Celebrating a life well lived, James “Jim” LaVar Porter, passed away March 27, 2019, at the age of 84 on his farm, a place he often referred to as being “just like heaven.” He was born to Leslie and Romania Hansen Porter on September 9, 1934 in Sutherland, Utah, the youngest of 7 children. His fondest memories of childhood include raising chickens, riding his horse Strip, and playing baseball. While in high school, he developed a love for wrestling, and became Delta Wrestling’s first state champion. By graduation, he had lettered in football, wrestling, boxing, baseball, and track, receiving 13 letters total.
He started his academic career at BYU on a wrestling scholarship. After completing a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the Northern States Mission, Jim transferred to SUU where he became a recognized athlete in both football and baseball. After graduating with a degree in education, Jim returned to his hometown of Delta, Utah where he coached the wrestling team. Jim lead the team to 5 consecutive state championships and 9 regional titles. He also holds the state record for 159 consecutive team dual wrestling wins, a record that still stands to this day. Additionally, he served as the athletic director at White Pine High School in Ely, Nevada and started their wrestling program. Years later, he was asked to take on coaching duties for the wrestling program at Millard High School, and eventually helped Millard win their first State Championship in many years.
During his coaching career, Jim coached 31 wrestlers to individual state championships, and been recognized as Wrestling Coach of the Year 6 times. In addition to wrestling coach success, he coached the Delta High School football team to a record of 37-7 and won a state championship. Upon completion of his distinguished coaching career, Jim was inducted into the Utah Wrestling Hall of Fame, and was selected for a Lifetime of Service Award by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
While serving his mission, he met a young woman who would later become the love his life. Jim and Virginia Dearinger were married for time and all eternity on June 6, 1957 in the Manti LDS Temple. Together they raised 9 children on the farm they loved. He often said there is no better place to teach the values of hard work and create good memories on the way. Jim and Virginia went on to become grandparents to 41 grandchildren, and 25 great grandchildren and counting.
From his athletes and students, to his friends and family, Jim touched the hearts of thousands, and never failed to make people feel important and see their potential. He made a lasting impression on all he came across. Whether physical, spiritual, social, or emotional, he truly dedicated his life to the success of others. He never wavered in his belief in and love for, God and Jesus Christ and his fellow man.
The family expresses heartfelt thanks to IHC Homecare and Hospice for their tender loving care of our dad. Special thanks to Sherry, Doug, and Charlie for their particular attentions and love during this difficult time.
Survived by his wife: Virginia; children: Janice (Jeff) Hayes, Terri (John) Miller, Pam Hathaway, Lezlie (Chris) Smith, Penny (Dan) Cohen, Gary (Cindy) Porter, David (Deann) Porter, Rick (Pilar) Porter, Bobbie (Adam) Mendenhall; brother: Kenneth (Juvene) Porter. Preceded in death by his parents, 6 siblings and 2 sons-in-law: Walter Shields and Chris Smith.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, April 5, 11:00 am, at the Hinckley LDS Chapel, 188 N Main Street. Viewings will be held Thursday, 6-8 pm, at the Nickle Mortuary, 190 S Center St, Delta; and Friday, 9:30-10:40 am, prior to the service. Interment will be in the Delta City Cemetery.