Alice James

Alice Linda Mar Porter "Lindy" James

Sunday, July 5th, 2020
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Alice Linda Mar Porter “Lindy” James passed away on July 5, 2020 at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, MT, where she was born, on June 10, 1942.
Lindy was an ideal mother of two sons and a second mom to many; a loving daughter, sister, wife, aunt, grandmother and mother-in-law and a lifelong musician who played the viola as beautifully as she sang soprano. She shared those gifts with many in her private voice studio, as an elementary and junior high music and orchestra teacher and Episcopal Church choir director. She was a mentor and friend to her students and fellow singers and musicians and a visionary cofounder of the Glacier Symphony and Orchestra in Kalispell, MT. In recent years she occasionally joined her son Bill in his elementary school music classroom in Oregon – a gift to each other and to Bill’s students.
As a child growing up on Beverly Avenue a block away Bonner Park in Missoula Lindy was active in the University of Montana (UM) Ballet Theater and in choir, orchestra, The Konah newspaper and Spartanaires at Missoula County H.S. Her childhood friends were her lifelong friends. The annual gathering of the “Birthday Girls” - friends from Paxson Elementary School and others from high school and college who began gathering the year they all turned 50, continues to this day. As a student at the UM she studied voice and was active in Opera Workshop with John Lester and met her future husband, Doug James. At UM she was also a member of the Jubileers choral ensemble led by Joe Musselman and was a proud 50 year member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. She graduated from the UM in 1964.
Also in 1964 she married Doug at Holy Spirit Episcopal Church in Missoula. Two years later she and Doug moved with son Dan to Hoquiam, WA, where Bill was born. As a young mother, elementary school teacher and Doug’s artistic partner Lindy coproduced several musical productions at Hoquiam High School. It was in Hoquiam that Lindy first began teaching voice.
In 1971 Lindy moved back to Western Montana with her young family, first to Libby, later settling in Kalispell. Shortly after the move she and Doug bought 10 acres on Silver Butte Fisher River, a place that she always treasured.
In Kalispell Lindy taught music at St. Matthews Catholic School, established and grew her voice studio, assisted with ensembles and musical productions at Flathead High School and directed the choir at Christ Church Episcopal. She was also a member of Chapter AB of P.E.O. After she and Doug divorced she went back to the classroom and taught elementary and junior high orchestra. She later married Gene Atherton and on retirement moved permanently to her home on Flathead Lake in Big Arm, MT – a lifelong dream come true.
Over the last two decades Lindy spent much time in Portland, OR with her sons and nephew and their young families. She was an active member of both St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Polson, MT (where she directed the choir) and Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland. In 2014 she traveled with Dan and his family in England, France, Italy and the Czech Republic and was an enthusiastic church choir groupie with Dan’s Trinity choir during its residency in Bristol, England.
Lindy is survived by her husband Gene Atherton and sister Margaret Ann (Porter) Morris (Cliff) of Big Arm, and; son Bill (Eve) and their children Daniel, Linda and Kenneth, son Dan (Becky) and their daughters Katie and Julia, and nephew Jeff (Amy) and their sons Benjamin and Theodore – all of Portland. She was preceded in death by her parents Florence Irene (Yarbrough) Porter and Dr. Marvin Buck Porter, brother Joe Gilbert Porter and her first husband Douglas Meade James.
Mother, sister, daughter, grandmother, aunt, mother-in-law, niece, cousin, wife and friend. Soprano, violist, mentor, teacher, director and volunteer. Lindy’s legacy is as beautiful as it is immense.
Lindy’s family has established a scholarship for graduates of Flathead or Glacier High Schools who intend to continue the study of music or theater in college, but not necessarily major in those fields. If you wish, please make checks payable to: Kalispell School District #5 James Family Memorial Scholarship and mail to: DA Davidson, PO Box 128 Kalispell, MT 59903. Lindy’s arrangements were under the care of Garden City Funeral Home.
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Mary Thane

Posted at 11:47pm
I remember your mom being my music teacher in grade school at St. Matthews. She was such a ray of sunshine and brought life to our music class. May you hold many fond memories of your mother/grandmother in your heart that guide you through your sorrow. She certainly touched many lives in such positive ways she will not be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers to the James family.

Jim Hann

Posted at 12:27pm
I’m so glad to have Lindy and the James family as such a big part of my life. It was an amazing, fortunate coincidence that we all ended up in in Kalispell together. Since my high school days Doug and Lindy were always so supportive and encouraging to me. Also through college, having Bruce Spencer and me over for dinner after Grizzly football games. Later, Lindy Giving me voice lessons and leading me to Glacier Chorale. I coached at Flathead High while Dan was playing football and Bill and his crew sang at my wedding. I’m thankful to you all.

I remember going by the music room at the Jr High and listening to the screechy, scratchy violins and violas at the beginning of the school year and hearing them turn into an orchestra by Christmas. I even got to sing with them at one of their concerts.

Imagine how many lives have been enhanced by the life she led. What a great legacy she has left us with her teaching, Glacier Orchestra and Chorale and her family. Every time I sing I hope I can honor Lindy and her contribution to me. She was a special person and it is a sad time, but a time to celebrate a great life.

Jim Smithwick-Hann

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