Powell—William H. Powell, 70, on September 26, 2017, in Casa Grande, Ariz. Bill was born on January 7, 1947, in Upper Darby, Pa., and came from a long line of New Jersey Quakers who had been members of Alloways Creek Preparative Meeting in Hancock’s Bridge, N.J., including a surveyor for William Penn. In 1965, Bill graduated from George School in Newtown, Pa., where he was on the swim team. When he applied to join Lansdowne Meeting in Upper Darby, Pa., he told his clearness committee that George School had given him a firm grounding in Quakerism.
He worked in New Jersey with his dad, Harold H. Powell, in Powell Electronics, for about ten years. Although he didn’t stay in the family firm, he learned entrepreneurial skills that he used later. He worked for Frito Lay for several years and was a substitute teacher in the Maricopa, Ariz., school system. He founded a business in 1994 selling electronic components and ran an online business called Pow Wow Sales, which sold evaporative coolers (including an automotive version), solar ovens, a permanent calendar of historical events, and business promotional items. His website contains photos and information about Arizona, and he also researched historical and genealogical topics.
In retirement he made pins and refrigerator magnets dealing with Friends testimonies, giving them to many Friends who remember him fondly. In later years, he reflected on challenges in his family life and wrote the book Consent and Worth Is the Core of Happiness that he hoped would help others with similar family problems. He also had personal triumphs and was proud to say that he had stopped drinking on September 11, 2001.
An exceptionally gentle and kind soul with a calm and loving presence, he attended many other meetings over time, including Pima Meeting in Tucson, Ariz., and Phoenix (Ariz.) Meeting. But he came to feel that Tempe (Ariz.) Meeting was his home. His long-time regular attendance went back to Danforth Chapel days, and he became a member on June 4, 2017. He said he was moved more spiritually in Tempe Meeting than in any other meeting he’d been in, with Friends who gave him the freedom to speak spiritually or as a prophet. He experienced Light as the spirit of Jesus Christ.
Although it was a long drive, he attended regularly until ill health made it impossible. He was unable to make it to meeting during the last six months of his life, and greatly appreciated visits to his home from Tempe Friends. He is survived by three children, Anne Marie Cooper, Becky Tobin, and Jeanette Powell.