The community is remembering Don Porter, whose vision helped transform ranch land into an urban center in Wesley Chapel. He died yesterday at the age of 73.
Porter’s family, which owns the sprawling Wiregrass Ranch, sold the land that is now occupied by The Shops at Wiregrass and Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel. The family donated another 60 acres for what became the Porter Campus of Pasco-Hernando State College.
“Out of all of the accomplishments, I think the thing that he was most proud of was his family,” said his son, J.D. Porter. “He wanted to see everyone do well.”
Pasco County commissioner Pat Mulieri called Porter a “good steward of the land and a southern gentleman.”
“I believe that Don’s generous spirit and clear vision made a difference in the Wesley Chapel area, and set the tone for all future development there,” Mulieri said.
Katherine Johnson, president of PHSC, recalled the first time she met Porter, and how his approachability immediately made her feel at ease.
“We clicked. We just clicked,” she said. “Clearly, we would not have been able to have a campus in Wesley Chapel without the family.”
A memorial service for Don Porter has been scheduled for 2 p.m. on July 12 at the conference center at Pasco-Hernando State College’s Porter Campus at Wiregrass Ranch, 2727 Mansfield Blvd., in Wesley Chapel.
For more on the reaction to the life of Don Porter, read the July 9 edition of The Laker/Lutz News.