William C. Porter

My favorite book is Michener’s Centennial. I like an author who can draw you into history through family lines stretching over decades or, better, centuries. I even commissioned artist Detha Phillips from Sedona to do three big oil paintings of scenes from Centennial expressly for me back in the late 1970s. They are still among my favorite artwork.

I remember when Lake Havasu City was known officially just as Site Six and why. (The Army Air Force acquired it as an emergency landing during WW II.) Yeah, I’m into historical trivia big time.

I firmly believe in non illegitimi carborundum (Don’t Let the Bastards Wear You Down).

Other advice I regularly follow: “In dealing with difficult people, it is better to have a camel inside a tent pissing out than outside pissing in”—better to include difficult people rather than exclude them. And: “Don’t sweat the small stuff,but always remember that everything is small stuff.”

Once, on my way to Dallas from Houston, I stopped for gas, exited the station back the way I came and drove more than 100 miles before it dawned on me! Dang, I felt dumb! But then I started laughing and couldn’t stop. (I’ve always been able to laugh at myself, and I think maybe that’s a good thing.)

Most people don’t know I’m secretly antisocial as Hell and hate being in crowds!

The first job I ever had was at the age of 10, when I helped set print and ink for the newspaper in Williams. (A really nasty bit of work but worth 25 cents an hour—a lot of money to me!)

The best and worst job I’ve ever had was working as a news radio DJ. There were days I hated it! But it was good for me, as I had to discipline myself to take the bad in order to have the good, and to put up with idiots when necessary.

I became an attorney because I never found anything else I wanted to do more where I could make decent money legally.

My favorite place in Arizona? How can one choose in a state loaded with places like the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Kartchner Caverns and Tonto Natural Bridge State Park (Oh wait! The State Legislature just forced that one to close!).

My least favorite place in Arizona? Easy! The State Legislative buildings in Phoenix.

The scariest thing that’s ever happened to me took place while I served in Vietnam. I had to keep a helicopter in the air (with no notion whatsoever of how to land it) after the pilot was knocked senseless by a seagull. Only one Army JAG officer was killed in Vietnam, but, for about half an hour, I was pretty sure there were going to be three more that day (September 17, 1970; you don’t forget the date of something that spooky!).

I fell in love with How the West Was Won way back in the 1960s. But maybe the most moving, emotional, touching movie for me was an obscure little piece, 1995’s The Cure. It was about a young boy dying from AIDS and befriended by an older teen who becomes determined to save him. I get tears in my eyes just thinking about it. Darn! Don’t tell anyone I cry in the movies, but it does happen occasionally.

History has taught me that it repeats itself over and over. Confucius supposedly said, “Study the past, if you would divine the future.”


William C. Porter, Attorney

A criminal defense attorney in Phoenix, Arizona, William C. Porter is also one of the founders of the Powerhouse Gang that preserved the 1909 Kingman powerhouse, converting the structure into the Route 66 Museum. He has also served on the board of the Mohave County Historical Society since 1977. As a founding member of Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice, he has raised $1.2 million for local nonprofit organizations. In 1994, he reorganized the Arizona History Convention so that it now provides an annual forum for state researchers and a common meeting ground for historic preservation.

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