Walter E. Portwood

  • Born: May 21, 1928
  • Died: December 6, 2015
  • Location: Rural Oxford, Iowa

Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service

2720 Muscatine Avenue
Iowa City, IA 52240
Tel. (319) 338-1132

Tribute & Message From The Family

Walter E. Portwood, 87, died suddenly Sunday, December 6, 2015, at his rural Oxford home.

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 am Friday, December 11, 2015, at the Oxford United Methodist Church, with burial to follow at the Oxford Cemetery. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 pm Thursday at the church in Oxford. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in Walt's memory to the First Responders or to the Oxford United Methodist Church. Online condolences for his family can be posted through the funeral home website @

Walter Elmer Portwood was born May 21, 1928, in rural Oxford, the son of James and Lena (Kopf) Portwood. He married Viola M. Kriz on May 21, 1949, at the Little Brown Church in Nashua, Iowa. Walt was been a farmer since he was old enough to farm, he had it in his blood, and he s loved the land his entire life. In addition to farming, he enjoyed coon hunting, traveling with Viola, Blue Grass Festivals, and of course the trait of always figuring with his numbers. Walt loved to visit with his friends and always had a story or two to share. But most dear to his heart was his family, he loved the fact that most of them were so near he and Viola!

His family includes his wife, Viola; their children, Walter R. Portwood (Linda), Elaine Gunzenhauser (Terry), Russell Portwood (Cindy Maher), Sharon Donohoe, and Debbie Malone (Wayne); his grandchildren, Tim Portwood (Jenny), Robin Beard (Will), Mindy Portwood, Brian Portwood (Ashley Smith), Kevin Gunzenhauser, Tracy Andes (Chad Brown), Adam Donohoe, Chrissy Osmundson (Rob) and Aimee Malone; and his great-grandchildren, Tyler, Lydia, Dylan, Wyatt, Piper, Reece, Rogan, Hallie, Deakon, Zoe, Izabel, Gavin and Norah; and Walt's brother, Ivan Portwood and many nieces & nephews

He was preceded in death by his parents, and 3 siblings, James Portwood, Emily "Dolly" Vana, and Helen Richerson.

Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service is caring for Walter's family and his arrangements.


Condolence & Memory Journal

Walt was my mentor, friend and I always looked upon him as a big brother. Being around him was always like being in the sun. My regret is that I did not make it back to Iowa before he passed. The mold was broken after Walt entered the world.

Posted by Merton Reynolds - Tucson, AZ - Friend   December 05, 2017

Extending my condolences to Viola and the entire Portwood family. We were neighbors for years & I can still hear Walt's laughter in my head- it was so contagious that it always made one smile. Walt touched a lot of lives and his memory will live on for years to come. May God bring you the comfort and peace that can only be found through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Posted by Ann (Gorsh) Schulte - Iowa City, IA - neighbors in the 50's,60's 70's   December 10, 2015

Walt so sorry for your Loss.

Posted by Mike Kopf - Iowa City, IA - friend   December 10, 2015




sorry for your loss....

Posted by bob dane - iowa city, IA - friend   December 09, 2015

To all the family, you have our deepest sympathy. What a great guy, he always put a smile on my face, we will miss him dearly.

Posted by Doug & Sandy Owens    December 09, 2015

I'm very sorry to hesr of your loss. You all have my deepest heart felt sympathy. William Sedlacek

Posted by William Sedlacek - Iowa City, IA   December 09, 2015

You all have my deepest heart felt sympathy and this time of your loss.

Posted by William Sedlacek - Iowa City, IA - Friend of Sharon and Debbie   December 09, 2015

I always enjoyed the Portwood Reunions when I was little Dad and Walt would always tell so many funny stories of their younger times. Some say Walt was named after my Dad, Walter Kopf, Lena was my Grandpa Kopf sister. I'm so sorry for the Portwood family's loss, Walt was a wonderful person, my Dad will be at Heaven's Gate waiting for him. They have so much to catch up on.

Posted by Kay (Kopf) Burr - Vinton, IA - My Dad's cousin   December 08, 2015

we are so sorry of your loss. Love you all Russell Bonnie Stagg

Posted by A friend   December 08, 2015

I am so sorry to hear of Walt's passing. Keep the wonderful memories in your heart.

Posted by Rene    December 08, 2015

Sharon and family, I am very sorry for your loss. God bless.

Posted by karen eakes - iowa city, IA - friend   December 08, 2015

Always enjoyed getting the mis-dialed cell phone calls from Uncle Walt...he would laugh and say Danny I didn't call you did I? We would chat about coming to Utah and watching the cars race on the Bonneville Salt Flats. My father worked for the state many years ago and he and Uncle Walt would plan to watch the races together. Now they will get that chance. See you two on the Salt Flats...
Love...Dan, Karen and Kids...

Posted by Dan Portwood - Park City, UT - distant   December 07, 2015

All the Portwoods were like family to me, and Walt was the happy-go-lucky 'big brother' that I much needed then and greatly appreciated. Much of my character today comes from my hero worship of this man many years ago. There's no way I could thank him enough for being my friend. My entire family loved him.

Posted by Merton Reynolds - Tucson, AZ   December 07, 2015


Always a kind gentle old soul. Grandma Helen Richerson always told great stories about him I will never forget. He always had a smile and a question about how we we're all doing. Always there to support his sister Helen. <3 forgotten but gone not>

Posted by Sharmi Kaefring-Oyarzun - Iowa City, IA - Family   December 07, 2015

We are holding you up in prayer. May God's love and fond memories comfort you at this sad time. God bless you all in his love.

Posted by Rosi Klemmensen - Cedar Falls, IA - friend   December 07, 2015

Family Album

Walt and Viola

Family Album