Andy’s Newspaper column archive
Who is C. W. Porty? ©
First a correction. In my previous column it was Cookie Westphal that complained about Dave Richards creating a hostile work environment, not Peggy Warner.
What happened to C W Porty? Where is he now? This story begins with a call from a friend in California. It went something like this: Andy, I have someone in Chino that may want to move to Pahrump. Can you help me with some information about the town. He’s retired and living on Social security. Can he find an inexpensive place, maybe an apartment to rent?
A few conversations later CW decided to move here with all his worldly possessions. He showed up in Pahrump one 100+ degree afternoon with a man and a woman who drove his 26 foot Uhaul truck here. Although he had been a Commercial 18 Wheel Truck Driver, he could not drive the smaller Uhaul. CW could not help, the driver could not work more than a few minutes at a time due to the heat, so his wife and I unloaded the truck in to a storage unit.
CW’s plan was to stay in a hotel for a couple of weeks while he found a place to live. Based on the best plans of mice and men I found him a place quickly and two days later I helped a small crew empty the storage unit and he got settled in his new digs.
CW was an interesting guy. He was raised as a child on a dairy in Artesia California and had limited schooling because he had to help on the dairy. His entire life was involved with the dairy industry in Artesia and Chino. He worked in every facet and for a time drove truck H O Kruse Milling Company.
I must admit, he definitely knew his way around the dairy business and he had some interesting ideas about running a dairy more efficiently and more environmentally desirable. I had an idea about a business related to dairies and he was involved in educating me about dairies and their owners. Although I had a working knowledge of dairies it was CW who provided the information that expanded my understanding.
I became his closest friend and confidant in Pahrump. I would take him to the mens breakfast, shopping and encourage him in the areas of better health and self sufficiency. It was a challenge since he was a big man and having difficulty walking after hip surgery and in general just getting around. We cannot turn our back on friends and those in need. That’s not to say I’m a soft touch but he did want to go back to work and he was trying. It’s someone like that I am always willing to help.
At home, 7:00 am, several years later I received a phone call. The caller asked, “Do you know a Mr Porty? He passed away last night and the Sheriff is here.” I got a few details and drove to his apartment. Two weeks before this, CW had called to tell me he had been to the doctor and was told he only had the use of 30% of his heart. A result of taking pills to keep him awake and alert, while he was driving a truck, had damaged his heart. He could barely walk to the sink to wash dishes without tiring. He was going to go for more tests to see what could be done.
Obviously there is more to this and here it is. What happens to you when you die and there is no will, no family member of record and no one to claim your remains? I contacted the friend in California who gave me some additional contacts to see if I could locate a relative. I eventually left a message for his daughter but was never contacted. The Funeral home told me that if no one claimed him he would be kept in a cooler for 30 days. If he still remained unclaimed, his remains would be cremated. After that, if he was still unclaimed, sitting on a shelf for two years, his ashes would be disbursed in the garden behind the funeral home.
I was his friend. This didn’t seem right. His daughter refused to make a claim and so there he sat. I knew his deep love for the dairies and felt it would be his wish to have his ashes spread out at a dairy. I was informed that Shirley Trummel at County human resources had control of the body and was the only one who could release him to me.
I called. No response. I sent an Email. An assistant responded with what amounted to no response. I then noticed them that when I call Mrs. Trummel I expected to talk to her directly. Someone needed to pay respects to my dead friend, a relative, someone close. Well she called me the next day and I asked if I could collect the remains. I was told she would check with the District Attorney. This was now getting out of control. The Funeral home said I could take possession after two years but after asking if he could be released earlier it became not so true. Mrs Trummel informed me the DA said it was up to the Funeral home. I emailed her asking for a written response from the DA. This, after all is the last remains of a man. He did have me as a friend and still does. He ain’t gone yet. True to form Mrs Trummel, not subject to election, Public servant has not communicated anything more. It has
been over two weeks since I had been informed by Mrs. Trummel that it is up to the funeral home. They say they cannot release.
Now I am told the owner of the Funeral Home says it is three years and no release. It was two years but now it’s three. Maybe I’ll tire of this or also pass on and this pain in the ass will go away. They don’t know me very well.
What the hell is this. Everyone is too busy to document their response in writing, no answers are consistent and my friend CW sits on the shelf, an ash football, tossed around by those who have a cavalier attitude, yet have responsibility for him.
I know they have not had a request like this before and that is why I needed a written opinion from the DA.
Damn right I am his friend and damn well expect those in public service to act as if they care. I certainly do. Maybe it is time for a policy on proper disposal and respect of those rejected by family and still cared about by someone. In closing I do have a few of the Emails on this subject and I can publish them. Never quit is my philosophy. You haven’t heard the last about this.