Emmelene Porter was born on November 22, 1938, to Floyd Lester and Mary Williams Roney in Indianapolis, Indiana. She was the second oldest of six children, however she had 8 other siblings from her father’s first marriage. Emmelene lost her mother Mary at the age of nine and she and her 4 sisters were raised by her great grandfather (Charles) and great grandmother (Emma) Williams. It would be later that her aunt (Ilene) Williams, started to raise Emmelene and her sisters.
Emmelene attended Indianapolis Public Schools #91 and graduated from Shortridge High School in 1956. After high school graduation, she attended Butler University where she majored in Psychology and excelled in tennis. Academically while at Butler, she also enjoyed Botany classes which was evident later in her life. Anyone who knew her, knew her love of plants and flowers. Everyday, she would work in her yard cultivating the soil and planting different flowers.
Not only did she work in her yard, on any given day, she would help her neighbors in their yards.
Emmelene was also an intricate part of the Black Cultural Movement in Indianapolis and Indiana. In the summer of 1958, Emmelene started working for American National Bank which eventually merged with Fletcher Trust Company. The merger created American Fletcher National Bank (AFNB). She was a trailblazer in the Indiana Banking Industry, becoming the first Black to work for a major banking corporation in the State of Indiana. During the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, she was not allowed to work as a Teller in the front of the bank, but worked as a Key Punch Operator and her desk was in the Bank’s Vault. Taking advantage of the opportunity, this trailblazer learned everything about banking operations while having to work in the vault of a bank. It was not until 1967, that Emmelene was promoted to Bank Teller. After many years at AFNB, she went to work at Midwest National Bank in Indianapolis as Vice President and Manager. Midwest was the first Black owned bank in the State of Indiana. Eventually, she retired from Key Bank as a Vice President.
She was the first award recipient of The Center For Leadership Development (CLD) and helped to start WTLC Radio, Indiana Black Expo and the Circle City Classic. These three entities have become well known around the United States of America. Emmelene was an community activist and touched so many people in a positive way. She loved her family and those in her community (Butler Tarkington) and this will continue to be her legacy.
Emmelene was mother to all of her sons Brian and Kenny’s friends. There was a special love for all of the children that played at her house. She was the Cub Scout Den Mother, Little League Baseball Umpire, PTA President, Sports Fan and wore many other hats. Even as adults, many of those same friends of Brian and Kenny would often stop by her house and check on her.
Emmelene Porter transitioned to heaven on Tuesday January 31, 2023. She is now looking down on her family and friends with that warm gentle smile of hers.
Preceding her in death was her husband Stanley Louis Porter, son Brian Patrick Berry, parents Floyd Lester and Mary Williams-Roney, aunt Ilene Williams, sisters Helen, Rosemary, Mary, Diane, Yvonne, Karen and Eletha. Brothers George, Harry, Floyd, Gordon, John and grandson Tyrone Allen Dabney.
Emmelene leaves to cherish her in memory, son Dr. Kenneth Albert Berry, brother Charles Roney, 7 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren and a host of family and friends.
The Family of Mrs. Emmelene Porter would like to thank everyone for their love and support during this difficult time.