John Bennett Porterfield was a loving, witty, and generous husband, father, and papaw. On August 29, 2023 he died peacefully in his sleep with his wife, Lila, by his side.
Born on June 12, 1948, he spent his childhood in Maybrook in Giles County, Virginia, where he enjoyed spending long days in the woods with his cousin Wayne or friend Ralph, hunting and fishing with Pawpaw Meredith, and generally making mischief, according to his tall tales. He is the son of Charles Porterfield and Dorothy Meredith Porterfield.
John graduated from Giles High School and earned a degree in business from Ferrum College before enlisting in the Navy. He served during the Vietnam War from 1969 to 1973. Upon return, he furthered his education at Carson-Newman College.
He worked as a telephone lineman for 30 years, climbing poles with only climbing spikes on his boots and a safety belt, during which he encountered black bears, rattlesnakes, and wayward goats throughout southwest Virginia. His home for most of his career was Lee County, where he made many friends whom he loved like family.
In 2015, John moved to Augusta County, Virginia, where he has enjoyed his retirement with his wife, watching migrating hawks, taking trips to the Outer Banks, and being visited by his adoring children and grandchildren with whom he shared many laughs.
John is survived by his wife of 49 years, Lila Byers Porterfield; his son Burke Porterfield and children Grace and William; his son Charlie Porterfield, wife Katie, and daughter Cora; his daughter, Marie Porterfield, husband Kiran Singh Sirah, and daughter Mirabel. He is also survived by two sisters, Joan Boyd and Karen Porterfield; a special cousin, Wayne Brown; and numerous nieces and nephews.
During his life, he loved talking, laughing, and telling tales. He will be tenderly remembered by his family and friends for his generosity, cleverness, and charm. Papaw's hilarious stories of childhood mischief growing up in rural Appalachia will live in the hearts of his loved ones forever. We're "up schitt's crik without a paddle" without you Papaw!
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, Tennessee 38105-1942 or the charity of your choice.
Coffman Funeral Home and Crematory, 230 Frontier Drive in Staunton is handling his arrangements.