Celesta Chinn Porritt
Celesta Chinn Porritt
  • September 7, 1929 - May 10, 2017
  • Lafayette, Colorado

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Celesta Chinn Porritt of Boulder passed peacefully at Frasier Meadows on May 10, 2017. She was 87.

Celesta was a gentle soul who always made those around her feel her love, and always had a ready hand to help out. She loved books, gardening, everything Mozart, musical theater, the Spanish language. She was a crack seamstress. She was a generous hostess who loved bringing people together to eat and talk and laugh. She liked getting family together best of all.

Her faith was always a major part of her life. Although life threw many challenges her way, her faith helped her to never become bitter, only to become better. She was active at First Presbyterian Church in Boulder since 1957, as a Sunday school and VBS teacher, a Deacon, a member of many service and social groups, and 23 years singing in the choir.

She loved children, both her own and everyone else's. In addition to being classroom volunteer, room mother, Girl Scout Leader and everything else for her own kids, she helped found and teach in the extracurricular Elementary Spanish Program in Boulder when foreign language was removed from the elementary curriculum. In later years, she worked with the Kids Hope mentoring program, the Rotary Club Middle School letter exchange, and the Frasier Meadows program with Horizon School.

Celesta Ladelle Peck was born in Goldthwaite, TX and raised on a farm, where she picked up a love of gardening and being outdoors. With four older brothers and one younger, she grew strong. She graduated from Georgetown (TX) High School in 1946. She enjoyed school and attended Mary Hardin-Baylor College. She took classes at the University of Texas at Austin, where she met Lucas Hill. They married in 1948, and in 1950 welcomed daughter Joann. They moved to Houston where Luke hosted a radio show. Luke died in the polio epidemic of 1952, and she moved back to Austin to be near her family.

She took a job as a secretary in the engineering department at UT. There she met James Chinn, the new professor in civil engineering. They were married in the summer of 1955 and moved to Ithaca, NY for Jim's doctoral studies at Cornell. Jim and Celesta moved to Boulder in 1957 when he took a position at CU. Their son Joe was born in 1961 and daughter Anna in 1965, and she spent the next years as a faculty wife and mother. In 1978 Jim died of a heart attack while on a business trip. Celesta shouldered becoming a single parent again with grace, and went to work at CU, first in Buying and Contracting, and then as the secretary for the department of Spanish and Portuguese.

A happy new chapter in her life began in 1987 when she married orthodontist John Porritt. After 11 years at CU, she left to become John's office assistant and worked with him until their retirement in 1997. They were nearly inseparable and enjoyed many adventures together, including trips to England, Scotland, Israel, and Egypt with First Pres. They moved to Frasier Meadows in 2009, where they found many old friends and made many new ones. . Celesta's family and friends would like to thank the staff and volunteers at TRU Community Care hospice and Frasier Meadows for their compassionate care. Celesta is survived and will be greatly missed by her husband John; children Joann Starks, Joe Chinn (Lisa), and Anna Chinn (Louis Laborde); stepchildren Ed Porritt and Beth Roome (Jim); daughter-in-law Grace Porritt; and six grandchildren. A memorial service will be held in June. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Chinn-Carswell graduate fellowship at https://giving.cu.edu/fund/chinn-carswell-fellowship-fund.