Nolan Porterfield, author, journalist, educator and broadcaster, died
May 18, 2020. Although born in Colorado in 1936, at age six he moved with his Texan parents
to Texas and always claimed the Lone Star State as home.
Porterfield received the B.A. and M.A. degrees from Texas Tech University and the PH.D from the
University of Iowa.
In the 1950’s, he worked in newspaper production and advertising, with the Denver City (TX) Press, the Gallup (NM)
Daily Independent, the Chicago Tribune and the Lamesa (TX) Daily Reporter, where he served as the
state’s youngest daily newspaper publisher.
In the military, he was stationed at Fifth U.S. Army Headquarters, where he was awarded the Army Commendation
Medal for meritorious service.
Beginning in 1964, he was associated with Southeast Missouri State University for thirty-one years, retiring
as Professor Emeritus of English and Writer in Residence. He also taught and lectured at the
Ohio State University, Stephen F. Austin University, the University of Texas, and, in England, King’s University,
the University of Exeter, and the University of Liverpool.
Porterfield published five books, including the novel, A Way of Knowing, and two biographies, as well as
many short stories and articles in national magazines. He is best known for Jimmie Rodgers: The Life and Times
of America’s Blue Yodeler, the biography of the “Father of Country Music,” which has been in print constantly
since its publication in 1979.
His literary awards included the ASCAP/Deems Taylor Award and two awards from the Texas Institute of Letters,
one for Best Novel of the Year and one for Best Non-Fiction Book of the Year.
His final project was to have been a fictional thriller set in his beloved Texas.
He was producer and host of “Old Scratchy Records” on WKU Public Radio, and he is represented
in many anthologies and encyclopedia entries.
His book and record reviews appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers. He was a member of the
Authors Guild, Association for Recorded Sound Collections, American
Folklore Society, Texas Folklore Society, and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bowling Green.
He is survived by his beloved wife of thirty-nine years, Erika Brady and a daughter, Kelly Porterfield of Granite Shoals,
Cremation was chosen, and a memorial service will be held at a later date.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the J.C. Kirby and Son Lovers Lane Chapel.
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