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Obituary for James Porter

James "Jim" Porter died August 7, 2018, at the age of 85, at his home, after a long and courageous battle with Parkinson’s Disease. He was born to Ralph Eugene and Martha Elizabeth Porter July 8, 1933, in Urbana Illinois. The family moved to Bloomington where he graduated from Bloomington High in 1951. He then attended Illinois State University in Normal, IL. After one year he transferred to the University of Illinois-College of Engineering; where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree. During his senior year of college he married Marylin Jean Schumacher from Bloomington, Ill. Jim and Marylin moved to Louisville, KY where he took a job with American Standard. Two months later, Jim was drafted into the Army for two years. He was assigned to the Chemical Weapons Division in Edgewood, MD for the rest of his term. This is where they welcomed their first son, Michael. Jim accepted a job with Trane Company on April 2, 1958. So, he moved his family to La Crosse. He started in the Test Lab, working for Don Krans who was one of his college professors. After 4 years, he moved to the Design Engineering Group, where he held many positions. His last job at Trane was Manager of Absorption Engineering for Large Water Chillers up to 1660 tons. He also received 11 US patents during his Trane Company career. During this time, two more children were born, Tom and Karen. He retired from Trane on August 1, 1997, with 39 years of service. He was also a member of the 25 year club. Jim was very active in American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers, known as ASHRAE. He served as president for the local chapter in La Crosse. He also served on several committees and positions at the National ASHRAE level. Jim was also active with the Boy Scouts holding leadership roles. He also had great woodworking skills, which included making baby furniture for this grandchildren. He also enjoyed building model railroad sets and model air planes. His wife Marylin died in 1986 of cancer. He later then married Judie Hampton in October of 1988; they have spent many wonderful years together. He is survived by his wife, Judie. His sons, Michael (Deb) Porter, Thomas (Deb) Porter; and his daughter, Karen (Glenn) Gehrking. He leaves behind 8 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren; nephew, Matt Porter and a niece, Melissa Anzona; his step-children, Jeff (Korina) Hampton, and Lori (Jim) Sculati and 4 step-grandchildren; sister-in-law, Patricia Mason; and a brother-in-law, Tom Parker. He was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife, Marylin; and his only brother, Roger Porter. In accordance to Jim’s wishes a private family service will be held at a later date. Memorials may be given to the Gundersen Hospice Program or Parkinson’s Research. Jandt-Fredrickson Funeral Home and Crematory is assisting the family. A full obituary and online condolences may be sent at