James Porter

James F. "Jim" Porter

December 17, 1925 - November 17, 2020

James F. “Jim” Porter, passed away on November 17, 2020 at Ravenswood Care Center.

He was born in Morgantown, WV, on December 17, 1925 to Frank and Vera Straley Porter, and grew up in Inez, KY. After graduation from Inez High School in 1944, Jim enlisted in the Navy for the duration of World War II. He entered Marshall College in 1946, and finished in 1950 with an A.B. degree in public school instrumental music, and later did graduate work at both Marshall and West Virginia University.

Jim began his teaching career that same year as Bandmaster at Hurricane High School, and after three years moved to Ravenswood to take the same position at Ravenswood High School, a post he held for 27 years. In 1980 he was promoted to Supervisor of Instrumental Music, and established a successful county-wide beginning band program. Jim retired in 1988.

Active in his profession, Jim was a 38-year member and past president of the West Virginia Bandmasters Association, Phi Mu Bandmasters Fraternity (past president for WV), and past president for the Jackson County Chapter of WV Education Association. He also served as regional chairman for the WV Band Festival and established a regional band festival that was held for many years. Highly respected in his field, Jim was often invited to serve as adjudicator for band festivals in West Virginia and Ohio. He was a noted arranger and composer for instrumental and choral music, a pastime he enjoyed long after retirement. In 2018 Jim was inducted into the West Virginia Music Educators Association State Band Directors Hall of Fame.

Mr. Porter was also active in community organizations in Ravenswood. He was a member of the First Christian Church, and was also a member and choir director at the First Baptist Church for many years. He fondly remembered the Ravenswood Little League Baseball Program that Coach Jim Spano and he established in the 1950’s. The WV Wild Foods Group that he loved and hosted for several years at the First Christian Church was his joy. He also supported and was active in The Lions Club, the Jaycees and the American Legion. He was proud to be a Kentucky Colonel. He has also enjoyed volunteering with Adopt-A-Family for many years, into his 94th year.

In addition to his parents, Jim was preceded in death by his wife, Virginia; his sister, Dixie Mills; and his eldest son, James F. Porter III. Survivors include his children: Donald L. Porter (Susan), Langsville, OH; Sarah F. Lawrence (Ernie), Mt. Airy, NC; and Patricia A. Cole (Hoyt), Bonlee, NC; 12 grandchildren; 8 great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the James F. Porter Scholarship Fund; Jackson County Community Foundation, 108 North Church Street, Ripley, WV 25271.

The funeral service will be held on Sunday, November 22, 2020, at 2:00 pm at the First Baptist Church in Ravenswood with Reverend Toby Wagoner officiating. The service will be live-streamed on the First Baptist Church Facebook page. Burial will follow in Ravenswood Cemetery with full graveside military rites provided by Jackson County Honor Guard.

Friends may visit the family at Roush Funeral Home on Saturday, November 21, from 5:00 to 7:00 pm, and one hour before the service on Sunday.

All Covid 19 restrictions are being observed. Please wear a mask and social distance.

Condolences may be expressed to the family at or on Facebook at

Ph: (304) 273-2152
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