Nebraska pastor Leo Porter dies

Leo Porter, the founding pastor of Frenchman Valley Baptist Fellowship, Wauneta, Neb., died on Sunday, Aug. 14, surrounded by his family.

He was born May 25, 1934, in Hayes County, Neb. He was raised on the family farm north of Palisade, Neb., and graduated from Curtis Agricultural High School in 1953.

After high school Leo joined the newly formed U.S. Air Force and became a Crew Chief assigned to B-47 Bombers at Lincoln AFB in Nebraska. (During this assignment he met the love of his life and married Onita R. Newman.)

In 1963 he was asked to change to a different aircraft, the C-130 Hercules. He accepted the new assignment and became an air crew member as Flight Engineer on the C-130 until his retirement in December 1973. During this time Leo logged more than 5,000 hours flight time, most of which were combat flying hours over Vietnam.

After his retirement from the Air Force in 1973, they returned to the family farm near Palisade, Neb., and farmed with his father until 1980.
Already a licensed minister, Leo felt the Lord calling him back to the ministry. They moved to Fort Worth, Texas, where he attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

After graduating in 1983, he pastored a church in Wray, Colo., until 1987. He became a Mission Service Corps volunteer for the Southern Baptist Home Mission Board and was assigned to a church in Elk City, Idaho, and served there until 1990. He was also a missionary in Panguitch, Utah, before returning to Nebraska in 1995.

Continuing his Mission Service Corps service as a church planter, he started Frenchman Valley Baptist Church in Wauneta, Neb., in 1996 and stayed to pastor this church until his death.

While pastoring the Wauneta church, Porter also worked at Harchelroad Motors in Wauneta. He retired in February 2015 after working there for 19 years.

Visitation will be held Friday, Aug. 19, from 2-6 p.m. (Mountain Time) at Liewer Funeral Home in Wauneta.

The funeral will be held 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20, (Central Time) at Hamlet Union Church, Hamlet, Neb.