Secrets lie at the heart of the Porters’ 50-year marriage

May 29, 2012

By Brittany Cardoza

Beverly and Jack Porter in 2011

Keeping secrets is part of what has kept Jack and Beverly Porter together for 50 years.

During the Sammamish couple’s half-century marriage, Jack spent 12 years as a contractor for the CIA. The pair faced the challenge of keeping Jack’s career identity secret from their five children and friends. In those 12 years, no one knew except for Beverly. The couple explained that sharing the secret made them stronger.

“We were in it together,” Beverly said.

The Porters are about to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Looking back, they attribute the longevity of their relationship to their children, their faith and a pair of other important factors.

“There are two ingredients,” Jack said about his martial success, “patience and a sense of humor.”

The couple met in October 1961. Jack, then a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin, was working as a sales representative for the American Can Co. He was transferred to Seattle, where he met Beverly, a North Dakota native who had recently moved to the Lake Hills area of Bellevue with her family.

One year later, on June 2, 1962, the couple was married at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Bellevue.

One year after that, Jack was transferred to Ohio. The couple moved many times for Jack’s company, living in Dallas and San Francisco. They eventually moved back to Seattle to be near their family. They bought a home in Sammamish, where they have remained for 33 years.

“We have been very happy here,” Beverly said. “Our kids and grandkids love this house and this area.”

The couple’s daughter, Melissa Harris, calls her parents “supporters.”

“They really take care of each other,” she said. “As they get older they are able to preserve each other’s quality of life through laughter.”

In 1980, after retiring from the American Can Co., Jack struck out on his own and opened Jack Porter Associates, a recruiting business in downtown Issaquah. After 20 years, he moved the business to the Sammamish Plateau.

In 1996, he was recruited to work as a consultant for the CIA. He couldn’t give many details about his time there, but did say he maintained offices in Vienna, Austria, and Bangkok, Thailand.

He would sometimes bring his wife along on his clandestine trips. The two said the excitement of doing cloak-and-dagger work in dangerous locales helped bring them closer together.

Now that Jack has left the agency, they continue their traveling by taking cruises.

They are looking forward to their fourth cruise — to Hawaii — this fall.

When they find themselves back on the plateau, the couple tries to stay involved in the community.

Jack served as the parade chairman of Issaquah’s Salmon Days for 30 years and the chairman of the Kiwanis Club of Issaquah Valley. Jack also served two terms as president of the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce. In 1995, the chamber honored him as Issaquah’s Citizen of the Year.

Beverly worked as an educational assistant for the Issaquah School District for 18 years at Pine Lake Middle School.

The busy couple remains active and involved in the community. They attend weekly fitness classes at the Sammamish YMCA. Beverly is also a member of the book club there.

The couple continues to volunteer as judges at the Salmon Days parade each year.

“We believe exercise and involvement is the key to staying young.” Beverly said.

The Porters spend the majority of each summer at their cabin on the Yakima River where they bond with their children, play golf and float the river.

Faith is very important to the Porters. The couple attends Eastridge Church, where Jack serves as an usher. Both Jack and Beverly are involved in many of the church’s groups.

The Porters have been members of Eastridge Church since 1988.

“They are very supportive of their local church. They even go out of their way to visit people are sick or housebound,” Pastor Josh Crandall said.

Family is the couple’s pride and joy. They have five children, who are planning a 50th anniversary bash for them, 13 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. All of their children live in the area, except for one of their sons, who lives in Philadelphia.

“We have been very blessed with a large family and many friends,” Beverly said. “God has kept us healthy all of these years and has given us a lot of energy to keep up with so many children.”

Brittany Cardoza: 392-6434 or samrev@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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