Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 24, 1955
NUMBER 41, PAGE 14-15

The Death Of A Saint

W. Curtis Porter, Monette, Arkansas

Funeral services for Mrs. W. Curtis Porter were conducted at the Church of Christ building in Monette, Arkansas, at 2:30 Wednesday afternoon, January 12, 1955. In harmony with her request made during her fatal illness, Brother Rue Porter, who is not related to the family but who has been a close friend for many years, delivered the funeral sermon. He was at Newberg, Oregon, engaged in a meeting, when she passed away, and we brought him all the way back from Oregon for the service. The same night he began his return trip for meetings in California. He was assisted in the service by brethren Christian A. Lyles, Harold F. Sharp and Gussie Lambert. Six other gospel preachers served as pallbearers. To our knowledge there were twenty five gospel preachers from five states present for the funeral rites. There may have been others that we do not recall. During the service the following obituary was read:

"Jessie Adeline Winstead was born in Providence, Kentucky, on July 22, 1902. She passed away at her home in Monette, Arkansas, on Sunday morning at 4:30 o'clock, January 9, 1955, being 52 years, 5 months and 17 days of age. She was a victim of multiple myelomaone of the rarest forms of cancer of the bones — and for nearly fourteen months underwent the most intense suffering ever known to human beings.

When she was eight years of age, she moved with her parents and other members of the family to Northeastern Arkansas and located in the Mangrum settlement where she grew to young womanhood.

On April 17, 1917, she was married to W. Curtis Porter, with whom she traveled the journey of life for more than 37 years.

She became a member of the Church of Christ on August 8, 1918. We do not claim perfection for her — and she would not want us to do so. She was a human being, subject to human weaknesses, as all of us are, and made mistakes as human beings do. This would readily be admitted by her if she could speak today. But she lived a consistent Christian life and died in the triumph of a living faith. We therefore believe that she is among the blessed dead who have died in the Lord and that the crown of life which the Lord has promised to the faithful will be hers in that land of endless day.

She endured her sufferings with such faith, fortitude and patience that even the doctors and nurses who attended her were amazed, and she became an inspiration to many who visited her during her fatal illness. She was not afraid to die but often talked of the trip that she soon would make when death would come and she would be transported from the scenes of the mortal to the scenes of the immortal.

Throughout her life she manifested the spirit of unselfishness, and on many occasions she did without things she wanted and needed that she might provide something for some friend or relative. When her malady had been diagnosed and she knew that she soon must die, she offered her eyes to a friend who is blind, that by the process of grafting, known to medical science, this friend might be enabled to see. However, because of the nature of the friend's affliction, the grafting of the eyes was impossible. The offer, however, she never mentioned to her husband; nor did she ever know that he knew of it. It was but a manifestation of her spirit of unselfishness.

She was always frank in her association with others and was never given to the practice of backbiting. If she thought some one to be in the wrong, she preferred to tell that person rather than to tell some one else.

During her last illness, although suffering from intense pain, she managed to write three letters to friends. One of these was to a friend in Oklahoma, and it caused a young married couple, who were close friends of hers, but who had strayed from the paths of right, to return to the fellowship and favor of God and His people. Thus, even on her death bed, she was able to convert souls from the error of, their way and cause joy among the angels in heaven.

As the wife of a gospel preacher she knew the spirit of sacrifice. Whatever success her husband has attained in life, he gives due credit to her for a large portion of it, knowing that her words of confidence and encouragement greatly influenced him to make the best effort possible for him to make, and that without such encouragement he would often have suffered defeat. While sharing with him in his work she lived in Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, California, Texas and Oklahoma, and she found happiness and made friends wherever she lived.

She was a great lover of children, and although she had none of her own, she bestowed much love on the children of others. As a result she was greatly loved by children. She tenderly cared for her step-father and mother during their declining years and gave them the kind of love and attention during their fatal sickness that we have tried to give her during hers.

Her last words were, 'Please, Curtis,' as she momentarily aroused from the state of unconsciousness that had held her so long. At her home she is survived by her husband, W. Curtis Porter. Also by her husband's niece, Melba Taylor, who has lived with them for years as their own child, upon whom she bestowed her love as a mother would upon her own child. She is also survived by two brothers, Luther Winstead and Roy Winstead, both of Monette. A number of uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, cousins and other relatives also survive to mourn her passing. We weep — but not as those who have no hope, but we hope to see her again in a glorified body that is not riddled with canted nor racked with pain."

