Ernest Bradsher Portis
March 20, 1945-January 21, 2021
Ernest Bradsher Portis, farmer, fisherman, hunter, storyteller, husband, father, grandfather, and loyal friend to many, passed away peacefully on January 21, 2021, marking the end of a life fully lived.
The son of J.C. and Evelyn Ann Portis, Ernest was blessed with an idyllic childhood, growing up in Lepanto, Arkansas with his brother Clay and sister Ann Burton on a street surrounded by cousins, aunts, and uncles. The friendships formed with family in his youth lasted all of his life.
After graduating from Castle Heights Military Academy, Ernest attended and graduated from the University of Arkansas. He was a proud member of the Kappa Sig fraternity and made a multitude of lifelong friends. He loved to tell his family that his junior year was the “best three years of his life”, which should be some small indication of the fun that was had.
He married his wife Diana Wallin, and they made their way back to Lepanto, where he joined his father and brother in the family business, Portis Planting Company, and later, Rabbit Ridge Gin. He loved working in agriculture and with his family, and it was one of the great joys of his life when his son returned home and worked alongside him.
His travels and adventures throughout his life created amazing memories. Colorado, Florida, Saskatchewan, South Dakota, Texas, Montana, Alaska…chasing deer, turkeys, tarpon, and trout and collecting lifelong friends along the way. Turkeys from South Dakota to Texas could be heard heaving a sigh of relief on January 21.
If you knew him, he probably had a nickname for you. Ernest cemented his close relationships by anointing his friends with nicknames and once created, he addressed them solely with this moniker. Likewise, he was a man who went by many names himself. He answered to Ernest, Ern, Ernie, Ernesto del Norte (and even Bucky and Raul).
Always the funniest man in the room, his one-liners and original sayings live on through his family and friends who now find themselves repeating them regularly. “Say it ain’t so”, “sitting poolside at the Holiday Inn”, “somebody call the law”, and “there just ain’t no end to doing right” are a few favorites.
Ernest’s interests were many. He loved the Arkansas Razorbacks, blues music, the Brown Acre, making people laugh, all the hunting and fishing, Rabbit Ridge Gin, dear family and friends, the Madison River, and telling a great story.
He was a fine, fine man, overflowing with good character and integrity. Our world was a brighter, funnier place with him in it, and we will be retelling his stories for the rest of our days. What a gift it was to be in his orbit.
Ernest is survived by his wife of 54 years, Diana, their three children, Wesley Portis, Clayton Allen and her husband Lee, and Bradsher Portis and his wife Robin, along with his four grandchildren, Ellie, Leeland, and Wesley Allen, and Caroline Portis. He also leaves behind many good friends and hunting buddies.
In lieu of flower, memorials may be sent to the youth program at the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation.
Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation, youth program
Attn: Deke Whitveck
2 Natural Resource Drive, Little Rock, AR 72205
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