Mary Virginia "Ginna" Porter, 95, of Romney, died peacefully at home under the care of Hospice of the Panhandle, on Friday, May 7, 2021, with her children at her side.
Ginna is survived by her 3 children, John A. Porter (wife Connie) of Charleston, W.Va., Jennifer Roberts of Romney and Susan McFadden of Woodland Park, Colo.; her brother, Robert Amtower (wife Janet) of Keyser; 4 grandchildren, Derek Roberts, Kate Porter (husband Kenny Alfred), Ashley McFadden and Rachel McFadden; 6 great-grandchildren, Lake, John Cayman, Griffin, Cameron, Caleb and Callie. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews.
Ginna was born Nov. 8, 1925, in Keyser to the late Richard Earle and Frances Ward Amtower. She grew up in Keyser and graduated from Keyser High School with the class of 1943, where she met the love of her life and future husband, John A. Porter. John had graduated from Keyser the previous year and went off to WWII with the U.S. Army. Ginna headed for Louisville and the Louisville School of Nursing from which she graduated in 1946 as a Registered Nurse.
John came home after WWII in October of 1946 and Ginna passed her National Boards in April, 1947. Timing was right (make no mistake; planning, timing, agendas were all areas in which Ginna excelled) and Ginna and John were engaged. A big wedding wasn’t to be and Ginna and John eloped to White Sulphur Springs and were married Aug. 20, 1947. They lived in Keyser, enjoying life and each other. After a couple of years they started their family with John II (Hank) arriving in Keyser on Dec. 30, 1950, and Jennifer coming along Nov. 8, 1952 in Burlington, NC followed up and concluding with Susan being born in Richmond, Va., Dec. 6, 1955. The Porter family then moved to Romney in Feb., 1956. Ginna lost the love of her life when John died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 49 on Oct. 19, 1974.
Ginna had many passions, and in no particular order, family, education and nursing being at the top of the list. She spent 40+ years in a nursing career that concluded in 1988 as she retired from the position of Assistant Director at Memorial Hospital in Cumberland, Md. Reading her resume, that she had generated for a class taken somewhere, it was astounding to witness her recall of details, people she had served as a nurse, where and when events occurred, and the impact those events had on her. Ginna valued education earning her Bachelor of Arts Degree from WVU in 1983.
Ginna also knew the value of discipline, organization and matters being in order. In her notes, made prior to her death, she completely scripted and choreographed her funeral up to, and including, when Ila Shaffer, serving as organist, was to be seated, how and when the casket was to go in the hearse and where the pallbearers were to be. When Jennifer asked her about her obituary, Ginna said “Carter will handle that” and that was the end of it. Ginna had a remarkable spirit of; “don’t question, just do it” kind of philosophy and it served her well.
On the lighter side of things, Ginna loved life and the people in it (most of them anyway) and she made many friends throughout her career, many coming from Memorial Hospital in Cumberland. A group of them loved to travel and along with the Memorial Hospital group and a group from Keyser they saw and visited much of the world. She also had a group of friends lovingly referred to by those who knew them as “the walkers.” They would walk the streets of Romney at a brisk pace, often having a social period at McDonalds and getting a great deal of exercise and keeping one another “in the know.” She also had another group of friends that started when she was in kindergarten. There were 4 of them — Ginna, Elsie Mae, Margie and Celene. They stuck together their entire lives enjoying Margie’s camp on the river in Springfield and having a heart full of memories of chatting, eating, playing cards and being together.
Family — there was nothing that could trump her devotion, love, and care she had for her entire family. Wherever life took her children, Ginna was always up for a visit. Once she retired, Ginna’s home became a sort of summer camp for her grandchildren. Her grandchildren loved to come and stay with their Grammy and she took them on many wonderful adventures, sharing her experiences and being a teacher of many topics. They came every summer until graduating high school.
There has to be a paragraph dedicated to Ginna’s faith. Her faith and God were at the center of her soul. She was a devoted member of Romney First United Methodist Church and attended faithfully. She gave of herself whenever an opportunity presented itself and did so with enthusiasm and gusto. Ginna was a good one to have on your team.
Ginna is a part of a generation that is quickly disappearing, and she will be missed on many levels; by her family, her friends from all walks of life, and her community. Godspeed Ginna.
Friends will be received on Thursday, May 13, 2021, from noon until time of service at 1 p.m. Interment to follow at Queens Meadow Point Cemetery, Keyser.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the charity of your choice.
Arrangement are under the direction of Shaffer Funeral Home, Romney.