During the funeral discourse three poems, composed by her husband, were read by the speaker. One of these was written on October 18, 1930 — nearly 25 years before her death — and is as follows:

My Wife And I

The years are going swiftly — the day has long since passed
The day we sealed our pledges to hold while life shall last;
We looked upon the future — we saw no blighting curse —
We merged our hopes, ambitions, for better or for worse;
The world was all forgotten — we had each other nigh,
When we began our journey — my maiden wife and I.

We've traveled on together; so fast have seemed the years;
Although we've had our sorrows, we've blended here our tears;
Life has its obligations — we learn that more and more;
We know not what great sadness the future holds in store;
We face the future gladly — we have each other nigh —
And so we tread our pathway — my darling wife and I.

The Lord has blessed us greatly; our love has stronger grown;
And in life's disappointments, I know she is my own;
Beneath her tear-soaked lashes I see a thought forlorn
Because, along the journey, no children have been born;
With courage she arises and heaves a pensive sigh,
And on we go together — my precious wife and I.

I preach the gospel story with love for dying man;
She shares with me the labor and helps me all she can;
This worthy, noble mission has kept us oft apart;
We write our letters daily — love flows from heart to heart;
Our sprits hold communion when we cannot be nigh,
And thus we meet life's battles — my lonely wife and I.

Someday we'll reach the crossing where we must separate
Death's dark and silent river will leave behind a mate;
For one will tread the waters — that mystic, tragic stream
But left behind the other to wander here and dream;
Which one will then be taken another land to try?
And which be left in sorrow — my loving wife or I?

Time's knell will soon be sounded — the earth will pass away;
Around the throne in glory all saints will meet to stay;
And while eternal ages will ever onward go,
From throne of our Jehovah a crystal stream will flow;
Along that crystal river, with angels standing by,
We long someday to wander — my ransomed wife and I.

The other two poems were composed in March, 1954, as he sat by her bed in the hospital, waiting for the approach of death. One of them is entitled THE FATEFUL HOUR and the other WHEN YOU ARE GONE. They are as follows:

The Fateful Hour

My heart is torn with sorrow, my mind is dulled with pain,
As by your bed in sadness I long to see you gain;
But grief o'er me has fallen — my soul is filled with woe
Because the dreaded reaper has called for you to go.
You've manifested courage — your fortitude's sublime —
As with a broken spirit you near the heav'nly clime;
Death's knell is sounding loudly, with pathos and with power,
And I, so sad and lonely, await the fateful hour.

I know your love is fervent — a love so full and free —
As I pray God in anguish to hear my humble plea:
To grant that you may linger my troubled soul to bless,
But if you can't stay longer, that you may suffer less;
And when you reach the crossing that heaven be your home
That God may give me comfort while sadly here I roam.
I love you still more dearly — your pain but breaks my heart
This fateful hour of darkness is tearing us apart.

The fateful hour approaches — it blinds my eyes with tears
As I without you, darling, must face the coming years;
But if you go and leave me, my love will stronger grow,
As faith will look to heaven to which your soul will go.
And there you'll be a treasure to beckon still to me
To strive for that reunion upon that shore with thee;
With sorrows all forgotten — with tears all washed away —
We'll then be home forever through that eternal day.

When You Are Gone

When you are gone beyond this vale,
And I am left behind,
With loving grasp that cannot fail
I'll hold you in my mind.
For thoughts are things that will not die
As memory lingers on;
The tears will blind each failing eye,
My dear, when you are gone.

When you are gone to that fair land
And lonely here I roam,
I'll not forget the things your hand
has touched around our home:
The chairs, the shades, the spreads, the floors,
The silverware and such,
And all the dishes, pots and doors
Made sacred by your touch.

I'll see your smile in every flower
That grows and buds and blooms;
I'll hear your voice each day and hour
Echoing through the rooms;
I'll feel your kiss upon my brow
As evening zephyrs blow,
And live again, in memory now,
The days of long ago.

The joys we shared I'll not forget
Through dripping, blinding tears;
The bitterness of deep regret
Can't blot out memory's years.
When you are gone wave me your hand
At midnight, morn and noon,
And beckon me to that fair land
For I'll be coming soon.

Written by her grief-stricken husband,
W. Curtis Porter