Douglas Porter Owen, 67, passed away Thursday, May 18, 2017, at the Owen-Fain family home in Murphy.
Porter was born in Garland, Texas, on Aug. 24, 1949, the first son of the late Alex and Mary Porter Fain Owen. Porter was part of the fifth generation of Fains to live in Cherokee County.
Survivors include his wife, Carla; two children, Walker of Gainesville, Fla., and Lilly, of Bend, Ore.; and four siblings, Allen of San Jose, Calif.; Alex Fain of Monteagle, Tenn.; Martha of Murphy; and Jonathan of Northboro, Mass.
Porter followed the professional path of both of his parents and graduated as a civil engineer from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. After applying his engineering skills, and his machete, building water systems in Honduras as a Peace Corps volunteer, he moved to his grandparents home in Murphy and created a combination of engineering, construction and surveying firms. In addition, he served as the engineer member of the Cherokee County Health Department Board.
He was a perfectionist in everything he did and took great pride in his work. He was especially proud of the suspension bridge his company built over Hurricane Falls at Tallulah Gorge, Ga., a challenge that no other contractor was willing to take on.
Among other things, Porter hiked the Appalachian Trail; he rode his bike across the country; and he was a proud Eagle Scout and went on to help young people as a Scout Master. He was generous and helpful in ways that we may never know.
Porter confessed to a brother years ago that he was born in the wrong century. Porter felt he should have lived on the frontier in the 1800s, where a person could be completely independent and live by his own wit, strength and skills. He loved surveying because it gave him a chance to be in the woods by himself and find, and correct, historical records. In his own words, “I want to be remembered as a tree-hugging redneck.”
Porter read widely and was well known for his provocative opinions on nutrition, healthcare, economics, world history and philosophy, contemporary politics, agricultural practices and the environment. Over the years, he acquired a huge library and was always eager for lively conversation.
Porter was known for his animated style and his vigorous search for truths, which often lay behind conventional assumptions and the status quo. His idealism and sense of family were an inspiration to all who knew him.
A private family ceremony took place Saturday, May 20, at the Fain plot in Sunset Cemetery. Porter was buried in his own handmade casket. A memorial celebration was held Sunday, May 21, at the family home.
Memorial gifts may be made to the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund, 8116 Arlington Blvd., Suite 263, Falls Church, VA 22042.