Portia Mary Mollard Imle was born on April 5, 1924, the only child of Olympic oarsman Sidney G. Mollard, Sr., and Amelia Stevenson Mollard, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She died peacefully on February 2, 2018, at Riderwood Village in Silver Spring, Maryland. At the age of five, she lost her mother to tuberculosis. Her father later remarried Olga, who became a loving stepmother. After graduating from Upper Darby High School and Ursinus College, Portia returned home to teach at her alma mater, alongside her dear friend and mentor Agnes Grunberg. A love of travel and adventure soon took the two teachers to Costa Rica where Portia met her future husband, Ernest Imle. They were married in 1947 and lived in Costa Rica until 1954. She remained a Maryland resident from then on, but followed Ernest on assignments with the USDA to El Salvador and Rome. Her fluency in Spanish served her well in her travels. Portia raised four children while Ernest traveled extensively with his work. As a student of anthroposophy, she later returned to teaching at the Washington Waldorf School where her students became like another family, many of whom were still in contact with her late in life. Her love of literature, the arts, education, and liberal politics kept her mind sharp until her death at 93. Friends and family will always remember that sharp mind, as well as her incredible inner strength and indomitable spirit. A memorial service will be held on Friday, February 9, at noon in Riderwood Chapel, 3140 Gracefield Road, Silver Spring, Maryland, 20904. Memorials may be directed to the Riderwood Benevolent Care Fund or a charity of the donor’s choice.
Portia was preceded in death by her husband of 60 years, Ernest, in 2008, and son, Bill, in a tragic accident in 2007. She is survived by son Paul (Kathy) Imle, daughters Cristina Imle and husband Colin Mackenzie, and Jane (Mike) Schmidt, daughter-in-law Sue (Todd) Hixson, grandchildren Peter (Tracy) Imle, Amy (Craig) Crosby, Amelia Mackenzie (Russell Miller), Lewis Mackenzie, Malia, Steven, and Melissa Imle, Blake and Ryan Hixson, six great grandchildren, stepsister Joan Hahn, half brother Sidney Mollard, Jr., and half sister Irene Mollard, as well as numerous nieces and nephews and countless friends.