Portland icon Bill Porter remembered for his determination

Portland door-to-door salesman legend Bill Porter celebrates Christmas at 80 years old.
Portland door-to-door salesman legend Bill Porter celebrates Christmas at 80 years old. Image courtesy of KATU News.

GRESHAM, Ore. – Bill Porter was the salesman with cerebral palsy whose life story was made into an inspirational Emmy award-winning movie.

He died earlier this month from an infection at the age of 81.

William H. Macy played Porter in the 2002 movie "Door to Door."

On Friday people paid their last respects at Porter's funeral at St. Henry Parish. One of those who eulogized him was Shelly Brady, his longtime caregiver.

"Everywhere we went, he would make a new friend and he would see a potential customer," Brady said.

Porter didn’t let his handicap stop him even when people told him he was unemployable and would never work. He pressed forward despite what they said and became a salesman for JR Watkins Company after several rejections. He walked door to door for almost seven miles a day for 50 years.

"This 'unemployable' man ended up not only a successful salesman, but the No. 1 salesman for Watkins," Brady said.

Brady has written a bestselling book about Porter's life called "10-things I've learned about Bill Porter."

One of those 10 things is that you can overcome almost any challenge with will, persistence and courage.