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Korean War's US Veteran Don E. Porter Passes Away at Age 90
Softball's Savior Is Now with His Savior
Late Donald Emmett Porter (1830-2020), Korean War's US veteran

Editor's Note: It is so sad that Don E. Porter, the Korean War US veteran and the former President of the International Softball Federation, has recently passed away at age 90. He also had long been an avid columnist of The Seoul Times. We, the entire staff of The Seoul Times pay the highest respect to the late US veteran of the Korean War.

Donald Emmett Porter
May 18, 1930 - June 7, 2020

Don Porter, at the age of 90, went to heaven in the morning of Sunday June 7, 2020 and our city, our country, our sports crazy world along with his amazing family, has said goodbye to his presence on earth.

Don Porter was born in Los Angeles, CA to Grace Taylor and Jack Porter.

He graduated from San Fernando High School and East Los Angeles College where he met the love of his life, Phyllis Jean Ord.

He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Jean, daughters Ellen (Monte) Meyer of Oklahoma City and Karen (Terrell) Storm of Biggs, CA. He was preceded in death by son Terry (Shannon) Porter and brother Robert Porter.

Also, among the survivors is that silent but loyal member of the family, his beloved dog Cooper. Additionally, is his fellow softball advocate and right-hand friend and loyal assistant for over 40 years with the ASA and ISF, Toma Malikoff.

Also included in his bountiful loving family are grandchildren Matthew (Olivia) Porter, Houston, TX; Andrew (Tiffany) Porter, Atlanta, GA; Joseph (Michelle) Meyer, Oklahoma City; Benjamin (Melissa) Meyer, Oklahoma City; Rachel (Joshua) Blalack, Oklahoma City; Elena (Brent) Rhodes, Bakersfield, CA; James Storm, Biggs, CA; Sam Storm, Biggs, CA; Taylor Storm, Gridley, CA; Josie Storm, Biggs, CA; MJ Storm, Biggs, CA; and 12 great grandchildren.

Before: The file photo shows US soldiers landing and its LSTs unloading at Wolmido in Inchon on Sept. 15, 1950.
“Rejected once, rejected twice, after rejected thrice it is never nice. And only you will know the price that had to be paid to win the prize.”

It is this observant quote from an unknown source that tells the story and forms the legacy of the man who put women’s softball into the Olympics and began the foundation for the Women’s College World Series to grow to the giant that it is today.

But there are only a few out of every million who leave a legacy so strong in their lifetime that what they did assures that they shall never ever be able to be forgotten.

The early Don Porter was an all-conference football and baseball star in high school in San Fernando, Ca. followed by quarterbacking duties in a California semi-pro league.

After a major in journalism at East Los Angeles College and law degree with Lasalle University, the saga began. Along the way was his service in the Korean War, the awarding of the Korean War Medal in 2001 by the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Korea. Then over a decade of officiating in the NCAA Division One and NFL football leagues.

It was through his leadership, first as executive director of the Amateur Softball Association for 35 years, that he, along with Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce friend and fellow believer in miracles, Stanley Draper, Jr., initiated the talk of the then fledgling NCAA Women’s College World Series coming to Oklahoma City for a one time performance.

It was the work of those two and hundreds more that has produced the story that is now incredibly displayed summer after summer at the ever-growing softball complex at the home of USA Softball (formerly ASA).

Although interrupted this year for the pandemic, the WCWS with every game sold out to a standing room only crowd and ESPN coverage, now has reached over three decades in Oklahoma City and a contract that keeps it here for many years to come.

US Tanks Crossing Han River — US tanks of the First Marine Division are crossing Han River during the Korean War (1950-53) in September of 1950 to drive out the Communist invaders of North Korea. The US and South Korean soldiers recaptured Seoul, the capital of South Korea, on Sept. 28, 1950.

And as great as that accomplishment is, it still pales when the story is told of the battle he waged as President of the International Softball Federation in attempting to convince the International Olympic committee that the sport he loved and had played belonged on the Olympic schedule of games.

Don's work behind the scenes in many capacities culminated with the IOC finally adding Women's Softball to the games and the first appearance of the sport in the Olympic world fittingly took place at the 1996 Olympics hosted by Atlanta, Ga. and the United States.

His more than a quarter of a century behind the scenes fight, cajoling IOC members with a fierce never-ending promotion of his sport had paid off. His calendar showed it only took 29 years, 6 months, and 13 days from the moment he had forged ahead with an idea that friends and associates had said was impossible.

But only a true fighter could withstand what followed. After amazing success, the sport was yanked from the docket in 2005 and Women's Softball was removed from the Olympic lineup and disappeared again.

The fight started once more, and only the toughest would have stepped back into that ring. But Don did, and after a joint effort with the World Baseball Softball Confederation, where he served as co-president in 2012-2013, the battle was finally once more won. Women's Softball has returned to the Olympic platform and will be played when the 2020 games resume next year in Japan after the pandemic delay.

The man proved again that fighting and winning the Olympic battle was what could be expected from a decorated Korean War veteran who survived cancer three times and was a victim of a couple of airplane hijackings to add to the Porter drama.

These accomplishments tell the story of an energetic and fulfilling career topped by the writing of his Olympic saga in Inclusion/Exclusion and his final work, “Ball Games In Heaven”, which was in final draft form at the time of his death and will be expected for release in the future.

His list of accomplishments is staggering, and the legacy will be around for decades and decades because of the love of two people that produced the most important part of the journey—-The Porter Family.

At his side as he left this earth was his wife of 70 years, Jean, the woman called by the family, “The woman who guided the ship so the Captain could travel the world to promote the sport he cherished and to bring it to the world stage.”

And what a guide she and Don turned out to be. Three children, 11 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and another coming in October. In November of 2019 they celebrated seven decades of marriage renewing their vows, at their beloved home of worship for many years, Covenant Presbyterian Church in Oklahoma City.

A memorial service is planned for 11:00 am, June 25th, 2020, at Covenant Presbyterian Church.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Covenant Presbyterian Church, 10100 Ridgeview Drive, Oklahoma City, OK 73120.

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