Gary Edmund Porter, a locomotive engineer, died in Benefis hospital in Great Falls on Wednesday evening after collapsing at the railroad depot in Shelby on Sunday morning.
He was born on July 4, 1951, in Adelaide, South Australia. As a child, he lived in Sandpoint, Idaho, and graduated from Whitefish High School in 1969. He attended the University of Montana, majoring in English and creative writing.
He worked for the Great Northern, Burlington Northern and Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroads in Montana for 38 years. Gary worked as a gandy dancer, on steel and tie gangs and as a section man. He then moved into train service as a brakeman, conductor and engineer. He lived in Missoula until 1988, and then moved to Havre to work on the Hi-Line.
Gary was a voracious reader. He possessed all types of knowledge and was a great storyteller. He was intelligent, caring and very opinionated, possibly to the point of being stubborn. His passions were gardening, camping, fishing and the outdoors. He was also an inventive and talented cook, preparing many amazing meals for his family. Gary lived in Montana his entire life, and claimed that he had been to “pretty much” every bar in the state. He travelled the area thoroughly, working for the railroad and fishing every body of water available.
Gary loved his family more than anything and was a devoted father. Devastated by the loss of his son Nick in 2005, and daughter Gwen in 2006, he never fully recovered. Gary was also preceded in death by his mother, Maisie, in December. He is survived by his wife Sally; daughter. Maureen; son, Chris; father, Ed; brother, Russell (Kim) ; and nephews, Jordan and Ryan.