Remembering John LaPorte: photographer, friend and family man

John LaPorte’s friends want the community to remember LaPorte through his work.
This is a recording of the TV6 News Tonight.
Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 7:01 PM EST
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ESCANABA, Mich. (WLUC) - An Escanaba man known for taking pictures in the community for 50 years has died.

“He sent me a text Monday before they put him on the vent, and he said Sally I just wish I could hug you. And I said you will. But it didn’t happen,” said Sally Wery, a John LaPorte’s friend and co-worker.

John LaPorte died on October 23 from COVID-19.

“I always used to call him my John,” said Wery.

In his 72 years of life, LaPorte spent 50 years capturing moments in people’s lives.

“He’d be able to tell kids oh I took pictures of your mom and dad when they were in kindergarten,” said Bonnie Wenick-Kutz, John LaPorte’s friend.

His friends say he was a genuine person who was passionate about photography.

“It was like his pride and joy to put someone’s picture in the window, and I think the community as a whole is really going to miss that,” said Mike Galetto, a friend of John LaPorte’s.

“He did it with such heart that you knew that you were important to him. He just made people feel that they were important to him,” said Bonnie Wenick-Kutz.

Wenick-Kutz says LaPorte gave her a Bible many years ago – a gift she thought was odd for a younger female. But now, Wenick-Kutz is a missionary and finds the gift very fitting.

“I look at the Bible now and think in a way back then something must’ve been written in the cards,” she said.

LaPorte’s friends will remember him for his big heart but also his goofiness.

Wery says LaPorte loved birthdays and one year, he wanted to surprise a friend.

“He went and got a cow, and we brought the cow in and we made the sign that said happy birthday. We spelled it wrong, crossed it out, rewrote it, and whatnot. She got the biggest kick out of that. I think that one is my best memory,” said Wery.

Laporte’s friends say he went out of his way to take people’s pictures but still made time for those who were closest to him.

“He would always say to me I’m so glad you’re in my life, I love you. And that’s probably the thing that I will carry with me forever,” said Wenick-Kutz.

Galetto worked alongside LaPorte and now he’s fulfilling LaPorte’s appointments with the schools.

“I hope I can continue to work with them and keep on John’s legacy going,” said Galetto.

He agrees that LaPorte was one of a kind who touched many people.

“He’s going to be missed by everybody you know not just his friends and family but just people who knew him for a blink of a second too.”

John LaPorte’s friends want the community to remember LaPorte through his work - saying it captures his talent, goofiness and love for people.

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