The Heroines

Louise Marie Anderson Porter

is honored with a Medium Paver from Dr. Barry L. and Jane P. Murphy.

 Louise Marie Anderson Porter Louise Marie Anderson was born in Lindsborg, Kansas, on September 19, 1917. Her parents were Frederick Ephraim and Agnes Elvin Anderson whose parents were Swedish immigrants. When Louise was an infant, the family moved to a farm in the Lund community near Dresden in the area of Oberlin, Kansas. Louise and her family were active in the Lund Covenant Church where she was confirmed. The church was very important to the family. It was the spiritual as well as social center of their lives.

The move to the western Kansas farm was difficult for Louise's family. They did not have electricity and conveniences on the farm that they had had in Lindsborg, and they lived there during the years of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl.

Louise attended Excelsior Grade School near their farm. She and her brother and sister and neighbor children walked to school. The nearest high school about ten miles away in Oberlin, was too great a distance for a daily commute so Louise lived in a rented room in Oberlin during the school week. Her parents would take her to Oberlin on Sunday with enough food to last until they picked her up on the following weekend.

After graduating from high school, Louise began teaching school. During the summers, she and her school teacher friends would take summer school classes at Ft. Hays State University, Emporia State University, and the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. Louise taught school at several central Kansas towns including Oberlin and Junction City.

On September 9, 1945, Louise married Walter Haucke Porter, and they settled on a farm near Council Grove, Kansas. He taught vocational agriculture and she taught grade school until the arrival of their first child, Jane Marie Porter, in 1948. Their second child, Richard Walter Porter, was born in 1950. Their youngest child, Jon Frederick Porter, passed away at about two weeks of age in 1954.

In 1958, Louise and Walter Porter purchased and moved to the Miller Ranch in northern Lyon County, Kansas. This farming and ranching operation consisted of raising and marketing crops and cattle. In 1972, the Porters were one of six couples named Kansas Master Farmer and Homemaker by Kansas State University.

Louise was actively involved in teacher organizations, Delta Kappa Gamma teachers sorority, Parent Teacher Association, and the school board of Northern Heights High School. She was an officer and teacher in the Miller United Methodist Church. She was also active in 4-H, Girl Scouts, Federated Women's Clubs, Business and Professional Women's Club, Extension Service, the Emporia Chamber of Commerce, and Kansas Republican Women.

Her community involvement led to an interest in politics. Louise Porter was elected to the Kansas State Senate and served for six years from 1964 to 1970. During her term she represented the 12th District which included Chase, Lyon, Marion, and Morris counties. After her election, "The Emporia Gazette" wrote, "Voters recognized Mrs. Porter's intelligence, drive, eloquence and knowledge of issues during the campaign and gave her a clear victory in the general election."

Louise Porter was the only woman in the Kansas Senate at the time. Her committee assignments included the Education, Agriculture, Public Health, Reapportionment, and Federal and State Affairs Committees. She also served on the State Vocational and Rehabilitation Board and the Board of Trustees of Youthville at Newton.

After Louise left the legislature, she continued to be involved in the community and in the family farming and ranching business. She and her husband traveled and enjoyed their friends and family. Louise passed away unexpectedly in her sleep on August 24, 1980 at only 62 years of age.

After her death, Ray Call of "The Emporia Gazette" wrote, "Mrs. Porter was an excellent Senator. She took the job seriously, studied issues thoroughly and made wise decisions. As the only woman in the Senate at that time, she also brought grace and beauty into the legislative sessions. Because Mrs. Porter was intelligent and articulate, fellow senators paid attention to what she said."

Another journalist, Don McNeal, of "The Council Grove Republican" wrote, "She had that special, quiet touch that accomplished so much... with kindness and without antagonizing or damaging feelings. It was this beauty of person and of personality that was always present as she held to the right way of doing things. That same considerate touch established her, without its being intentionally designed, as one of the leaders in the Kansas State Senate."

In recognition of Louise's longtime interest in the education of young people, a permanently endowed scholarship fund in her honor was established at Emporia State University. Income from the scholarship fund provides annual scholarships for Kansas students majoring in elementary education. First preference is given to students with financial need.

Nearly eighteen years have elapsed between the time of Louise's death and this tribute for the Plaza of Heroines. People who knew Louise continue to contact members of her family to tell them how much they thought of her, respected her, and liked her. She is loved and missed by all who knew her.

Louise's daughter, Jane Murphy, lives in Wichita. Her son, Richard Porter, farms and ranches near Miller, Kansas. Louise's grandchildren are Ryan Porter, a student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Eric and Ruth Porter, students at Pembroke Hill School; John Murphy, a graduate of St. Olaf College and student at Kansas University Medical Center; and Mark David Murphy, a student at Wichita State University who is the WSU connection to Louise Porter's honor in the Plaza of Heroines.

Submitted with love by Jane Porter Murphy, daughter

September 12, 1998