In Memoriam: Robert Roderick (Rod) Porter, 79

Managed Chemical Offices in Tokyo and London


Robert Roderick (Rod) Porter, who managed Chemical Bank's Tokyo and London offices, died suddenly on June 20, 2024. He was 79.


Born in Billings, MT, he met his wife, Georgia S. Derrico, at the Harvard Executive Seminar for Chemical Bank of New York employees, 44 years ago. He served Chemical as a Senior Vice President, managed its Tokyo and London offices, and later ran its Asset Liability Committee (ALCO).


In 1982, Rod and Georgia married, followed by the purchase of a 100-acre horse farm, Marblehead Farm, in The Plains, VA. At that time, Porter joined Morgan Stanley as a Principal Investment Banker and commuted between New York City and northern Virginia, where Derrico would open their first bank, Southern Financial Bank, with Porter as one of its founding Directors. The bank opened in 1984, going public in 1993. In 1998, he joined Southern Financial Bank fulltime, where he served as President and Chief Operating Officer. By this time, the bank had grown to a record $250 million in total assets. His wide range of experience accelerated the bank's growth and Southern Financial began acquiring other banks. The husband-and-wife team, with many Chemical Bank alumni, grew the bank to over $1.5 billion in assets at the time of its sale in 2004.


During their brief retirement from 2004 to 2005, the Porters spent six months in Italy, where they fell in love with a small Calabrian town, Tropea, purchasing a cliffside villa with panoramic views of the Mediterranean. One year later, they opened their second start-up bank, Southern National Bancorp of Virginia (Sonabank), with $35 million in capital. Porter and Derrico retired as CEO and President from Sonabank in January 2020.


They had spent the last four years enjoying their many passions, including international travel, summering at their house in Tropea and building their racehorse business to include breeding, with a total of 19 thoroughbreds.


In addition to Porter's banking and horseman careers, he was invested in ensuring the success of the Michael G Santangelo Jr. Scholarship Fund. Since its inception, he served on the Board of Directors and was one of the Foundation's major donors. Merging their love for Marblehead Farm with a passion for providing education and new experiences for underprivileged youth, Porter and his wife built a dormitory to house 10-12 students to stay at the farm, swim in the pool and engage in horseback riding, and began hosting an annual event for local donors as well as the students themselves.


In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Michael G Santangelo Jr. Scholarship Fund. A celebration of life and dedication of the revitalized horse barn will take place at Marblehead Farm at a later date.

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