Two Recent LASFS Deaths Announced

The death of Ken Porter, a LASFS member since 1976, was announced at the December 10 meeting by John Hertz. According to Ken’s sister, he had missed a couple of appointments and a check of his apartment led to the discovery that he had died some time ago. The cause of death was not immediately known. Once authorities release his body it will be cremated.

People all remember Ken as friendly and easygoing, which he was, though I also remember he had a passion to help the club, and no patience whenever any injustice was done to his friends.

Like many LASFSians, Ken appeared in Niven, Pournelle and Flynn’s novel Fallen Angels – described on page 387 as a “heavy-set black man.” He participated on “Why Is Fandom So White?” panels run at several LA area conventions in years gone by.

Phil Castora, who joined LASFS in 1962, died during the summer. This was only learned in November when Charles Lee Jackson II went to his care facility intending to drop off some back copies of APA-L. Phil was a past secretary of the LASFS, and a truly funny writer. I loved his letters of comment to File 770 – they were gems.

Phil found a lot to laugh about and he was legendary for suddenly feeling something was so funny that he would laugh uncontrollably and collapse onto the floor. Bruce Pelz described this to several of us when I was a new club member, and answered that I hoped to see it. “No you don’t,” contradicted Bruce, who had already seen it quite often.

Back in the 1970s Phil made his living for awhile as a process server, which gave him an inexhaustible source of stories about the strange and ridiculous. His personal favorite was about the lawyer who had a lot of trouble properly filling out the necessary form to respond to lawsuit for malfeasance.

Interestingly, both Ken and Phil can be seen in their prime along with a lot of other LASFSians in Bill Mills video from the party hosted by Drew and Kathy Sanders on August 10, 1980. Ken is briefly visible at the 8:02, 9:24 and 10:46 marks. Phil appears at 5:52, 9:13 and 10:45. The video is hosted on Bill’s Voices On Video site.