Esther Porter

Obituary of Esther Louise Porter

Esther Louise Porter passed away peacefully on May 10, 2024, at The Village at Penn

State in State College, Pennsylvania. Esther was born on August 30, 1935, in Johnstown, PA, a daughter of the late Louis and Louise (Grasa) Mihelic. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband of almost 63 years, Harold B. Porter, and her 3 brothers, Joseph, Donald, and Gerald Mihelic. Esther will be deeply missed by her surviving family members, including her daughter, Denice Porter Tischer, and her son-in-law, Steven Neil Tischer, of Atlanta, GA, along with three grandchildren, Erik, Anna, and Alex Tischer, as well as her sister, Eleanor Arcurio of Manchester, New Jersey and many nieces and nephews mostly of Pennsylvania, New Jersey & New York. The family is eternally grateful to Roxanne Hockenberry, Esther's Home Instead caregiver for over 4 years, who cared for and supported her in her independent-living apartment at the Village of Penn State up to her death.

Esther was the daughter of Croatian immigrants, whose father worked in the coal mines near Johnstown, PA. She had to overcome many hardships from an early age, including the 1936 Johnstown flood where her family had to escape to the hills on foot to survive. Thankfully they evacuated as their kitchen table rose to the ceiling of their home due to the flood waters. Esther had several health scares during her youth and was diagnosed with a heart murmur at an early age which prevented her from participating in sports at school. This however led Esther to become very studious as she was forced to have two library periods in her school schedule instead of participating in gym class. As a result, Esther excelled at school and later earned a full scholarship to attend the University of Pittsburgh Johnstown campus. Her senior year she moved to Pittsburgh to complete her studies and was the first in her family to graduate from college.

After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 1957 with a B.S. in chemistry and a minor in biology, she moved to Clearfield, PA to work at Curtiss-Wright as a chemist. It was at Curtiss-Wright where she met her future husband, Harold (Bud) Porter on a blind date. They were married on October 10, 1959, in Clearfield and in 1962 moved to State College, PA where their only daughter, Denice, was born in 1963. Esther was a homemaker for many years but later returned to the workforce where she was a substitute chemistry teacher at State High and for many years worked as a lab research assistant in several different research departments at Penn State University. For over 30 years she was a member of the Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO), which helps provide educational opportunities to female students worldwide. Esther was also an active member of the State College Presbyterian Church where she taught Sunday School for many years and was a leader of a Ladies' Circle, called Esther's Circle.

Esther and her husband Bud Porter traveled extensively throughout their marriage and managed to visit all 50 states and took several international trips to Europe, Mexico, and the Bahamas.

Esther's most beloved role was as a devoted and loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and aunt. She loved to bake and was famous for the gingerbread cookies she made at Christmas time, a tradition passed down from her mother. She was a proud grandmother that loved to attend the musical performances and sports competitions of her three grandchildren over the years and found joy in following their milestones and achievements from afar.

The family would like to thank the Wellness and Atrium staff of the Village At Penn State for all of their loving care and assistance over the past several months.

Visitation will be from 5 until 7 p.m., on Monday, May 13, 2024 at Koch Funeral Home, 2401 South Atherton Street, State College.

A Memorial service will be from 4 until 5 p.m., on Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in the Community Room at the Village of Penn State, 260 Lions Hill Road, State College. All are welcome to attend.

Burial will be in Centre County Memorial Park, State College.

Memorial contributions may be made to the State College Presbyterian Church Endowment Fund, 132 W. Beaver Ave., State College, PA 16801

Arrangements have been entrusted to Koch Funeral Home, 401 S. Atherton Street, State College. Online condolences may be entered at

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Visitation at Funeral Home

5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Monday, May 13, 2024
Koch Funeral Home
2401 S. Atherton St.
State College, Pennsylvania, United States

Memorial Service

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Tuesday, May 14, 2024
Village At Penn State, Community Room
260 Lions Hill Road
State College, Pennsylvania, United States
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