Port remembered as ‘a fine gentleman’ who loved Altoona
Businessman known for generosity, sense of humor
Longtime Altoona businessman Stephen Port is being remembered as a caring person.
Port, who was involved in several area businesses over the years, died Wednesday. He was 83.
Port served as a vice president at Frozen Farm Products, which was inducted into the Blair County Chamber of Commerce Business Hall of Fame in 2009 in the Heritage Category. During its heyday, Frozen Farm Products employed about 300 people.
He was also part of the management team of Sky Brothers.
In 1968, Port, his brother, Neil, and Phil Sky started Delta Health Technologies when they needed a computer for Sky Brothers, their food service business.
“Steve was like an uncle to me,” said Keith Crownover, president of Delta Health Technologies Inc. “He was a very caring individual. My wife, Lori, is a breast cancer survivor. There was not a time that he didn’t ask me how she was doing. Steve was a relationship kind of person.”
Morley Cohn, long-time executive of Kopp Drug, said Port was a good friend.
“I had known him since we were 7 years old,” Cohn said. “Steve had a great personality. He was helpful to people, and he always had good advice. He was a sweet guy and had good people skills.”
William Wallen and Joel Hollander also were close friends.
The word that describes Steve is “Mensch,” a Yiddish term that means a person of integrity and honor, said Wallen, executive director of the Greater Altoona Jewish Federation.
“Steve was a real person, a person of substance and a person of quality,” he said.
“He was a loving family man and businessman and contributor to many organizations and people in the community,” Wallen said.
“Steve was a wonderful friend who will be missed by our entire community and by my family,” said Hollander, president/CEO of Altoona Pipe and Steel Supply. “He was a mentor to me, and he and Phyllis and their sons were role models for my family. I followed Steve as the president of the Agudath Achim Synagogue, and I benefited from his leadership expertise and knowledge. We will all miss Steve and his loving kindness, his gentle ways and his great sense of humor.”
Robert C. Jubelirer, former state senator and lieutenant governor, grew up with the Ports on Aldrich Avenue.
“We played basketball together at the Jewish Memorial Center,” he said. “We belonged to AZA together, a Jewish fraternal organization. We socialized together in our early years. He had a great sense of humor, very dry; he always had a little comeback. He always had a smile on his face. I don’t believe Steve ever had an enemy in the world. I am teary eyed. I just lost a boyhood friend.”
Cohn said Port “was a quiet guy in the background.”
“He loved the stock market,” he said. “He was a student of the stock market. He was conservative but occasionally would take a flyer now and then. He would give me tips.”
Henry Weinberg, owner of The Colony Shop, knew Port well.
“He was a very funny man,” he said. “I enjoyed his company as well as his wife’s. Steve was a fine gentleman. I am deeply saddened by his passing.”
Joshua Port called his father a “good and decent guy.”
“He made time for everyone,” Josh Port said. “When you were talking to him, he made you feel like the most important person in the world. He loved Altoona and the Jewish community.”
Neil Port said his brother was a great business partner.
“We were partners in business over 55 years,” Neil Port said. “We never had a major disagreement. We always solved problems amicably. We were partners with our two cousins, Phil and Asher Sky. For all of those years, we solved our problems and loved and cared for each other. When we were done with business, we still cared for each other. He was a very generous person. He was a very community-spirited guy. He was a very good brother. I learned a lot from him.”
Friends will be received from 10:30 a.m. until a noon service today at Agudath Achim Synagogue, 1306 17th St.
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.