETWATER, TEXAS (Royce Porter’s hometown) filled with NUMEROUS “Tributes, Precious Memories, and Photos” that WE WOULD LOVE FOR YOU ALL TO SEE AND SHARE!!! (Just send a request to become a member and I will add you ASAP so you can see and share everything there.)

    Prayers for the whole PORTER FAMILY…
    GOD BLESS Y’ALL IN THE MOMENTS AND DAYS AHEAD…

    Sincerely,

    Chris Davidson​ – Admin of IGUIST

    PS – Please, let me know if anyone has any questions, special requests, or needs assistance.

    CLICK THIS -DIRECT LINK- to JOIN the GROUP:

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/101397733295740/

    • Christopher B. Davidson
      June 5, 2018 8:56 pm

      Thanks for the “music, love, kindness, and inspiration”, ROYCE… THERE WILL NOT SOON BE ANOTHER GENTLEMAN LIKE YOU”!!!

      It was a huge honor for ME to be the one to present the West Texas Music Hall of Fame – PIONEER AWARD” to you at the “2010 SHS Reunion of the Century” at Lake Sweetwater.

      Anyone who didn’t get to “meet this man – missed out”…

      In his early days of music in Sweetwater, Texas, he “GAVE GUITAR LESSONS” (a rarity since “piano lessons” were so common during the preceding decades) – we have calculated that HE TAUGHT OVER 300 SWEETWATER KIDS HOW TO PLAY THE GUITAR DURING THOSE YEARS!!! And you can’t put a price on that kind devotion.

      The world was a much better place because of you, Royce… and Heaven just got a little sweeter when the “Newest Songwriter” arrives…

      Saying a special prayer tonight in West Texas for “those who knew you best and loved you the most”…
      Until that “Greatest REUNION of ALL in the sky”…
      God bless you and everyone you love!!!

      Sincerely,

      Christopher B. Davidson

  5. David Mayfield
    June 5, 2018 10:30 pm

    My brothers, Rex and Eddy, were sooooooooooooo fortunate to have Royce teach us that there was more to life than sports. My mom, Patsy Mayfield, put together Royce Porter Day in Sweetwater in the mid ’80s and I was able to get him to come to mid field at the homecomming game in 2014 with me to flip the honory coin flip on another Royce Porter event that finished the next night at Avenger Field in front of several hundred old Mustangs. He and Sammy Baugh and Bulldog Turner and Lew Jenkins helped put Swater on the map

  6. Bill (Billy) Harlan
    June 6, 2018 11:58 pm

    I met Royce and Tyler, he called him T Boy I think, at Viva Las Vegas in 2012. We became friends. Since I live only about two hours from Nashville and visit often we had lunch on occasion. We would meet usually in Goodlettsville.

    I brought to meet him Ana Fernandrez from Spain. I also had a couple of friends from Holland, Pascal and his son Bo, we met Royce for lunch. Pascal reminded me of this just recently. He talk about what a good time it was listening to our stories.

    Royce Performed at the Nashville Boogie on Thursday, I performed on Friday. I thought I would get to visit with him. I was there most of the weekend . However, I did not get to see Royce. I’m sorry that we were not able to visit.

    He was a great artist , he was a great songwriter but more importantly he a good man. I will miss him and I will probably think of him every time I come to Nashville. RIP my friend. I will miss you and think of you often

    I plan to visit on June the 8th.

    • Randy Porter
      June 11, 2018 11:27 pm

      Thank you Bill. I was a real pleasure meeting you at dads service. Tyler remembered you well and was honored that you reached out to him and the family.

  7. Deborah Shrum
    June 7, 2018 9:18 pm

    So sorry for your loss. Always loved being around your Dad at Christmas and get togethers at their house. He always made you feel WELCOME in his home. Yes he love to eat. He loved my pinto beans cooked on the wood stove at Christmas. He was a funny guy to be around. Great human being. I have a song he wrote for me after he found out I was divorcing Harper. He gave it to me and said it was mine from him. We laughed when I read it.

  8. Linda Gordon
    June 8, 2018 9:25 am

    I happened upon your loved one’s obituary in the Hendersonville Standard. I smiled as I read each word. I never knew him, but your tribute was beautiful. I laughed throughout. A life well lived and a legacy preserved. Thanks for sharing! Prayers for your family.

    • Nancy Templeton
      June 8, 2018 11:11 am

      This obituary was passed onto me by my sister because she found it such an interesting tribute. And it is! I loved looking iinto the window of a liife well lived. Loved the glimpses of a great personality and unique man. His son is a great writer to portray his father so well that even a stranger wishes she’d known his dad.

