Peggy Hunter Port, 77, died on January 4, 2021, more than fourteen years after her initial surgery and diagnosis of ovarian cancer. As a wife, mother, and friend, Peggy is remembered for her authentic and independent personality, her keen intelligence, her warmth, and her wit.
Peggy was born on January 16, 1943 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, the only child of Robert Cater Hunter and Beatrice DeFord Hunter. Her parents preceded her in death. Peggy graduated summa cum laude from Arkansas State University, where she was honored by inclusion in Who’s Who in American Universities & Colleges and chosen as the outstanding student in her department, university beauty, and homecoming royalty representative. Peggy was an officer in student government and her Chi Omega sorority. She excelled in intercollegiate debate and oratory. By reason of her interest in State politics, she co-founded the Young Republicans organization on the University campus and served as an intern for State Senator Jerry Bookout and as a campaign analyst for Governor Winthrop Rockefeller. She later earned a Master of Science degree from The University of Texas School of Public Health, where she co-authored a published text on fetal alcohol syndrome.
During the ‘60s and early ‘70s, Peggy was a stewardess with Delta Airlines, an entry career that she described as the way to be a female Huck Finn . . . “to travel freely and see the world.” In her later years, she was a gifted artist, known for her layered, textured, and sensually-colored abstract paintings, which have been exhibited in galleries throughout the South and in Europe. Her work is included in many corporate and private collections.
Peggy was a compassionate, courageous, and accomplished woman, who contributed to the community through board and volunteer service for The Art League of Houston, The Houston Women’s Home, and The Houston Area Women’s Center and as a volunteer leader of the Inner City Outings program of the Sierra Club. As a tireless champion of her children throughout their academic years, she designed and presented the original Art a la Carte program at St. Francis School. She served as a director of The Blanton-Davis Ovarian Cancer Research Program at MD Anderson Cancer Center, through which she also spoke to medical school students and resident physicians in an effort to raise their awareness of ovarian cancer.
Peggy is survived by her best friend and loving husband of 53 years, Paul Allan Port, and by her cherished children, Paul Hunter Port and Margaret (“Maggie”) DeFord Port, of Houston. She is also survived by her brother-in-law, the Rev. Charles Christopher, his daughters, Shannon and Megan, and by beloved aunts, uncles, cousins, and dear friends. Her cousins Jasper Eugene Hunter and Jerry Hunter were as brothers. Peggy’s devotion to her husband and children was preeminent in her life and she will be greatly missed by them.
Peggy’s family is grateful for the generous love and support of her many friends during this difficult time. Peggy wished to extend special thanks to the doctors and staff at MD Anderson Cancer Center and to Drs. Pedro Ramirez and Terri Pustilnik, her beloved and caring surgeons.
In accordance with Peggy’s wishes, her family will gather for a private interment at Glenwood Cemetery. Her favorite charity was The Blanton-Davis Ovarian Cancer Research Program, MD Anderson Cancer Center, P.O. Box 4486, Houston, Texas 77210-4486.