Friends And Family Remember Todd Portune As A Man Of 'Great Passion'

Feb 3, 2020

Hundreds of family, friends and colleagues gathered Monday at the Duke Energy Convention Center for the funeral of retired Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune.

Portune died Jan. 25 after a years-long battle with cancer. He was 61.

He was remembered as courageous, enduring, supportive, dynamic, intense and about public service.

The hour-and-a-half service was planned by Portune himself, in great detail, including who would speak and when, and what songs would be played, with such Beatles favorites as "Let it Be" and "Hey Jude" on the list.

Speakers were told they would have two minutes to share their reflections about Portune. That drew some laughter from the audience considering that Portune himself was known for long speeches. One person said he could speak for two minutes before taking a breath.

The first group of speakers were lifelong friends who had either grown up with Portune, or met him when he was student at Oberlin College. They shared that Portune was a good singer, played the trombone, and had an early interest in government and the law.

"We were blessed to have Todd, this most remarkable individual in our lives," said Nate Eisler, who went to college with him. "May Todd's memory inspire us to carry on his spirit of brotherhood and his passion for good deeds."

Portune is survived by two brothers, and both of them spoke during the funeral service.  

"None of us has ever known a person who worked harder or more tirelessly or with greater passion and devotion to be the best of the best for your family, for your community, and more mankind in general," said Bob Portune, Todd's oldest brother.

Ned Portune is the youngest brother, and for him, Todd became a father figure after their dad passed away when they were young.

"You could say I've lived a bit in Todd's shadow," said Ned Portune. "But I never viewed it as a shadow. Not a shadow that blacked out the sun, more like the shade of an oak. That made being out in the sun a more comfortable place to be."

Of course, many in Cincinnati and Hamilton County knew Portune as a city council member and a county commissioner. He was appointed to city council in 1993, and elected four times after that. In 2000, he was elected to the county commission and served until his retirement on Dec. 31, 2019.

County Commission President Denise Driehaus said Portune had a relentless optimism about life.

"He was a force not to be slowed or dismissed," Driehaus said. "He had ideas. He had fortitude. He had a unique compassion. He had purpose."

She said Portune had a long "do list" when she arrived at the county administration building in 2017, and was ready to hit the ground running to get many of those goals accomplished.

Former Cincinnati Mayor Dwight Tillery said he was the one who pushed for Portune to be appointed to city council.

"He was a man who had such determination, fearlessness, courage and love in his heart," Tillery said. "And through it all, he accomplished more than anyone could ever, ever imagine."

Portune was buried during a private ceremony at Spring Grove Cemetery.