24656porterPORTER, Mary Eleanor…

In the loving care of the V.O.N. palliative team and her family, and after a gallant struggle with Parkinson’s and Dementia, in London,  on January 24th, Mary Eleanor (Dickison, Parfitt) Porter in her 85th year. Beloved wife of the late Kenneth Porter (1998).  Loving mother of Ben Parfitt and his wife Alicia Priest of Victoria, B.C., Gillian “Jill” Channer (Parfitt) and her husband William Allen of Port Stanley, and step-mother of Paige Cantle and her husband Ted, Lee Porter, Terry Porter, Bart Porter and his wife Donna, all of London.  Proud grandmother of Charlotte Priest, Rebecca Channer, Grace and Gloria Cantle,  Brittany and Sean Coughlin,  Jade and Maxwell Porter.  Mary was born in Arkona, Ontario where she spent her first nine years – as the Dickisons owned and operated a wool mill.  Mary’s family was destitute after the mill burned down;  they moved to London where her father began a new career with Investors of Canada.  Mary was able to attend the University of Western Ontario thanks to the generous support of a distant relative. In 1953, she graduated from the Honours Business Administration programme, one of only four women that year.  Mary proudly earned the Gold Medal for highest academic achievement in her graduating year.  Upon graduating, Mary moved to Toronto and worked in the marketing department of Simpsons. Her mother became ill and Mary moved back to London and continued her career with Simpsons until the late 1950s when she obtained her teachers’ qualifications. Also in the late fifties, Mary married John and started her family.  The family moved to Kitchener for a few years.  Settling back in London, Mary worked briefly at the London Free Press. Later, she taught at both Beal and Wheable secondary schools. “Mrs. Parfitt” was highly regarded by her students and she devoted herself to her profession, earning a provincial award for outstanding business teacher from the Ontario Business Education Association (1977).  In 1981, Mary married Ken and started a new chapter in her life which included travel, retirement in 1985, more teaching (part-time at Fanshawe College), grandchildren, more time for golf and tennis (an active member of Huff and Puff), and a good deal of volunteer work. One of her most cherished activities was singing in the choir at Colborne Street United Church, where she was an active committee member and congregant for over 40 years. Mary also devoted herself to sharing her great love of music, and delivering various seasonal programs to residents in nursing care homes.  Friends will be received by the family from 9:30 – 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 29, 2015 at the A. Millard George Funeral Home, 60 Ridout Street South, London, where the funeral service will be conducted in the chapel at 11:00 a.m. Interment in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, London.  As an expression of sympathy, memorial donations may be made to McCormick Home Foundation, 2022 Kains Road, London, ON N6K 0A8 or Colborne Street United Church – Building Fund, 711 Colborne Street, London ON N6A 3Z4.  Online condolences, memories and photographs shared at www.amgfh.com

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