WALLINGFORD — A longtime local gas station owner is being remembered as a hard worker who loved to see his customers and brighten their day.
Ray Porto died Sunday at Masonicare Health Center. He was 93.
Porto was born in Wallingford in August 1924. He served in World War II as a member of the Army Air Corps and was stationed in England, according to his obituary.
Porto began working in the gas station business in 1941. In 1947, he began working at Porto’s Citgo, a full-service station at 480 N. Colony Road.
As of August, Porto was still working at the station six days a week, putting in 11-hour workdays. At the time, he said he wanted to continue working as long as he could, because he enjoyed interacting with customers so much.
“It’s a long day, but I love it,” Porto said in August. “I’ve lived a charmed life.”
Porto’s signature goodbye to customers was “Have a sparkling day,” his obituary said.
“He’s great, always in a good mood,” Brandon Hewitt, an employee at the gas station for about two years, said in August. “I can’t believe how long he’s been here, I think he just loves what he does.”
When he wasn’t at work, Porto enjoyed spending time with his family, watching the New York Yankees, UConn women’s basketball and NASCAR.
He also enjoyed fishing and spending time with his grandchildren at his cottage in Old Saybrook.
Porto was also a lifelong member of the Wallingford Elks, the V.F.W. and the Libero Pensiero Society.
Porto is survived by his two sons, David and Donald Porto, and five grandchildren, according to his obituary. His funeral will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at Most Holy Trinity Church.