Steven Thomas Porto, “The Gatekeeper”, peacefully and powerfully departed God's good earth at 11:00 pm on November 18, 2023, in Grants Pass, Oregon. He was surrounded by his large loving family, the heavenly sounds of angels, soft music, and the voices of his children singing. Steve was 73 years old. Many people knew him as Steve “The Flower Man” Porto and the driver for Steve’s Taxi. Steven was the second child and second son to Charlotte and Dominic Porto. He was born in Chicago, IL on April 8, 1950. Many saw Steve as a free-spirited hippie, an entrepreneur, and big time lover. He freely left home in his early 20’s pursuing love, purpose and a good life. Steve found his groove in St. Petersburg, FL where he met his wife (former) Rachel Gregoire. They married in 1973, had 8 children and always had a pet or two. They operated a produce stand on 49th Street in Pinellas Park and a delivery service called “Fresh Daily Produce”. In addition, he custom built a mobile produce trailer with a bell attached that beautifully displayed the fresh produce and Steve would tow it to The Downtown Plaza and through local neighborhoods ringing the bell. Instead of ice cream, fresh fruit and veggies. Steve was a visionary and had big dreams. He loved to study the Holy Bible and often quoted Matthew 6:33, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness...”, this became his purpose and he grabbed hold of it. Steve never let go, he was steadfast to the end. Steve worked consistently and spoke intensely about his dream where God's people gather, live, work together in harmony, worship God, steward the earth, and help heal the sick. He named it The Inner Sanctuary Wellness Center | A Place of Belief. Steve was drawn to herbal healing medicine and studied at The School Of Natural Healing in Springville, Utah under the direction of Dr. John R. Christopher in his master herbalist program, he also earned a degree in preventive medicine at Clarity University and became a certified Lymphologist through the International Academy of Lymphology. Steve was passionate about sharing his knowledge of natural and herbal healing for the benefit of all who listened and was committed to using the knowledge, especially in raising his children. Ultimately, it was Steve’s aim to teach his children well and make the world safe for them and generations to come. In 1990, Steve and Rachel moved the family to rural Missouri to put stewardship into practice on a large scale. It was stunning and staggering. Here is where Steve “The Flower Man” Porto emerged and Steve’s Taxi. Two more sons were added to the bunch in 1993 and 1995. Steve had a brilliant mind. A critical thinker and a good listener, Steve had keen insight from which he gave solid advice. He acquired hundreds of books and was always reading. A few favorites that he would talk about were the Conversations with God series by Neal Donald Walsh, The Harbinger book series by Jonathan Cahn, Genesis Revisited by Zecharia Sitchin and especially the Book of Isaiah. Any book that opens the mind and heart to deep contemplation, Steve has read it, multiple times. He enjoyed debating philosophical concepts and pulled you in with pensive questions. There was no small talk with Steve; conversations with him were deep, meaningful and potentially loud. A few minute discussion would turn into a few hours. If you knew Steve, you knew that he did not hold back tears and when he laughed, it was with his whole being. This charming man was a cultivator. He cultivated worthy relationships with people from all walks of life and cultivated organic vegetables in his raised bed gardens. Steve loved nature and his farm in the rural countryside. He was creative with his hands, skilled in woodworking and construction and educated himself in many other areas. He crafted beds, bookshelves, kitchen shelving, home additions, and multiple outdoor structures. He could fix just about anything! Steve was a DIY guy and taught his children his numerous skills. Even though his visions and plans were huge, it was the little moments that Steve found most precious. His modest means did not deter his great generosity nor did he give up hope in his vision and dream. Steve’s heart cared deeply for people and helped in any way he could. Needed help? Steve showed up, with his bright Italian eyes and smile, every time. No one was a stranger to him and his door was always unlocked. All were welcomed in. Nothing compared to Steve's embrace! He thrived the most in the simple pleasures of life such as feasting with family, teaching a child something new, gathering of people, healthy food, gardening, sharing stories, road trips, roller skating with his kids (in the early years), and singing karaoke. Steve would knock your socks off and shake the roof singing Blue Suede Shoes, Love Potion #9, and Backdoor man. He drew in an audience every time. Steve did not place value in possessions. He stored up treasures in Heaven through his good works and always stood up for the name of Jesus. He was so full of life, he did not stop until he was forced to, until Heavenly Father called him home. He had fulfilled his calling here on earth and has now been called higher. He is in Heaven. Just like all who read this Steve was not “perfect” but he strived to do GOOD!! So we say… Well done, Daddy-O! Well done, Pappa! Well done, Dad! Well done, Grandpa! Well done, Brother! Well done, Uncle! Well done, Cousin! Well done, Friend! “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord”. Matt 25:23. Steve is predeceased by his son Cpl. Jonathan Porto and the mother of his two youngest sons, Donna Davis. He is survived by his former wife Rachel (Brian) Bernaby, 5 daughters Rebekah (Aaron) Detrinidad, Stephanie Porto, Sonya (Jeff) Schneider, Emilie Lobnitz, Kristen Porto; 4 sons, Dominic (Drea) Porto, Benjamin (Kristen) Porto, Christopher Porto, Joshua Porto and 17 grandchildren. Steve left behind 2 brothers, Jim (Diane) Porto, Dominic (Terri) Porto; 2 sisters Lisa (Joe) Kraynak, Charlotte (Craig) Laughton, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. He loved each and every one for their own unique talents and personalities and was able to see them at their core. He challenged them to love deeply, work hard, and always think for themselves. The Celebration of Life memorial in honor of Steven T. Porto is February 17, 2024, where his ashes will be buried with his parents at Holy Sepulchre Catholic Cemetery located at 6001 W 111th Street, Alsip, IL.
In lieu of flowers, donations are appreciated. Please consider supporting Steve’s church, Edgewater Christian Fellowship 101 Assembly Cir, Grants Pass, OR 97526 https://edgewaterfellowship.org/ or donations for the family to help cover service costs are welcomed and greatly appreciated. They can be sent through the Gofund-Me account
A very special and humble thank you to the staff members and nursing team at The Bridge Retirement and Assisted Living and Asante Three Rivers Medical Center for your tender loving attention to Steven. Big thank you to Pastor Matt Heverly and Pastor Chris Martinez of Edgewater Christian Fellowship for showing up at the hospital to offer prayer and support for Steven and his family in those final hours. And thank you to the chaplain at Asante for helping the family get in touch with the pastors. Sincere thank you to Hull & Hull funeral directors for your reverence in gently guiding the family in those difficult next steps. Thank you Drea and Dominic Porto for your unending service in Steve’s final years; taking him on outings, bringing him weekly supplies and groceries of fresh fruit and veggies that he loved and for the countless hours of visiting time. Thank you, Cathy (Mary) Inman, in St. Louis, MO for your help caring for Steve and adding the special strings to his t-shirts! That was the best idea ever! Thank you to the numerous close friends and relatives, you know who you are, that have poured out your love and support for Steve in times of need. Through all the good, the bad, the ugly and brokenness, you kept pouring into him. Thank you!!