When the Northumberland County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution of appreciation for Porter Kier, it did what many of his friends had wanted to do but he had resisted. It marked his departure from the county after 30 years of residence. Kier had stoutly refused to be involved in any good-bye parties or similar things. He went along with the resolution because Larry Bahl asked him to.
Bahl, who knew Kier as a neighbor rather than through the organizations Kier worked with, had suggested the resolution to County Administrator Kenny Eades and then told Kier about it.
“It’s something that’s been done by a friend and as a friend you need to be there to accept it,” Bahl said he insisted to Kier.
Kier and his wife, Mary, feeling age encroaching on them, were leaving the county to live closer to their son in North Carolina.
Bahl, like everybody else, pointed out Kier’s deep modesty. Before retirement, he was the Director of the National Museum of Natural History but “I never learned any of that from him,” Earline Walker said.
If Kier did say anything about that job it would be to tell you how important the job was. “The director I replaced was dead at his desk for three days before anybody noticed,” he’d say.
Former Northumberland County Public Library director, Jayne McQuade, said Kier was the first person she met when she was seeking the post. He was head of the search committee. “All he said was he had worked at the Smithsonian,” she recalled.
Kier had been a volunteer at the library since the days when it was wedged into two rooms at the end of the school board building in Lottsburg. Even then, he enthused about what a good little library it was. He was a sparkplug in getting the library in Heathsville built.
“He’d do anything for the library, Walker said. “I went to meet him there one day and asked where he was. The lady at the desk told me he was in the men’s room cleaning it.”
Read more in the July 22 edition of the Northumberland Echo.