Carrie Townley Porter
Former NWHP State Coordinator
Died on December 6, 2014
Carrie Townley Porter, one of Nevada Women’s History Project’s most dedicated leaders and volunteers, passed away at her home in Rancho Cucamonga, California on December 6th. She was 79. Her death was unexpected.
The wearer of many hats, Carrie was hired to be the NWHP State Coordinator from 1998 to 2001. She wrote a column, “Carrie’s Corner”, for the NWHP newsletter. From 2001‐2004 she served as president of the State Executive Committee as well as president of the NWHP Northern Nevada Steering Committee. As archivist for NWHP she oversaw the organizing and filing of materials and development of retention schedules. Carrie was named to the NWHP Roll of Honor in in 2005.
Carrie was an expert researcher and Chautauqua performer. She had a contagious enthusiasm and willingness to do the hard work in organizing NWHP materials, doing research, writing, and performing that was greatly appreciated. She was accused of being “feisty”, a trait she shared with her Chautauqua characters. She especially enjoyed portraying Helen J. Stewart. One of her last Chautauqua performances was as Stewart, a southern Nevada pioneer, held at the Old Las Vegas Fort State Historic Park near where Stewart had resided. Carrie and renowned Nevada author Sally Zanjani wrote a book, Helen J. Stewart, First Lady of Las Vegas, published in 2011. They were making plans to research and write another book on an historical Nevadan.
A bill naming Sarah Winnemucca to be Nevada’s second statue in Statuary Hall, Washington, D. C. was submitted to the 2001 Legislature by Assemblywoman Marcia de Braga, where it passed unanimously. The NWHP was behind this effort. Carrie and Mary Anne Convis helped to create the NWHP Sarah Winnemucca Statue Committee whose main goal was to raise funds for the statue sculpture and placement in Washington, D. C. In 2003 Carrie was named cochair of the State Sarah Winnemucca Statue Committee together with former First Lady Dema Guinn. This selection committee chose the sculptor and kept a record of the donations. She worked on public relations and fund raising as well as gave testimony before the Nevada Legislature. This achievement was a highlight in her life. Sarah Winnemucca’s statues were not only placed in Statuary Hall, Washington D.C., but also in Carson City, Nevada State Capitol, and Las Vegas, Nevada State Museum and Historical Society. A Marquette of the statue was placed at the Winnemucca grammar school.
Her list of volunteer jobs at the NWHP was amazing. After her husband Keith passed away in 2004, Carrie continued to write articles, provide assistance to researchers at the Jean Ford Research Center in the NWHP office, do her Chautauqua portrayals of Helen J. Stewart and give genealogy instructional workshops through non‐profit service clubs. Carrie also spent a few weeks in Jarbidge, Nevada assisting with an interesting project, “The Jarbidge Archive Brigade: Preserving Past and Community in Northeastern Nevada”.
Other leadership positions she held were president of the conference of Intermountain Archivists in 1989 and 1990, sheriff of Westerners International, Reno corral, and chief of the Nevada Society of Scottish Clans in 1994 and 95. In 2004 she was chosen as “Scot of the Year” by the Reno Scottish group for her community service work. The Soroptimist International of Truckee Meadows gave Carrie the CeCe Abrams award for exceptional service as an archivist and a lifetime membership in that organization. She also was chosen as the Nevada Women’s Fund “Woman of Achievement” in 1999. In the fall of 2014 she was awarded a lifetime membership to NWHP.
Carrie owned and managed Townley‐Porter Associates, a records management consulting firm. A Nevada Southern College (now University of Nevada, Las Vegas) graduate, she earned a bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in mathematics and a master’s degree in archeology and history. She also attended University of Texas at Austin prior to her first marriage to John Townley.
Born in Belton, Bell County, Texas July 27, 1935, she was a loyal Texan. She and her husband Keith hosted Texas New Year celebrations at their home in Reno every March 1st. Featured Texas dishes, ham, black‐eyed peas, and corn bread, were enjoyed by all who attended.
After moving to Southern California in 2013, she devoted herself to organizing her collections. They are currently housed in the Nevada State Museum in Las Vegas.
She is survived by a son, Mark (JT) Townley (Rochelle Mezzano) of Reno and a daughter, Cynthia (Steve) Ewer, of Richland, Washington, and several grandchildren and great‐grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her first husband, John Townley in 1994, her second husband Keith Porter in 2004 and daughter Barbara Codega (Jeff, of Rancho Cucamonga, CA) in 2013. Her two brothers also preceded her in death, Weldon in 2005 and Edward in 2007.
The Nevada Women’s History Project has established a Memorial Endowment Fund in Carrie’s honor. Donations may be made to the NWHP at 770 Smithridge Dr., Suite 300, Reno, NV 89502‐0708. A memorial service may be scheduled at a later date.
Researched and Written by
Kay Sanders and Carol Clanton
Carrie Townley-Porter remembered
Second Edition, Annotated Bibliography
The Second Edition of the Annotated Bibliography subcommittee met at UNR Special Collections. We developed the form based on a similar form used for the First Edition.
Please go there to get the form or copy the form here. This will be a multiyear project and we look forward to the involvement of individuals and organizations.
Thank you, Mona Reno
Sarah Winnemucca Digital Collection
The Nevada State Library & Archives is proud to announce the Sarah Winnemucca digital collection is now available.
This collection is the culmination of many years work by Library and Archives staff. It started with a Library Services and Technology Grant in 2006 to obtain primary sources from National Archives and Records, newspapers and government reports. Mona Reno was the primary researcher for the project and traveled to obtain these resources. The staff of Micrographics and Imaging scanned the documents. The State Archives made the resources available.
Visit the entire digital collection www.nsladigitalcollections.org. Congratulations!
When you look at the pictures of our activities you see many smiling faces. Volunteering is fun!
We need each of you to think how you can best help NWHP keep going in the coming years: donating to the endowment fund or operating costs, coming to events, helping to organize events, working with the Jean Ford Research Center Committee, to name just a few choices.
Participation is more than showing up for the fun stuff ‐ it's also helping to make the fun stuff happen and helping to make the organization function on an ongoing basis.
NWHP has been fortunate to have several really dedicated members who have worked hard for many years to ensure that Jean Ford's dream of capturing the history of Nevada women endures. They have obtained grant funding in addition to planning fundraising activities for our organization.
We need members to keep that dream alive. Consider picking up the phone and volunteering to help in some capacity.
Submitted by Marcia Cuccaro and Mona Reno
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