A bench might sound like a curious memorial for an active advocate of children.
But for those who remember longtime Port Orchard resident Alice Rosengren-Porter, it is a fitting tribute.
“The joke with the bench is that Alice was always was looking for a place to sit down,” said Erin Simon, who is the volunteer coordinator at Mullenix Ridge Elementary School. “Now, she’s going to have her place to rest.”
Friends often used another word to describe Rosengren-Porter — tireless. Rosengren-Porter, who died April 24 and will be honored during a celebration of life from 4:30-6:30 p.m. May 27 at the South Kitsap School District Administrative Office, immersed herself in the district.
She was on the board of directors for the Mullenix Ridge PTA and SKSD’s PTSA council. In addition, Rosengren-Porter served on the Washington State PTA Region 1 Service Delivery Team in multiple capacities. She also chaired the WSPTA Reflections art program at the local, council and region level and supported students throughout the district to get their artwork recognized.
Simon noted that the arts often does not receive the same level of attention as academics and athletics. She believed that was part of the appeal to Rosengren-Porter. Without going into details, she said Rosengren-Porter had a difficult childhood and came from limited financial means.
“She took each one of those [experiences] to connect and help other people,” Simon said. “She really advocated for the underserved.”
Rosengren-Porter spent part of her career as a welder at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. She later brought that detailed, blue-collar background to her volunteer work for the district.
“She was just one of those people who if there was a job to be done, she rolled up her sleeves and got it done,” Simon said.
Rosengren-Porter had a simple motto she used to end all correspondence: “Always for kids.”
The celebration of life, which will be an open-house format, will attempt to encompass that. SKSD’s PTSA councilmembers will collect stories, memories and photos to assemble a memory book for Rosengren-Porter’s seven grandchildren. Submissions can be sent via email to Simon at email@example.com.
“We want them to have a picture of their grandmother and the impact she had on this community,” Simon said.
Donations also can be made for a memorial bench, plaque and memory book to: SK PTSA Council, 2689 Hoover Ave SE, Port Orchard WA 98366. Simon said the project to purchase and install a memory bench and a plaque, which will be located at the district’s administrative office, will cost about $750.
“I just want to pay tribute to this woman who dedicated her energy to try and make things better for kids,” she said.