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OBITUARY: Portia Westerfield

March 17, 2022
By Boca Beacon

On February 20, 2022 Portia Westerfield, of Lakeland, Florida, passed away with a smile on her face and in the loving company of her husband, James Kroll.

Born in Evanston, Illinois, on November 15, 1930 to Eleanor and Alexander Patterson, Portia lived a rich and robust life. She was raised in Paoli, PA and on the upper east side of Manhattan. She attended the Brearley School and the Master’s School at Dobbs Ferry before graduating in 1952 from Vassar College with a degree in art history.

Portia’s love for art and design led her to work at McCalls Magazine in New York, where she was introduced to a young Naval lieutenant named Robert Harmon Westerfield. Bob (“Westy”) and Portia were married in 1954 and enjoyed nearly forty years together in NY, London, Chicago and Florida before Westy’s untimely death in 1993. Together they raised three sons with imagination and creativity and endured the loss of a fourth with fortitude and dignity.

After Westy’s death in 1993, Portia met and married James Kroll of Lakeland. Fifteen years her junior, Jim gave Portia a whole new beginning after Westy passed away. Together they shared an active life full of new friendships, travel, Broadway shows and love of the outdoors and the Unitarian church.

Portia tirelessly carpooled her children to music lessons, ski trips and tennis tournaments; entertained with style; worked as a realtor, paralegal, and fashion model; and, together with Westy, helped found and manage a successful executive search firm. Her passion for volunteering wherever she lived underscored the breadth of her interests – from education and reading, art history and gardening to social justice and dignity in dying.

Portia had a uniquely adventurous spirit. She traveled widely with Westy and later with Jim, and even on her own ventured to spots as far flung as the southern island of New Zealand and the mountainous peaks of Peru. She loved oil painting, bicycling, tennis and golf – but perhaps most of all, simply enjoying a good book on the beaches of Boca Grande, her “second home” in Florida for over thirty years.

Portia is survived by her husband, Jim, along with three sons, Richard, John and Evan, seven grandchildren and one great grandson. She leaves behind a legacy of extraordinary vitality, laughter, resilience and courage, elegance and charm. She will be greatly missed by everyone who knew her.