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Yvonne Roy Porter

Yvonne Roy Porter

June 12, 2015

Yvonne Porter, a member of the President’s Office staff for more than two decades, died June 2, 2015, in Saratoga Springs. She was 93.

Born in 1921 in Troy, Yvie was a graduate of Emma Willard School and a proud alumna of Bennington College, where she earned a degree in 1943. Following college she moved to New York City for several years, working at a literary agency and for the Council on Books in Wartime.

Starting in the early 1940s Yvie spent summers in Saratoga Springs with an aunt who lived on Clinton Street, directly across from the current Skidmore campus entrance. In 1960 Yvie and her own family—husband Hoy H. Porter and their three children—moved to Saratoga, where she remained for the rest of her life.

She was an accomplished writer who had several of her short stories published, including in The New Yorker magazine. She read voraciously and was a crossword puzzle maven.

In 1966 Yvie joined the Skidmore staff as an assistant to President Joseph C. Palamountain Jr., writing speeches and drafting correspondence. According to David Marcell, former provost, “Yvie Porter was an elegant, witty, erudite writer who could scribble a citation for an honorary degree, an introduction for a visiting lecturer, occasional remarks for the dedication of a building, or a diplomatic response to a cranky letter for President Palamountain faster than anyone I ever saw.” He said, “She had a sharp eye, and the knack for creating a memorable, appropriate bon mot. Her writing was full of irony and good humor, and she knew and savored Joe’s love for the well-turned phrase. He relied on her creativity and gift for language, and she never let him down. She could imagine and respect Joe’s audience, and helped him with remarks that elevated the occasion and made it all the more memorable.”

Yvie also was worked with first lady Anne Palamountain on a number of initiatives, including the annual polo benefit. Yvie retired in 1988.

She is survived by her children Mary Porter of Houston, Texas, Toby Porter of Saratoga Springs, and Susanna Porter of New York City and by four grandchildren.

During a time when the college experienced historic transitions, Yvonne skillfully helped communicate Skidmore’s story to multiple audiences. 

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