Porter was co-publisher/owner of Atascadero News for 42 years

ATASCADERO — Atascadero was saddened by the news that on Saturday, June 8th, Judson “Jud” Porter passed away at the age of 83. Porter was well-loved in the community and co-owner and publisher of our very own Atascadero Newsfor 42 years.

“He was a genuine all-around good guy and a sweet soul and got along with everybody,” said his wife of 60 years, Christie Porter.

Jud started working at Atascadero News at the ripe old age of 8. His parents bought the paper in 1949, and he started his career there by sweeping the floors. It wouldn’t be until 1978 that Jud and his younger brothers Jim and Jack took over the paper and ran it until 2003.


“It was such a huge newspaper then because there was no internet or anything. It was a lot of ads and a lot of stuffingand a lot of information,” said Jud’s daughter, Michelle Ring. “In those days, the paper, when we owned it, came out on Wednesdays and Fridays.”

“First, just Wednesday, and then we added Friday,” added her mom, Christie.

Atascadero News was always a Porter family affair, and everyone, from spouses to kids, nieces, nephews, and grandkids, would jump in to help when needed. Jud and his brothers also had numerous employees. Michelle added that there could be up to 50 at a time.

“They had a huge, huge printing press. If they were running late, sometimes we’d get a call and have to go down there and help them stuff the paper. If it had a lot of inserts,” reminisced Christie.

Michelle said that she was the oldest of the Porter grandkids, so she would work down at the paper with Jud and her uncles. She also took over her dad’s job of sweeping the floor along with other little jobs while she followed her dad around the paper after school every day.

“It was so fun. I loved going down there,” she said. “My grandpa was there sitting at his desk typing away, smoking a cigarette, and my dad was just busy doing all the things he did and teasing me, and [I got to] see the interaction with his brothers.”

The three brothers worked well together and made sure to take breaks every day. Once in the morning and once in the afternoon, Jud, Jack, and Jim would head across the street to the little coffee shop that was stationed across from the paper at the time. Just a 15-minute break for a coffee or a Coke, where they’d sit in their regular booth and interact with the waitresses who knew them by name.

“When I was walking home from school, if I timed it just right, I could go in and meet them there and get a piece of pie,” Michelle laughed.

Jud also wanted to expand his knowledge of newspapers, so he went to Linotype School in Sacramento. When he returned, he ran the machines at Atascadero News.

“Jud and I were about the same age. We were the ‘old guys’ at the newspaper. I had three bosses during my more than 30 years with the Atascadero News,” said local historian Lon Allan on his time working with Jud at the paper. “Jud, with his younger brothers Jim and Jack, worked well together to create a newspaper that was indeed ‘the newspaper that people read.’ We adopted that motto while we were working together.”

Allan went on to explain that he and Jud had a common goal to get every youth in the community pictured in the newspaper between them being in kindergarten and when they graduated from high school. 

“One thing that’s funny is that when he (Jud) would work around that ink all day, his shoes would have black ink on them, and it would show up on the carpet here and there. You know, that’s just being married to a newspaper person back in those days because all the ink was everywhere,” said Michelle of her dad.

“It was all over his hands, to where it just went into his pores,” continued Christie.

Jud and his wife Christie got married in 1963. In fact, Christie was only 17, and Jud was 22 when they got married, so Christie’s mom had to sign for her at the courthouse. Once Jud retired, the couple spent their time traveling, attending community events, and pouring themselves into their kids, grandkids, and the rest of their family and friends. 

“He was a great soulmate, and like I said, we were married 60 years. We had a very happy time together. We didn’t travel until he retired after 42 years, and then we started traveling. We really traveled a lot after that. It was a lot of fun,” Christie said. “When I get lonesome for him now, I just pick up an album (of their travels) and start looking through it. He was definitely my soulmate. I know that for sure.”

Jud was also an avid golfer and would head to Chalk Mountain with his brothers after the paper was completed on Fridays. On top of that he was a part of most of Atascadero’s community organizations throughout his years, and he and Christie were always at the high school football field to cheer on their grandkids.

Jud’s celebration of life will take place at the Pavillion on the Lake on Sunday, July 21, from 2 to 4 p.m. All are invited to attend.

Featured Image: Jud Porter (right) is shown with his wife of 60 years Christie. Photo provided by the Porter family.