Harry Clayton Portwood

of Hunt, TX

April 29, 1947 - January 28, 2024

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Harry Clayton Portwood, 76, of Hunt, Texas, passed away suddenly on January 28, 2024 at his home. Born in Fort Worth, Texas to Charles Wayne Portwood and Mary Josephine Emmons Portwood on April 29, 1947, he married Laura Steeples on August 1, 1970 in Walnut Creek, California.

He graduated from Fort Worth's Arlington Heights High School in 1965, Texas Christian University (B.S., 1969) and the University of Kentucky (M.S., 1973). He served as a church organist, taught physics at St. John's School from 1978 to 1982, worked as an Exxon geophysicist, and returned to St. John's in 1993 as a physics and astronomy teacher.

A dedicated teacher and mentor, he received numerous awards at St. John's and Exxon. Among his proudest accomplishments was his role in establishing the observatory at Camp Honey Creek upon his retirement in 2006. But his lifelong passion was music. Talented on the piano, organ, and cornet, he also enjoyed membership in the Lexington Singers. His most recent projects were sharing his cornet and piano with his grandchildren and organizing his vast music collection for future generations.

He was preceded in death by his parents and brother Donald Wayne Portwood. Survivors include his wife Laura, of Hunt, daughters Mary Elizabeth ''Ellie'' McVicar (Josiah) and Martha Amanda Barrow (Justin), and grandchildren Elias Remington McVicar, Dodge Hummel McVicar, Margaret Josephine Barrow, Laura Jane Barrow, and Juliet Winifred Barrow, all of Houston.

Memorials may be given to the Hill Country Youth Ranch, the Dietert Center, the Riverside Nature Center or the charity of choice.

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7 Condolence(s)
Alice Russo
Seattle, WA
Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Condolences for your loss.
I feel very fortunate to have had Mr. Portwood as my physics teacher at SJS over 20 years ago. I remember his kindness as well as his talent for drawing excellent diagrams and patiently explaining the physics problems. He gave me encouraging words that helped me along when I was struggling with the material.

Leanna Petronella
Austin, TX
Monday, February 12, 2024

I was in Mr. Portwood's advisory back in 1999-2001 at St. Johns and he was my physics teacher. He was an AMAZING teacher -- he could make things so clear. I was a bit intimidated by physics and the related math, but he made it so logical and practical. I remember him as the nicest man, too, with a sweet sense of humor. Condolences to his wife and daughters.

Tracy Calabrese
Houston, TX
Thursday, February 8, 2024

Laura, I saw Harry’s obituary in the Houston Chronicle. I’m so sorry for your loss and hoping the wonderful memories sustain you.

Becky Loper
Houston, TX
Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Carl & I are saddened to hear about Harry's passing. He was a genuine inspiration to so many people, and he was easily approachable for conversation about any topic. I remember running into him several times @ Kroger's on 11th St~~grocery shopping with coupons in hand while all the fellas were watching a football game @ Jimmie's Place in the Heights. We would stop & chat about the economy, food pricing & his love of music. He was such a talented & intelligent friend who was kind & considerate of others. May the angels gently carry him to Heaven. Sincere condolences to his family. Becky & Carl Loper

Dan Seilheimer, MD
Bellaire, TX
Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Laura- I have fond memories of my time with you and Harry in the AHHS Yellow Jacket Band. He was one of the best musicians in the band. I am sorry for the sudden loss you and your family have experienced. My sincerest condolences to you. Dan

Kerry Maxey
Humble, TX
Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Laura, I was sad to hear about Harry's passing. Best wishes to you and your family.

Tom & Carolyn Paul
Houston, TX
Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Ellie we are so sorry to hear about your father's death.