Barbara Ann Porter passed away on June 9 at her home in Chapmansboro with family at her side, leaving a reputation as the “cake lady” for many newlyweds and birthday celebrations in Cheatham County.
Porter, 82, created wedding cakes, birthday cakes and specialty cakes for many years.
“Barbara was a jewel and had the ability to make you feel better just by being in her presence,” Cheatham County Circuit Court Clerk Julie Hibbs said. “There is no doubt she could make wonderful cakes — my favorite was her pineapple; but her true gift from God was simply loving people, as she truly reflected the love of Christ by loving her neighbors and friends.”
Porter’s funeral services were held on Wednesday, June 12 in the Chapel of Cheatham County. Burial took place in the Bethlehem Cemetery in Ashland City.
Longtime Cheatham County resident Marie Pickett, now living in Centerville, knew Porter through her cake creations.
“She was the cake lady at Kemps,” Pickett said. “She made beautiful cakes that tasted delicious. She made my sister’s wedding cake in 2001. She even added live flowers to the cake. She even put an edible picture of me and my husband Jerry on an anniversary cake.”
Valerie Kemp passed along a comment about Porter from her sister, Joanna Melton, from Porter’s working days at Kemp’s on Main Street, where Cash Saver currently stands.
“I remember sitting on a five-gallon bucket of icing watching her decorate cakes for hours on end as a small child,” Melton said. “She was always so patient and kind with me. She would let me try to make icing roses for the cakes. If I messed up — which I did almost every time — she would let me eat the icing! She will be missed.”
Donnie and Jackie Kemp, who owned and operated the Kemp’s store, also reflected on their time with Porter.
“She was one of the hardest working women to ever work with us,” the Kemps said. “She could do just about anything from baking cakes to cooking turkey-and-dressing dinners. The people of this community loved her food but most especially loved her sweet disposition and smile.”
Senior Center at Ashland City regular Jerri Moore tasted many of Porter’s cakes over the years.
“She loved her catering and doing cakes,” Moore said. “She made my girls’ wedding cakes, and they were beautiful. She is sure gonna be missed at the Senior Center.”
Porter was also a loyal participant of the Senior Center activities.
“She was always here at the dances for the last five or six years to help out with setting up and making sure we had everything we needed,” said Tina Smith, the center’s site manager for Meals-On-Wheels. “She was kind and considerate with everybody.”
Former Ashland City Parks and Recreation Director Tony Young has a sports memory as well of his favorite cake lady.
“I remember seeing her at the Senior Center, but I was lucky to know her because I coached her granddaughter in basketball when she was in elementary school,” Young said. “Ms. Barbara, her daughter and granddaughter were always kind and supportive. The other members of the family I have met have been kind and helpful in any way possible, just like Ms. Barbara.”
Pleasant View resident June Nicholson recalled how Porter catered for all kinds of occasions such as weddings, anniversary celebrations and the senior dances.
“She’s the kind of person who would always help people get things together, and she would help anybody in the world, Nicholson said.”