Heathie McCawley Porter R.I.P.

Written by  //  December 6, 2017  //  Absent Friends  //  1 Comment

1926 – 2017

Surrounded by her family, “Heathie” McCawley Porter, 91, passed away peacefully at her home next to her husband of 69 years, Andrew W. Porter Jr., on November 4th. “Ma” Porter, as friends, family and the community affectionately knew her enjoyed gardening, needlework, watercolor, Sailors’ Valentines, miniatures, music, reading, and puzzles. She had a wonderful sense of humor and was proud to be one of the eldest and longest residents of Ithan.

Heathie attended the Shipley School in Bryn Mawr and the Mary C. Wheeler School in Providence R.I.

She loved working at Edward Starr’s Nursery and spent many years volunteering at the Bryn Mawr Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society. Memorable winter vacations to Gaspirilla Island with the Old Guard spanned the decades.

In addition to her husband, Andy, Heathie leaves behind her three children: Banny Ackerman, Hobie Porter and wife Pam, and Amy Porter, six beloved grandchildren: David and wife Kate Keller Samson, Brian and wife Gyll Anderson Samson, Katie Samson, Andrew and wife Sara Khadar Porter, Molly Porter, and Becky Porter and four adored great-grandchildren: Beatrice, Clare, Sebastian and Grace, and many nieces and nephews.

A Memorial Service will take place on Saturday, December 16th at 11 AM at Christ Church, 536 Conestoga Road, Villanova, PA 19085.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Radnor Fire Company of Wayne, Inc. Ambulance Fund Drive. STUARD FUNERAL – NEWTOWN SQUARE – SINCE 1822 Formerly of Ardmore

Published in Main Line Media News on Nov. 19, 2017

Your kind words about Mom were so special ! I shared them with the interim minister from  our local Christ Church who became very close to Mom during the summer and fall; Father John gave a lovely intimate  homily, taking a phrase or 3 from your lovely notes about Mom. Banny

Dear Dee,
So thoughtful of you to write.  Thanks for the wonderful memories. Best, Hobie

4 November
My dear Banny,
I am so very sad for all of us. We have lost a family treasure and you and Hobie have lost a beloved mother and best friend.
My thoughts and prayers are with you all and especially your father.
From all I have heard, you have been an absolute rock throughout these difficult times. Bless you for being such a good, strong daughter.
Robbie called me earlier today and we had a long conversation reminiscing with such affection about how important Heathie was as the glue between the older and younger generations (I count myself in the latter because I was so much younger than all the first cousins).
We remembered that at the family “High Holidays”, always celebrated at Aunt Betty’s, Heathie chose to sit with us at the children’s table so that we would not feel quite so disconnected from the elders. She was the life of our party and she never treated us as anything but equals.
Simultaneously, we both thought of a picture taken during the war – a clan gathering probably for Christmas, or maybe Thanksgiving, at Aunt Betty’s. Danny is at the center, surrounded by her three children, most of her grandchildren and Robbie & Mary, the first ‘greats’.
We talked about how we always stopped at the Porters’ when either of us was driving up or down the East Coast and the wonderful, warm -if sometimes chaotic – welcome that awaited no matter how short the notice of our arrival.
There was always some new project underway, and discussion usually led to a tour of her garden where her creativity and knowledge combined to spectacular effect. (There’s a McCawley gene there.)
She was always interested in what we were doing, opinionated but almost never judgemental, fun to be with and generous to a fault.
I loved and admired her greatest gift, the ease with which she moved from one social context to the next, treating everyone with the same lighthearted friendly greetings and conversation. Nothing was more entertaining than making her rounds through the community with her. She knew and genuinely cared about everyone, their families, the latest news and gossip – everyone adored her. Most of all, her beloved Andy. Their devoted marriage stands as an extraordinary example for all of us.
I know that I will be overcome with memories for many days to come and I hope that your memories of your remarkable mother – truly a one-off – will help you through the difficult times ahead.
Thank you, Sally, for letting me know. You have done an amazing job of communicating with us all.
As Sally knows, I cannot leave David, nor can he endure the disorientation of travel, but if there is anything, I can do from here, I would be so pleased.
With fondest love to you and all the family.

2 November
Life is full of inconsistencies. Andy has perked up and is speaking in sentences while Heathie has taken a turn for the worse since her return home from rehab.
Today Andy said he’d been around the world with her. Of course we know that’s not real as she was never comfortable leaving home!
I’m sorry to say the end is not far off for Heathie. She always wanted Andy to die first. Her last bit of control. Both Andy and Amy have been under hospice care for a year.
The broken hip was the beginning. It’s too much for an older person to have surgery and actually recover. And we keep trying.
Heathie is comfortable. Banny is to be sainted. Hobie is ok, too.
Sally (McCawley) Fridy

One Comment on "Heathie McCawley Porter R.I.P."

  1. Diana Thebaud Nicholson October 10, 2016 at 8:47 pm ·

    18 August 2016
    She was proud of her father, the bookseller
    “… At the bottom of the inside back cover, there’s a small bookseller’s label3 — just seven-eighths of an inch wide — for E.S. McCawley & Co. of Haverford, Pennsylvania. The label has been circled, with purple ink, and someone has written “My Father.”
    I discovered a little bit about Edmund S. McCawley from his March 1966 obituary in the Delaware County Daily Times. He had died at age 75 in Radnor Township. He was born in Philadelphia and lived for 40 years in Ithan (an early, unofficial name for a portion of Radnor Township). He was a president of the American Booksellers Association and chairman of its board of directors, and he was, of course, founder of the E.S. McCawley Co. bookstore.
    For more, we turn to the inscriptions on the first page of A Little Maid of Massachusetts Colony…
    It took a bit, but I now know what all that handwriting says:
    Mary Yorke McCawley
    Ithan – Penna –
    From – Dady.
    Christmas 1926.
    Heath McCawley
    “Heath McCawley” is written in the same pen and handwriting as “My Father” on the inside back cover. So we can perhaps agree that Heath (a girl) is the one who wrote on these two pages, perhaps years after the original inscription. “
    … “I would love to track her down and give her this book, which she wrote in so many decades ago.”

    9 October 2016
    The book arrived yesterday and I took it to my aunt (Heath McCawley Porter) who was delighted and curious how you found all of us.
    I am sure Heath will write you a note now that we have a snail mail address – she doesn’t do email or computers yet…Thank you for the joy you brought us and the stories that were shared concerning the book, my grandparents and great grandmother, all of whom I knew at least for a time. Sally (McCawley) Fridy

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