Victor Butler Porter, 90, of Decatur passed away surrounded by family following a several week illness Sunday, October 24, 2021, at Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne. He was born February 3, 1931, in Decatur to Giles Victor and Velma Mae (Butler) Porter. He was married June 1, 1950, to Kristine Striker, his bride of 71 years.
He was a member of First United Methodist Church in Decatur, where he served on various committees, including youth fellowship leader and lay witness mission team.
He was chairman emeritus of Formula Boats/Thunderbird Products in Decatur and remained active in the business, family-owned since 1976. A true entrepreneur, his early ventures included mobile home sales, real estate and his own business, Vic’s Frozen Food Center and Center Ice Cream. He founded two boat companies, Duo, Inc. in 1958 and Signa Corp. with five business associates in 1970. In 1973, he sold Signa to Fuqua Industries and was named president of its small-boat division. In 1976, he purchased Thunderbird Products/Formula/Signa from Fuqua. He served on the board and various committees of the National Marine Manufacturers Association and was inducted into the NMMA Hall of Fame in 2016.
He was active in the Decatur Chamber of Commerce, including serving as president and helped spearhead the development of Decatur’s Industrial Park. He received the Outstanding Young Businessman Award in 1964. In 1990, he was a finalist for the Indiana Entrepreneur of the Year Award and was that year’s recipient of the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award. In 1997, he was awarded the Stephen Decatur Community Service Award, and in 2000, Thunderbird earned the Large Business of the Year Award. In 2012, he received the Junior Achievement BEL Award for Northern Indiana. In 2016, he was a torchbearer for the Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay.
He was active in Boy Scouts and was an Eagle Scout and scoutmaster. He was a member of the Decatur Masonic Lodge F. & A.M. 571, the Scottish Rite Valley of Ft. Wayne, the Mizpah Shrine and the Adams County Calliopers. He also served as Adams County’s Republican Party chairman from 1973-1975. He was on the board of directors of Adams Memorial Hospital, and in earlier years, he was a volunteer fireman and helped coordinate a high school drug awareness program. He also served on the board of directors of Indiana Central College and the Cole Foundation Board. He founded the Porter Family Foundation, providing philanthropic funding to charities and organizations, including funding for the formation of Adams Woodcrest and donating land and funding for Adams Memorial Hospital. He and his wife also established the Victor and Kristine Porter Community Enrichment Fund with the Adams County Community Foundation. They enjoyed summers at Lake Wawasee and winters in Naples, Florida.
He is survived by wife; five sons, John (Eileen Wakefield) Porter of South Bend; Scott (Shelley) Porter; and Grant (Deb) Porter; Wayne (Karen) Porter; and Ted (Emily) Porter, all of Decatur; daughter, Jean (Charlie) Brune of Decatur; 17 grandchildren, Mathew (Samantha) Porter of Indianapolis; Alex Porter of Fishers; Erik Porter of Redmond, Washington; Kevin Porter of North Hollywood, California; Kyle Porter of Decatur; Matthew (Alison) Mishler of Noblesville; Mark Mishler of Indianapolis; Mary Anne (John) Workinger of Decatur; Adam (Clint Bayman) Porter of Fort Wayne; Jeremy Porter of Decatur; Sarah (Mackenzie) Bolinger of Fort Wayne; Jason (Kimberly) Brune of Decatur; Ryan (Genevieve) Brune of Columbus, Ohio; Nathan (Lauren) Brune of Fort Wayne; Daniel (Katie) Porter of Decatur; Christopher Porter of Decatur; and Joshua (Alexis) Porter of Decatur; and 19 great-grandchildren, London, Cameron, Astrid, Tessa, Isaac, Lucy, Ally, Drake, Ella, Cain, Zeke, Logann, Carter, Hailey, Caleb, Abigail, Noah, Eli and Eleanor.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and three sisters, Vera Berry; Ruth Ogle; and Zula Ehinger.
Visitation will be Friday, October 29 from 2-8 p.m. at Haggard-Sefton-Hirschy & Zelt Funeral Home in Decatur and one hour prior to the 11 a.m. funeral service Saturday, October 30 at First United Methodist Church in Decatur. Officiating will be Pastor Steve Austin. Burial will be at Decatur Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church in Decatur or Shriners Children’s Hospital.
Arrangements provided by Haggard-Sefton-Hirschy & Zelt Funeral Home in Decatur. To sign the guestbook, click on www.hshfuneralhome.com.