William Alvin Porterfield, 94, of Lewisburg, WV, passed away Saturday, May 13, 2017, at the Peyton Hospice House in Fairlea, WV.
Born in Gap Mills, WV, on August 3, 1922, he was the son of William Preston Porterfield and Nina Myrtle Young Porterfield.
Growing up and working on the family farm, Alvin attended a one-room school and received his eighth grade diploma. He then entered Gap Mills High School, where he was very active in the agricultural program and the Future Farmers of America. Graduating in 1939, he received his FFA State Farmer Degree.
After high school, he enrolled in Potomac State College, majoring in agriculture. Graduating from their two-year program, Alvin transferred to West Virginia University College of Agriculture. During his junior year, he volunteered for service in the United States Army. Serving 42 months during World War II as a surgical technician, he was located in the European theater and later sent to the West Coast. He was headed to Japan when the war ended. He received the President's Unit Citation.
After the war, he returned to West Virginia University. In May 1947, Alvin received his Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture. In 1949, he received his Master's of Science degree in vocational agriculture. He then completed his certificate in school administration.
In the fall of 1947, he began teaching science, vocational agriculture, and shop at Lewisburg High School in Lewisburg, WV. He kept this position for 20-1/2 years. His FFA chapter was one of the top in the state, where many of his students received awards and made careers in agriculture. Alvin served as president of the state Vocational Agricultural Teachers. He remained active in FFA, serving on the Greenbrier East Advisory Board and as a creed and parliamentary procedure judge on the local and state levels. He was awarded an Honorary State Farmer Degree and the Blue and Gold Award for service to FFA.
In 1968, upon consolidation of the high schools in Greenbrier County, he was appointed vocational director of Greenbrier County Schools and developed the vocational programs for Greenbrier East and Greenbrier West high schools. He was then appointed assistant superintendent of schools and held these two positions for 19-1/2 years. In 1987, he retired with 40 years of service to Greenbrier County Schools. In 2014, he was awarded by the West Virginia Education Association the Ermalee Boice Community Outreach Award for his many years of service to education in the community and state.
Alvin loved the State Fair of West Virginia and served as superintendent of the Junior Livestock Show and the Youth Livestock Auction for over 40 years. For years, he served as a judge of eggs and was a flower and vegetable exhibitor. At two weeks old, he attended his first fair. He only missed one fair in the next 94 years.
Since 1967, Alvin and his brother, Kendall, operated the family farm at Gap Mills. Pleasant Valley Farm, at one time, was one of the top dairy farms in the state and is now involved in hay production and beef cattle.
In 2011, the farm was named the Greenbrier District Conservation Farm of the Year. In 2013, the farm was named a Century Farm since it had remained in the Porterfield family as a working farm for over 100 years. His love of agriculture was also apparent in his vegetable garden in Lewisburg. This garden was his pride and joy, and people from all over would drive by to see his garden and ask for his advice on gardening.
Alvin loved his alma mater, West Virginia University. He was a season football ticket holder and attended his last game at the age of 93. In 2008, he was named Outstanding Alumni of the Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Human Services.
A member of the Lewisburg Lions Club for 65 years, he had perfect attendance for 62 years. He was awarded a Lifetime Membership in Lions International and received the Melvin Jones and the Leonard Jarrett awards. Active in all the work of the Lions, he sold tickets at football games at Lewisburg High School and Greenbrier East High School for 60 years.
An active member of the United Methodist Church, he was a member of the Pine Grove United Methodist Church at Gap Mills and then the Lewisburg United Methodist Church, where he served as a Sunday School teacher, trustee, treasurer, and member of the church council and United Methodist Men. He served as chairman and clerk of the works for the major building project of the church. He was a state director of the United Methodist Men's Foundation. He served as member of the West Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church Committee on Rules and Evaluation and the West Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church State Council. He was awarded Man of the Year by the Greenbrier District of the United Methodist Church.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his siblings, Lanelle Griffith and husband, Carl, Kendall Porterfield and wife, Juanita, and Phyllis Shrader and husband, Julian.
Left to cherish his memory are his wife of 65 years, Eleanor; two daughters, Jeanie Wyatt and husband, Mike, and Sheryl Hulmes and husband, Rich, all of Lewisburg; five grandchildren, Robbie Wyatt, Susie Wyatt, Amy Wyatt, Ryan Hulmes, and Chris Hulmes; a sister-in-law, Elizabeth Neale, of Melrose, FL; and many nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held at 2 PM on Sunday, May 21, 2017, at the Lewisburg United Methodist Church with Pastor Rick Brown officiating. Burial will follow in the Rosewood Cemetery.
A visitation will be held from 6-9 PM on Saturday, May 20, at the Lewisburg United Methodist Church.
With his live for education and FFA, the family has established The Alvin Porterfield Memorial Scholarship that will be presented annually at Greenbrier East High School to an FFA student who plans to pursue a degree in agriculture. Donations to this scholarship may be made to The Alvin Porterfield Memorial Scholarship, 442 Talbott Circle, Lewisburg, WV 24901.
Nephews Keith Porterfield, Ronnie Porterfield, Rob Miller, Chris Lowe, Bill Shiflet, and Mark Sparks will serve as pallbearers.
Online condolences may be made by visiting www.WallaceandWallaceFH .com.
Wallace & Wallace Funeral Home in Lewisburg is in charge of arrangements.
Obituary originally published in the May 17, 2017, edition of The West Virginia Daily News.