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On Saturday, March 9, 2019, Marianne Porter Absher, dedicated and loving wife and mother of two children, passed away peacefully at her son’s home in Raleigh at the age of 61. She was under the care of Heartland Hospice, as well as her immediate family.

Born in Elizabethtown, NC on July 18, 1957 to Hugh and Ruth (Scruggs) Porter, Marianne was a graduate of East Bladen High School and attended NC State University for two years where she was a member of the cheerleading squad. In 1982 she received her BA degree in speech communication from York College in Pennsylvania. While at York, Marianne was the leading member of the school’s forensic team and won a number of intercollegiate competitions in regional speech tournaments, excelling in the categories of extemporaneous and impromptu speaking.

Marianne married Robert Thomas (Tommy) Absher on January 31, 1978, and they raised two sons, Robert and Hugh. Early on in her marriage Marianne’s enthusiasm for reading and child literacy led her to open a small business at the Raleigh Flea Market at the NC State Fairgrounds, which was dedicated to distributing primarily gently used children’s literature. Her inventory was comprehensive, covering everything from early childhood to homeschooling / teaching, chapter books and classics. What started and remained as a fun endeavor turned into a way of life within a family of like-minded enthusiasts for the old and collectible. She has been known around that special place as “the book lady”, but she became so much more – a caring friend, helper and mentor to so many, dispensing wisdom and advice born of common sense – an authentic southern lady.

Marianne’s passion for improving the world around her, ”making a difference”, as she called it, led her on a life path of service – to God, her family and mankind. Whether as president of the PTSA at Leesville Road High School or as Coordinator at her church for the Family Promise of Wake County, Marianne always established goals and organized groups of volunteers united with a common purpose. Providing the guidance and inspiration through completion, every charitable project she led turned out a tremendous success – and there were a number of them. She was a charismatic leader with whom others wanted to work, and nowhere were her talents better suited than working in adult leadership training programs with Boy Scouts of America, an organization she loved and believed in. To Marianne there was no better way for her to serve in the positive development of young scouts than to help provide their adult leaders with the best youth protection training available. Over almost a 30 year affiliation with scouting she served in a number of positions within the organization, but the one area she dearly loved is the Wood Badge program, the highest level of training available to adult leadership, and the one in which her spirit flourished and touched the lives of a number of good people. In BSA, Marianne and Wood Badge were, and are, synonymous.

Preceded in death by her parents, Hugh and Ruth Porter, as well as her parents in-law Bobby and Sylvia Absher, and also her grandson Austin Absher, Marianne is survived by her husband Tommy; her son Robert, her daughter in-law Heather and grandson Auburn; and her younger son Hugh, all of Raleigh. She also leaves three Porter brothers, Dick and his wife Brenda of Hartsville, SC; Mac and his wife Pam of Lumberton, NC; and Kent of Lisbon, NC. Marianne is also survived by a large number of nieces, nephews, cousins and in-laws from the Porter, Scruggs and Absher families.

Her graveside memorial service will be held at the Porter family cemetery in Kelly, NC on Saturday, March, 16 at 1PM. (address is 1387 White Oak Rd. Kelly, NC 28448)

The family asks that any one wishing to make a donation, to please direct it to this great scouting cause: “the Art Ferguson Lodge 104 Ceremony Circle”, at:


2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV) “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

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