Having emigrated from New Zealand some five decades ago, Porter played in San Francisco before taking up the whistle. He would have been a candidate for national honors at the time of the union's founding, but instead agreed to chair a new committee charged to standardize and improve the America's officiating.
Porter has held the role of national evaluator ever since. Most of the country's best and brightest, ranging from Dennis Shanagher, Ian Nixon, and Don Morrison to Don Reordan, Al Klemp, and latterly Dana Teagarden, would have worked extensively with the former insurance executive.
Like players, referees are promoted on the basis of consistently good performance, and an official's showing in high-stakes contests is thought to reflect on his referee society, if not the entire union. Even within rugby's closely knit fraternity, the matter of identifying and evaluating elite referees is an enigmatic calling, requiring judgment of technical skill and also temperament.
More a jocular fellow than eminence grise, Porter was often be found on the sidelines or under the referees' tent, intent on the craft. He is expected to continue working in the Northern California area, which boasts one of the country's larger and more active referee societies.
Porter is to be honored at dinners on both coasts in the springtime.
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