Monday, May 27, 2024


John R. Humphrey, 94

John Robert Humphrey of Portland, Oregon, a former Westport resident, died Oct. 17 at home.. He was 94.

Born in Wausau, Wisconsin, John was the son of the late Howell Harris and Florence (McLay) Humphrey and the brother of the late Robert McLay Humphrey and David McLay Humphrey.

John and Nancy raised their children in Wisconsin, Texas, and Connecticut, where he worked for American Can Company and James River Corporation, before retiring to Massachusetts and finally Oregon.

They were active members of the United Methodist Church in Westport and later were founding members of Grace Community Church in Walpole, Massachusetts.

Upon graduation from Wausau High School, John joined the Army Air Force, studied meteorology at the University of Chicago and served in the Pacific Theater during World War II.

Following the war, John graduated from the University of Wisconsin and Harvard Business School and began his career with Marathon Corporation in Neenah, Wisconsin, where he met Nancy.

John will be remembered fondly for his passions, including traveling, singing, bicycling, and most especially skiing. He began as a ski jumper, raced for the University of Wisconsin, and was an early and nearly annual visitor to Aspen, Colorado.

John patiently taught his wife and children the sport that he loved, and skied regularly well into his 80s.

An engineer by inclination and training, he believed that almost any problem could be solved with resourcefulness, perseverance, and a good night’s sleep. His boundless curiosity, understated humor, and creative ingenuity worked together to produce remarkable results.

John was a rare combination of resolute integrity and infinite love and warmth. He will be most remembered for his kind and gentle spirit, his love and devotion to family, his strength of character, his gracious compassion, and his enduring faith.

John was predeceased by his wife of 64 years, Nancy (Lane) Humphrey and leaves behind his sisters, Helen (Humphrey Sawyer) Schonberger and Margaret Florence Humphrey, both of Friday Harbor, Washington, as well as his children, Jean Humphrey (and husband, John Donahue) of Harare, Zimbabwe; David Humphrey (and wife, Rachel) of Portland, Oregon; Peter Humphrey of San Francisco; and Ann Humphrey (and husband, Douglas Whitla) of Medfield, Massachusetts.
John adored his grandchildren, Mark, Peter, and Sarah Donahue; Johnny, Daniel, Anna, and Noah Humphrey; Django Palty; Max Boyd; and Stuart and Lane Whitla.

Donations can be made in John’s memory to Grace Community Boston, 28 Gould St., Walpole, MA 02081.

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