Former school principal James (Jim) Porteus, passed away on September 29, 2023, at the Southern Cross Aged Care Centre, Bateau Bay, aged 91 years.
It was a fabulous innings, brought to a close with him surrounded by his loving family, who all gathered at St Josephs Cessnock on Thursday October 5 to say their formal farewell to a truly decent man, who loved his chosen career, his family, his community and church and of course his sport.
Born during the depression at Abermain on December 3 1931 he attended local schools before becoming a 'rarity' in those times by completing his leaving certificate, and then heading to Newcastle to complete his teacher training.
His first post was at a one teacher school near Parkes in the Central West where he not much older than some of his students and taught everyone from kinder to high school in a facility with no electricity.
From there he moved to Wollongong, married June, herself a teacher, and then came the first of their seven children Jimmy who would be followed by Michael, Anne, Louise, Patty, Joseph and David.
The family moved back to Cessnock where Jim became principal of Bellbird, Tenambit and East Cessnock primary schools before he headed to Singleton as principal of King Street Public School.
He retired from teaching at KSP and moved to Bateau Bay where he and June enjoyed a wonderful life, close to the beach, and surrounded by their family which would grow to include eleven grandchildren and one great grandchild.
His grandchildren all spoke at his funeral about his fondness of backyard cricket taking them on walks and swims at the beach and just always being there for them.
In 2020 June passed away after many years of devoted care, by her husband, as her health slowly declined.
His children described Jim as a father who worked very hard to ensure the best for his students and the community but also someone who spent as much time as possible with his own offspring.
For a father from the 1950s, it could be said he was ahead of his times when it came to domestic duties, making all the children's breakfast, making all their school lunches, and doing the washing all before starting work each day.
In one of her stories about her father Louise said "Dad always cleaned our school shoes because he appreciated the fact we had these shoes. For a number of years when he attended school he didn't have any school shoes so ours were well cared for by Dad," .
He played soccer with skill and determination in his younger years and in 1956 his team Cessnock City (now Cessnock Hornets) won the the State League Cup. Another member of that team and friend of Jim's was Jack Lennard who played for Australia. Jim coached his son's Joe junior team at he Singleton Strikers to a premierships in 1981 and 1982. He also enjoyed his golf and of course his backyard cricket.
His commitment to his community was recognised in 1989 when he was made Singleton's Citizen of the Year.
He was survived by his seven children, 11 grandchildren, one great grandchild and his sister Shirley Feeney a former Mayor of Muswellbrook.