      • Randy Porter
        June 10, 2018 8:31 pm

        Thank you Nancy. That’s so nice of you to say. My dad loved life, people and to “laugh”. He was a naturally funny and animated man. Your comment meant so much to me (his son) and our family. It made us smile, when we needed it most. Sometimes the simple things, can just make your day and your kind comment did just that. Thank you so much.
        Randy

        • Anna Peptis
          June 14, 2018 3:20 pm

          Randy, my name is Anna Mae Smith. I dated your dad many years ago. What a blast. I was so sorry to hear that he past. I will always remember him and the fun we had. I am so happy he was a good dad and husband. I’ll keep you and your family in my prayers.

          • Randy Pirter
            July 21, 2018 3:43 am

            Hi Anna ! I feel like I know you already. I have heard about you my whole life. You were a very special person in dad’s life and he mentioned you ofter. Thank you so much for the nice words.
            Randy

    • Randy Porter
      June 10, 2018 8:17 pm

      Thanks for the kind words Linda. Our family and I were touched by your comment. He was a special, funny dad and is missed terribly. But his music and humor live on.
      Randy Porter

  9. Shayne Ethridge
    June 9, 2018 9:54 am

    Randy I am sorry I couldn’t be there, I wanted to. I love ya buddy and my prayers are with you and your family.

  10. Glenn Martin
    June 9, 2018 10:54 am

    Randy I am so sorry brother We will be sending our thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

  11. Amanda Amerson
    June 10, 2018 12:02 am

    We loved Royce and will miss him greatly . He was a special person with loads of talent. So glad to have been a part of his life. ❤️Rest peacefully ,Jeff ,Amanda and Tatum

    • Randy Porter
      June 10, 2018 8:37 pm

      What a beautiful comment Amanda, thank you. You guys were loved dearly by dad, as you know. You always made him welcome in your home and he loved spending time with you. You are a special family and Janette and I genuinely appreciate your kind, understanding support, during a very stressful time. We love you guys for that, thank you.
      Randy & Janette

  12. Michael Twitty
    June 10, 2018 6:13 am

    My father has been called “The Best Friend a Song Ever Had”, but Dad’s heroes were the song WRITERS, and THIS man was one of the best EVER. I loved him dearly, and will treasure our many hours “on the lake” and “in the studio” together for the rest of my life. Not “goodbye”, my dear friend, just “i’ll See you after awhile”. Hug dad and “Yog the boat dawg” for me, buddy! RIP,
    Michael Twitty

    • Randy Porter
      June 10, 2018 8:21 pm

      Thanks for the kind words my friend. Dad loved you and cherished your friendship. And, I still cherish our friendship with you and your family.
      Randy

  13. Narissa Michelle Allison
    June 11, 2018 3:28 pm

    Royce was a great man I am truly blessed to have been able to get to know him and know how much he meant to my son Tucker Porter. He worshipped the grand his grandraf walked on.You will be forever missed we loved you and always will.

    • Randy Porter
      June 11, 2018 11:32 pm

      Thank you Narissa, that’s so true. Dad let bed Tucker dearly. One of my favorite traditions was during Christmas, when daddy and Tucker would sing Christmas songs together. Their rendition of “Rudolph” was priceless !

