John Brookes Porter
John Brookes Porter
  • April 5, 1937 - August 16, 2017
  • Edwards, Illinois

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Former Caterpillar executive John Brookes Porter, age 80, of Peoria, died Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017, at his residence.
He was born in 1937 in Fulton, NY to Walter T. and Mary R. (Brookes) Porter. He married his life-long love Gayle Patricia Sassi in 1958 in Cranford, NJ. She survives along with his beloved children: David (Corinne) Porter of Farmington, CT, James (Louise) Porter of Naperville, IL, Andrew (Julie) Porter of Evanston, IL, and daughter-in-law, Monica (James) Billington of Peoria Heights, IL. Jack is also survived by eleven grandchildren: Matthew, Lauren, Michael, Zachary, Anne, Mark, Jack, Ashley, Emily, Michael, and Stephen; two great-grandsons: Hudson and Brookes; two brothers: W. Thomas (Dixie) Porter of Seattle, WA, Donald (Mary Beth) Porter of West Lafayette, IN; and one sister, Janice (Randy) VanGasse of Norway, MI.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his oldest son, John Brookes Porter, Jr.
Jack lived a full and wonderful life.
He loved his country. He was proud of his service as an officer in the United States Air Force.
He was an accomplished athlete. He played basketball his freshman year at his alma mater, Rutgers University, until an injury kept him from playing longer. He had a lifelong passion for golf. He was a long-time member of Mt. Hawley Country Club in Peoria. He was no less passionate a sports fan, with a particular love of the Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, and Green Bay Packers.
While born in the East, Jack settled comfortably in the Midwest. He received a masters degree in management from Purdue University. And he loved spending as much time as possible in Door County.
Jack worked as an executive at Caterpillar, Inc. for over 30 years, retiring in 1999 as the leader of purchasing at the company.
Mostly, Jack loved his family. He was married to his best friend Gayle for over 58 years. He was extremely proud of his sons and was always thrilled to spend time with them and, later, their wives and his grandchildren. He passed on his love of sports to his four sons, and he relished teaching and coaching them along in their own athletic pursuits. His best days were with family, reading a book, arguing about politics or sports, and sharing a glass of red wine with those he loved.
Visitation will be Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the church where Jack was a member, the First Federated Church in Peoria. Funeral services will be Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 at 10 a.m. at the church. Rev. Dr. Forrest Krummel will officiate. Davison-Fulton Woolsey-Wilton Funeral Home in Peoria is in charge of arrangements.
Burial with Military Honors will be Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, at 11 a.m. at Chapel Hill West Cemetery in Oakbrook Terrace, Il.
Memorials may be made to the Salvation Army. Jack's parents were both Salvation Army officers. You may view Jack's obituary online at