Funeral services have been announced for a man from Willard who was found murdered in a remote rural area of Taney County in July.
In mid April, Rusty Porter and his wife, Rebecca Hufft Elsworth-Porter, were reported missing from their home near Willard. In July, a Taney County deputy following up on a tip found the couples remains near Protem.
Visitation for Russell "Rusty" Porter will be held on October 1, at 11:00 a.m. at Glad Tidings Assembly of God on Atlantic Street in Springfield. Funeral services will follow at 1:00 p.m.
Services for Becky Porter were held in August in Crane. Rusty Porter's remains were identified by MRI imaging from a recent surgery and DNA.
Officials have received confirmation on how the Porter's were murdered but have refused to release that information. Sources close to the investigation say they were shot to death.
Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott says his office along with the Taney County Sheriff's Office are following leads in the double homicide and asks anyone with information regarding the Porter's deaths to call 417-868-4040 - 417-546-7250 or 9-1-1.
Russell Wayne (Rusty) Porter passed from this life to meet his Creator in Heaven at the age of 34. He was born September 20, 1976 in Arlington, TX to Paul M. and Sharon K. Simmons. The family moved to Springfield, MO in 1977 and resided there until the family moved to the old home place located outside of Willard, MO in 1985 to help take care of his grandmother after the passing of his grandfather.
He attended Willard schools from 1985 till graduation in 1994. He attended the Springfield Police Cadet Program where he graduated in 1993. He later attended Ozark Technical Community College and received credit in the automotive field in 1997-98. He contributed part of his love for mechanics to his stepfather, Kenneth D. Simmons, who was a magnificent mechanic.
In 2005 he attended Performance Instruction and Training, LLC and received a Certificate of Completion from the 5 off 5 on program from the Pit Crew U School. He worked at Dale Earnhardt, Inc., and was a tire changer/jack man for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. While at the school he learned race preparation and helped build race cars. He was involved in their Sports and Physical Recreation program and participated in the Hooters Pro Cup Series until injuries ended his career in the NASCAR profession. He was also a fill in jack-man for Carl Edwards of the Busch Series Car at Lowes Motor Speedway in October of 2005.
Rusty worked at Eagle Pride Automotive in Nixa, MO from 2003-2008 as an Automotive Technician. He did auto repair, computer repair and programming, oil changes and automatic transmission servicing as well as changing tires. He was an ASE certified alignment and brake technician and was ASE certified in steering suspension and brakes along with being a state vehicle inspector.
In August of 2009, Rusty and Rebecca moved to Muskogee, OK, where his dad Paul M. Porter and stepmother Judy Porter live, and worked as general maintenance and repair at Avanti Self Storage. Rebecca worked at First National Bank of Muskogee. They moved back to Willard in February 2009 where they were marred on June 12, 2010 at Glad Tidings Assembly of God. They attended church there until their deaths in 2011.
In 2010 when his hands, arms and legs were going numb and he was not able to use them much, he had an MRI and discovered a tumor inside his spinal cord which required life threatening surgery. His chances for being a quadriplegic were very great. With his abilities on the computer he found the National Institute of Research Center in Bethesda, MD which accepted him immediately. He had Spiringomylea which effect 1 in 100,000. They immediately flew him and his wife to Maryland for surgery. By God’s grace he was not paralyzed as Springfield doctors had said he would be. He had physical therapy in Springfield and thanks be to God he began to be able to walk and was beginning to have feeling in his arms again. His hands were still drawn and he was not able to do a lot of things but he kept working to try and get better. During this time he started an online college course in web design with Rasmussan College. Rusty’s objective in life was to “use my leadership skills to obtain new knowledge and further my career in new technology.” Rusty’s goals were “to be a good father and husband, and improve racing technology” and “whatever I do, do it to the best of my ability.”
He died alongside his wife, Rebecca E. Hufft-Ellsworth-Porter. He is preceded in death by his grandfather, Herman Edward Campbell of Willard; grandmother and grandfather of Edgerton, MO, Will and Marilyn Wilson; an uncle Aaron L. Porter of Springfield; stepfather, Kenneth D. Simmons of Willard; a brother-in-law, Rev. Gene Gray of Schell City, MO and stepbrother, Randy Simmons.
He is survived by his children, Logan and Lauren Porter, age 11, of Conway, MO and Russell Luke Porter, age 13, of Nixa, MO; two stepchildren Corey Ellsworth and Jessica Bullock and husband Gary and step granddaughter, McKenna; grandmother Maezinna Campbell Johnson, age 89; his mother, Sharon Kay Simmons bother of Willard; father and stepmother, Paul and Judy Porter of Muskogee, OK; three sisters, Paula Kay Gray and son Clayton Gray of Schell City, MO and daughter Shannon Gray of Bolivar, MO, Sandra J. Higgins and family and Kathy J. Hoback and husband MAJ Richard Hoback IV and their three children, MacKenzie, Ricky and Gabriel all of Temple, TX; stepbrother David Simmmons and wife Stephanie and daughter of Foose, MO; stepsister Deidre Simmons Elrod and husband Matt and two sons of Clever, MO and a number of aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
Rusty and Rebecca will be missed not only at the home place outside of Willard but also among his church family and by the friends they had made over the years. We were privileged to have him in our lives.