  14. CANDY LYNN
    June 22, 2018 2:48 pm

    NOTHING WAS MORE IMPORTANT TO ROYCE THAN YOU & THE GRANDKIDS AND I KNOW HE LEFT NO DOUBT FOR YOU. HE OFTEN TOLD THE STORY OF TURNING DOWN BIG OPPORTUNITIES BECAUSE HE WANTED TO BE PRESENT FOR YOU.THAT MEANT MORE TO HIM THAN ANYTHING ELSE. I WANTED TO LEAVE YOU WITH SOME WORDS ABOUT HOW HE INSPIRED & TOUCHED SO MANY LIVES IN THE WORLD…IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE TO MEASURE..BUT THESE WORDS ARE THROUGH MY EYES. ASIDE FROM BEING ONE OF THE GREATEST SONGWRITERS EVER, I FOUND ROYCE PORTER TO BE THE KINDEST MAN I’VE EVER KNOWN. HE WAS BRILLIANT & HILARIOUS AND SOFT HEARTED…AND HE LOVED SHARING WITH THE YOUNG UPCOMING ARTISTS…GIVING THEM GUIDANCE & WISE ADVICE. I LEARNED HE FED & LET STRUGGLING ARTISTS SLEEP ON HIS COUCH IN LEAN TIMES. LOVED TEACHING GUITAR & INSPIRING GREAT SONGWRITING. WAS THE GUY BUDDIES CALLED WHEN HELP WAS NEEDED. MADE TIME FOR EVERY FAN IN LINE (so to speak) EVEN IF IT TOOK ALL NIGHT. HE SAID OFTEN HE LOVED HIS FANS. ALL FRIENDS WERE SO DEAR TO HIM. WITH ME IT STARTED WHEN HE INSISTED I COME WORK FOR HIM & MANAGE HIM. HE WANTED TO GET BACK INVOLVED WITH THE MUSIC. DIDNT LIKE BEING RETIRED. I SAID NO. I WAS TRYING TO RETIRE. HE KEPT ON ME TIL I SAID OK I’LL HELP BUT WONT “MANAGE YOU”. HE LOVED BOSSING ME AROUND CUZ WE BANTERED ENDLESSLY. BUT MOSTLY LAUGHED OUR BUTTS OFF. HE TRIED PAYING ME BUT I NEVER TOOK IT. DONT BELIEVE IN BEING PAID TO ENJOY TIME WITH FRIEND. HE TRIED TO GET MY CAR REPAIRED..WOULDNT LET HIM SPEND MONEY. IT DROVE HIM CRAZY. I CHERISHED TALKING MUSIC WITH HIM..HE TAUGHT ME SO MUCH I HADNT LEARNED IN 40 YRS IN MUSIC. AND I LEARNED FROM THE GREAT ROYCE PORTER. OH THE STORIES HE TOLD FROM HIS CAREER…I SAID I WOULD LOVE TO WRITE HIS LIFE STORY. HE WAS WALKING ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MUSIC CITY. THO HE CONTINUED TO CALL ME HIS MANAGER, I WOULD CORRECT HIM “ASSISTANT”. HE FINALLY SAID “MY BEST FRIEND”. I LIKED THAT..I WAS NEVER SO HONORED. MY LAST CONVERSATION WITH ROYCE WAS 4 DAYS BEFORE HE PASSED. HE TOOK ME & COUSIN TO DINNER. WE TOLD OLD STORIES & LAUGHED TIL TEARS RAN DOWN OUR FACES…AGAIN. THEN WE SAID OUR LAST “I LOVE YAS”..I TOLD HIM TO STAY OFF HIS BIKE & HE SAID “STOP BOSSING ME”..MORE LAUGHTER..AND HE DROVE AWAY IN HIS NEW CAR HE LOOVED. I WILL NEVER AGAIN FIND A BEST FRIEND LIKE THIS AMAZING MAN. I CONTINUE TO TALK THINGS OVER WITH HIM…AND I HEAR HIS ADVICE. YES ONCE YOU HAVE MET ROYCE PORTER..YOU ARE RICHER FOR IT. GOD BLESS.

  15. Jamie H. Steele
    June 28, 2018 4:38 pm

    Randy:I just saw your Dads obituary,so sorry for your loss.I know how close y’all were & always knew you & I shared a special father/ son relationship with our Dads & Sons.Hug T & Jeanette for me.Sorry I didn’t know sooner. GOD Bless You &Yours: Jamie & Caryn.

    • Randy Pirter
      July 21, 2018 3:52 am

      Thanks Jamie for the kind words. I’ve heard from so many that hadn’t heard of dad’ passing. You are right, we shared a special relationship with our dads and we are so fortunate for that. Everyone has a father, but we had a “dad”.

  16. Jay Thomas
    August 18, 2018 11:33 am

    I think he well write great song in Heaven

  17. Jared Vester
    September 8, 2018 6:54 pm

    Hello Randy, TJ, and family. I just heard about Royce and am so sorry for your loss. I haven’t seen you all in years, but can still remember hanging out with TJ and Royce at his house or on the minibikes..and a pink Harley of course! Royce taught TJ and me a blues guitar jam and then played the keyboard for Us at our middle school talent show! You guys were always so hospitable to me and I will always appreciate that! Hope to catch up soon!

    Blessings,

    Jared

  18. Debbie Watts
    October 9, 2018 7:21 am

    Randy, I am so saddened by hearing of Royce’s passing. I’m sorry that I am months late, but I just read it this morning. I was out of town apparently when it happened. Your dad was very generous toward other songwriters, and I learned much about songwriting from him. I also learned a lot about life from him. I feel a huge gap that this world must keep turning without Royce Porter. Our loss is heaven’s gain. I will never forget him.

  19. Mark L. Chapman
    October 12, 2018 11:45 pm

    Randy, Im saddened to learn of your father’s passing. I was his bass player years ago, at the Hearth, late 70s. I met you when you were stil in high school, I believe. Royce was a great guy to play with, and a wise, funny, and very good-natured person all-around. He had a beautifull voice, it was my good fortune to have been in his band. Ive been gone from TN a while, I was looking to get in touch with Royce about some music biz questions when I saw his obituaries. Its hard to imagine him gone, and I miss him long-distance. I want to give yiu my condolences and sympathy he was a hell of a guy. Best wishes and prayers, Mark Chapman

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