Cress Art Paint Custom

Philip H. Porter

January 18, 1946 ~ January 3, 2022 (age 75)


Philip H. Porter

 Phil Porter, age 75, passed away on January 3, 2022. He was born January 18, 1946, to John and Jane (Bleyer) Porter in Madison. Due to his developmental needs, he was sent to live at Wisconsin’s Southern Colony, where he spent his formative years. At age 21, he moved back to Madison, and, in Phil’s words, “I got the last laugh. I made it out of the institution, but the workers are still there.”  For the past 30 years Phil has lived in the local community with support from the caring staff at Options in Community Living, an organization serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Phil was an active member of the congregation of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, where he would bring cookies for the church fellowship gathering.

Phil is best known for his art, which started as a hobby and became his passion. His use of vibrant colors depicting sunrises (often with multiple suns), vintage cars, pink elephants and familiar buildings around Madison (many designed by his great grandfather Lew F. Porter) brings joy to the viewers. Under the sponsorship of Arts for All, Phil had the opportunity to share his art at the Madison Art Fair On The Square for more than 40 years.  Under ArtWorking, Phil honed his artistic skill and developed his self-supporting art business. When asked about his art, Phil said, “I think I am the art, not the artist.”

Phil’s extraordinary life has led him to be profiled in newspapers, magazines, television, and a documentary film. His contributions to the culture in Madison have far surpassed the expectations for a child with special needs born in the 1940’s.   

Phil and his family would like to thank his many mentors, supporters, and friends.  So many people have contributed to his success and have enjoyed his astute observations on life over a slice of pie and coffee. In addition to the fine people in the organizations above he owes much to his friends Patty, Gary, Mary Jo, Matt, Sue, Rita, Brian, Liz, Michael, Becki, Hillary, Joel, and so many others.

He is predeceased by his parents John and Jane Porter, and his brother John Porter, II.  He is survived by his sister, Elizabeth (Tim) Skszek (Saline, MI), his brother Andrew Porter (Stoughton, WI) and his nephews, grand-nephews, uncle, and many cousins. 

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Arts for All, ArtWorking, Options in Community Living, and St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.

 Please share your memories at

Cress Funeral & Cremation Service

3610 Speedway Road  Madison

(608) 238-3434

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