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Official Obituary of

Winton Covey Porterfield

March 23, 1964 ~ January 25, 2024 (age 59) 59 Years Old

Winton Porterfield Obituary

Winton Covey Porterfield

March 23, 1964 – January 25, 2024

     Winton Covey Porterfield, 59, of San Marcos, died at home after a brief illness just before sunrise on Thursday, January 25, 2024. By his side was Kim Bradley Porterfield, his wife of more than 30 years.

     The son of highly acclaimed southern writers, Winton was a sportswriter and journalist with several newspapers across Texas until he took a position as Hays County Judge Eddy Etheredge's administrative assistant. There, he discovered a keen interest in land use and transportation development in Central Texas, one of the fastest growing regions in the nation.

     He worked for several prominent engineering firms and land companies before circling back and working once again for Hays County, where he was recently promoted to Assistant Director of the Transportation Department. The new Loop 110 project on the East side of San Marcos was among those he was proud to see completed.

     Winton grew up as a Texas history buff, due to the influence of his parents Billy Porterfield and Jo Brans and had a special passion for the stories of the ordinary people who led extraordinary lives and the forgotten cemeteries in which they were buried. During his time as chair of the Hays County Historical Commission cemetery committee in the 1990s, Winton led the restoration of the long-neglected Kyle Pioneer Family Cemetery, believed to be the final resting place for early enslaved residents of the county. 

     Winton enjoyed telling stories of his unusual home life, growing up with a southern literary scholar for a mother. He said, “I would be playing in an important (to me) high school tennis tournament, and she would be sitting in the stands reading the works of Eudora Welty or William Faulkner. Not knowing the rules of tennis, she would look up and clap for anyone who scored.”

     Winton grew up around the best of Texas music, thanks to his father, Billy. As a matter of fact, songwriter B. W. Stevenson was his godfather. His mother, Jo was an English professor at SMU as well as an accomplished writer and hosted a litany of house guests who just happened to be literary giants of the 1960s and ‘70s. It was nothing to come home from school to find Shelby Hearon, A.C. Greene, Gary Cartwright, John Graves, or Prudence McIntosh sitting around the kitchen table – a venerable who’s who of American literature, sharing stories and sipping wine.

     Winton graduated from Greenhill School in Dallas and attended Connecticut College on a tennis scholarship.

     Winton met and married Kim Bradley Porterfield when they were both reporters for the San Marcos Daily Record. They married on the San Marcos River in Martindale, and recently celebrated their 31st wedding anniversary.

They raised two amazing daughters, Carlie Ann Porterfield, currently of New York City, who is an associate editor for The Art Newspaper; and Sara Jo Porterfield of Houston, who is an assistant district attorney with the Brazoria County District Attorney’s Office.  He often said he was incredibly proud – and somewhat amazed – that they turned out so well.

     He was an active supporter of local political candidates, including his wife, Kim, who served two terms on the San Marcos City Council; and several Hays County office holders through the years.

     Winton will be remembered for his dry wit, the twinkle in his eye, and his love of a good story.  He enjoyed golf with his friends. He cheered for the San Antonio Spurs in and beyond their glory days. A few days before he passed, he asked that we not mention in his obituary that he was a diehard Dallas Cowboys fan for most of his life, to alleviate pity from readers.

     He and Kim traveled to Scotland, to explore the ruins of the Porterfield castle, and visit the cemeteries and homeland of his forefathers. They shared a family beach retreat with Kim’s brother, Brian in Galveston.  Winton liked driving the backroads from Galveston to San Marcos, studying the history of the region. He could recite “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” from memory, a feat that impressed more than a few people lucky enough to hear him, and likely earned him a few beers and dates back in the day.

     Among his greatest traits was staying in touch with lifelong friends, many of whom traveled to visit with him during his final days. He knew he was lucky to have the opportunity to say goodbye to many of those good friends. When the final word came, albeit suddenly and without warning, he accepted it with grace and even humor. He gathered Kim, Carlie and Sara Jo, and they talked about it. Through many of his final conversations, Winton threw in advice like how to change the air filter in the attic, start the lawn mower, cover the pipes, and ….

      Winton often talked about the “American Dream,” as described by John Henry Faulk, who said, “The American Dream is simply wanting your children to have more opportunities and a better life than you did.” Winton believed that, and he lived the American Dream each time he looked into his daughters’ eyes.

When I die, let my ashes float down the Green River

Let my soul roll on up to the Rochester Dam

I'll be halfway to Heaven with Paradise waitin'

Just five miles away from wherever I am.

John Prine

In the song, “Paradise,” John Prine sang of his beloved Green River.  Winton loved the San Marcos River at least as much: daily trips to Dog Beach with several decades of black labs; saying, “I do” on the river at Martindale; discovering Clovis points and tools when after a hard rain, the high water settled back into her banks; The Flood of ‘97, when the water rose to the ceilings of their Riverside Drive house, and they lost everything; and more. A few days ago, Winton asked that some of his ashes float down the San Marcos River.   

Family roots and ties were important to Winton, who loved genealogy and spent a great deal of time on, researching census records and old family homes and searching out their locations in Google Maps.

Winton was preceded in death by his father, Billy Mack Porterfield, his mother, Jo Reid Brans, and his brother-in-law, David Liston. He is survived by his wife, Kim Bradley Porterfield, and his daughters, Carlie Ann Porterfield and Sara Jo Porterfield. He is also survived by his step-parents Diane Porterfield of Wimberley, and Pim Brans of New York City; his sisters, Erin Porterfield of Dallas and her daughters Zane Liston of Wimberley and Bailey Devine of Fort Worth; Oren Porterfield and her daughter Billie Mack Moser of Wimberley; Meredith Saidel Roach and her husband Chris and their daughters Annaliese and Emory of Austin; brother Nashu Barnard and his wife Rachel and their children Samantha, Fox and Brooklyn of Boyd, Texas. Among his many cousins, Samantha Reid Cooper came to visit from Des Moines, Iowa the day before he passed.

Winton counted Kim’s family as his own: his mother-in-law, Mary Bradley of Houston; and siblings-in-law Brian Bradley of Houston and sons Brandon Bradley of Fort Lauderdale and Brooks Bradley of Houston; Alyson Fahl and her husband David Fahl of Houston and daughters Krystine Poston of Hitchcock and Corrie Alia of Philadelphia; Alan Bradley and his wife Debbie and sons Blake and Todd of Houston, Clay Wood and his wife Becky and their children Lauren, Madison, Riley and C.J. of Highlands; Rebecca Millo and her husband Clint and daughter, Avery of League City; Henry Wilson of San Rafael, California; and Melanie Wilson, her life partner James Jard, and her daughter Audrie; and many grand nieces and nephews.

He is survived by more good friends than any man deserves. Among them, Winton leaves behind Brent Hillebrenner, Bill Burnett, Will Burnett, Ainsley Burnett, Gavin Fite, Ann Pickering, Vincent Morton, Bobby Ybarra, Rodney Woodley, Mark Jungers, Jerry Borcherding, David Santacroce, Ted Shapiro, Jenni Finlay, Sterling Finlay, HalleyAnna Finlay, and Diana Finlay Hendricks.

A casual memorial gathering, and celebration of life is being planned for March 23, 2024, on what would have been Winton’s 60th birthday. Details will be circulated closer to the date.

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