Judith “Judy” Porter, 82, of Sturgeon Bay, died peacefully in her sleep on Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2018 at home with her husband by her side.
She was born Jan. 18, 1936 in Rhinelander, the daughter of the late John Orval and Lily Ann Schultz. She attended Rhinelander High School and was the first woman ever to receive the Rhinelander Paper Mill Scholarship. Judy and Harry met in Madison, while she attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The two were married on Sept. 6, 1958 in Rhinelander. In 1959, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Nursing Education and Public Health from UW-Madison.
Judy’s first position was working as a Nursing Instructor at Madison General Hospital before she worked as a Psychiatric Nursing Instructor at Mendota Mental Health Institute also in Madison. She and Harry moved to Colorado where she was a Public Health Nurse in Fort Collins. They moved back to Wisconsin and she worked in Tomahawk at Tomahawk Hospital and then they moved to Appleton, where she worked at the Visiting Nurses Association. They ultimately settled in Sturgeon Bay, where they spent the next 50 years.
For 13 years, Judy was Director of Public Health Nursing in Door County, where she was deputized in order to help with difficult situations. In 1980, with longtime friend Diane Kiehnau, Judy went on to open one of the first privately owned home health care services in the state of Wisconsin, named Porter Kiehnau Home Care Services. They were co-owners; Judy was the Director of Nursing and Diane was the Director of Finance and together they ran the business for almost 20 years. They were also both involved in initiating a state organization for home health care providers. At the same time, she and Diane also opened and operated an assisted living home called Cranberry Haus. Judy retired from nursing in 2000 and joined her husband in running their family business, Porter’s Pines, which was a Christmas tree business where they made wreaths and planted trees. Judy and Harry planted upwards of a million trees before retiring.
Judy was honored by UW-Madison multiple times for her contributions to the nursing and home health care fields. She was a supporter and donor to the UW-Madison Alumni Association. She was a Past Worthy Matron of the Eastern Star and a lifelong Democrat, serving for several years as the Door County Chair of the Democratic Party. She was an active member of the Kiwanis organization and served as a past President. One of her biggest hobbies was collecting cookie jars, which is the reason her license plate was “Coki Jar”.
In their younger days, Judy and Harry enjoyed downhill skiing. This was followed by sprintcar racing. They put many miles on their 5th wheel camper “chasin’ racing.” They also enjoyed going to plays, especially at the Roque Theater.
Judy was well-known for her loving and caring personality and for promoting and supporting the expansion of the home health care industry. She cared deeply about her husband and pets, her businesses, patients, and staff, the Door County Community, and her friends and family. She was not only a very caring and kind person, but she also had a great sense of humor and really knew how to make others laugh. She was a joy to be around and will be greatly missed.
Judy is survived by her loving husband, Harry; sweet dog, Minta; sister, Patricia (Ken) Lowden of Brookfield; brothers, Frank (Roswitha) Schultz of New Berlin and Fred (Carol) Schultz of Gold Canyon, AZ; sister-in-law, Linda Hill; and her nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, and four great great-nephews, as well as many cousins.
She was preceded in death by her parents; sister-in-law, Ann Mather; nephew, Fred Mather; and special niece, Louise Dayton.
In honor of Judy’s wishes, no formal services will be held. Judy requested that in her memory, she would like to fund one year of nursing school for a UW-Madison Nursing Student. So, in lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the School of Nursing Scholarship Fund in memory of Judy Porter. Checks should be made payable to the UW Foundation and sent to: UW School of Nursing: c/o Norah Bushman; 701 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI 53705.
Huehns Funeral Home, Inc. & Door County Crematory LLC are assisting the Porter family. Expressions of sympathy, memories, and photos of Judy may be shared with her family through her tribute page at www.huehnsfuneralhome.com.