Theressa Lewis Porter was born on November 20, 1934, as the youngest of fifteen children born to Willie Lewis, Sr. and Rebecca Walker Lewis in Downsville, McLennan County, Texas.
Theressa began her education in Rosenthal Public Schools before she and her family moved to Waco. She attended A.J. Moore High School and was lettered in the school’s women’s basketball team as a guard. She and her high school basketball team are in the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in Waco. In May 1956, Theressa graduated from A.J. Moore High School and was the only person in her immediate family to complete this major accomplishment.
While in high school, Theressa was a cashier at a local skating rink on Hillsboro Drive. It was here some friends introduced her to Julius B. Porter. She and Julius became high school sweethearts and inevitably got married on August 25, 1956. To this blessed union, three children were born: Juliana (LaThrese), Danna, and Cedrick, Sr.
After high school, Theressa became a member of the Social Belle’s Club and attended Cresson’s Cosmetology School in Austin, TX. She then owned and managed her own beauty salon in Waco for several years before occasionally working from home later in life. She also worked as a Jail Unit Clerk at the Waco City Jail before retiring after twenty-two years of service. Knowing she had the gift of creativity and entrepreneurship, Theressa founded, owned, and operated “Tree’s Hats”, in which she created original church hats and bridal headpieces of various designs and styles that were ahead of their time. This endeavor was very popular and successful. Through these careers, Theressa had a strong work ethic and enjoyed serving other people.
Theressa was a member of Greater Mt. Olive Baptist Church for sixty-five years where she was an active, faithful, and supportive member until her transition to Glory. Throughout her time here, she was a Deaconess and served as Vice President and Treasurer, oversaw the candidates for baptismal, sang in the Gospel Chorus and Sanctuary Choirs, facilitated the recognition of the senior citizen's members, and other areas in the church where she felt needed her warm and inclusive help. Theressa never met a stranger and made sure you ate well at her home. She always took care of others, rarely thinking of herself, and gave each person her many pearls of wisdom. She never missed an opportunity to say a kind word of encouragement. Theressa was always joyful, smiling, and unashamed to let others know what the Lord did for her. Absolutely loved everyone, especially her family by showering people with hugs and kisses. Theressa was always praising and worshipping the Lord in public and at home, even until her last days.
Preceding her in death were her parents and fourteen brothers and sisters. She leaves behind to cherish her memory, her loving husband of 65 years, Julius B. Porter; two daughters, Juliana Williams and Danna (Robert, Sr.) Bell both of Waco; one son, Cedrick Porter, Sr. of Waco; three granddaughters, Jessica (Darnald, Jr.) Kimble of Houston, Angel (Rashad) Robinson of Dallas, and Jordanna Porter of Killeen; three grandsons, Cedrick (Samantha) Porter, Jr. and Jeremy Williams both of Waco, and Robert (RJ) Bell, Jr. of Dallas; two great-granddaughters, Lilah Porter of Waco and Avery Robinson of Dallas; a devoted niece, Darlene Lewis of Austin; a devoted nephew, Raphael Robinson of Dallas; and a host of other nieces, nephews, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, other relatives, her church family, and friends.
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