In Memory of Jay Porter
1973 - 2021
Jay had an incredible impact on so many people. The abundance of memories that have poured in from the community he built is both an astounding testament to who he was, and a comfort to all those he has left behind.
Memorial services will be held at
11AM on Saturday, November 13
at Grace Episcopal Church
in St. Helena, CA.
Reception to follow at
David and Jay’s family home
in Napa, CA 2pm - 6pm.
The memorial service will be live-streamed online - request access.
The Life of Jay
Jay Porter, beloved husband, son, brother, uncle and friend passed from this life on November 2, 2021 from complications related to chronic lymphocytic leukemia. He was 48 years old.
Jay was born in Oklahoma City on April 5, 1973. He attended Putnam City North High School where he was both student council president and editor of the paper. An English major, he graduated from Yale University in 1995. After graduation, he returned to Oklahoma City, where he absolutely doted on his younger sisters. In 1999, Jay moved to Seattle, where he met the love of his life, David Smith.
Jay and David married in May 2004, and spent the next 17 years sharing travel and food adventures, moving up and down the West Coast, with a five year stint in Chicago before finally settling in Napa, California. He was always excited to try something new and experience everything the world had to offer him. Jay was the perfect host, a generous friend, a warm shoulder, and a loving husband. He and David shared a marriage that was admired by everyone who knew them.
Jay was the bright center of a loving family. As the eldest of fourteen grandchildren, he spent his early years traveling throughout the country with his beloved grandparents. At a very young age, he started honing his perfect etiquette, his passion for travel, and his insatiable love of the written word. His parents have a treasure trove of stories about his precociousness, his kindness, and his empathy. He became a big brother at age seven, a role he was born to play. His generosity knew absolutely no bounds, and the three siblings would spend the rest of Jay’s life traversing the country to be together. His adoring parents spent most of the last year of his life at his side, and will forever be grateful for these precious and tender memories.
Jay was the CEO of Revere, the technology-focused agency, a part of the Edelman family of companies, where he worked up the ranks during the last 16 years. Jay was universally loved and admired by his colleagues, clients, and partners for his creativity, drive and relentless optimism. He mentored countless colleagues, and was particularly committed to blazing a trail for up-and-coming LGBTQIA+ Public Relations professionals.
Jay was a brilliant writer and had a joyful wit. He was never at a loss for words, and always knew the perfect thing to say, whether to reassure someone in doubt or express his absolute joy at the births of nieces and nephews. In Jay’s home office, there is a small plaque that reads “Words tend to be inadequate.” Never has that been more true than at this moment.
He is preceded in death by his grandparents Jay and Barbara Tompkins, and Gerald and Ruth Porter. He is survived by his husband David Smith, his parents Judy and Larry Porter, as well as his sisters – Julie and her husband Kasey Scott; Lyndi and her husband Brad Zavy – as well as his beloved nieces and nephews: Porter Zavy, Juniper Jay Scott, Robin Scott and Vivian Zavy. Also surviving, David’s family: Meg and David Smith, and sister Rebecca Smith of Adelaide, Australia, as well as adoring aunts and uncles, cousins, colleagues and friends across the world.
His family wishes to thank his incredible doctors and nurses, especially Dr. Ethan Schram. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to one of Jay’s favorite organizations: the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Chicago’s Center on Halsted, LGBTQ Napa Connection, or Grace Episcopal Church in St. Helena, California.