Louis William Powell

Louis William Powell

Louis William Powell, 86, of Medford, Ore., passed away Friday, March 23, 2012, at Providence Medford Medical Center from complications of Type A influenza. The weather that day was fine; it would have been a good day for planting peas.

Burial was at Eagle Point National Cemetery. A celebration of his life will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, March 31, 2012, at Applegate Christian Fellowship.

He was born at the family home on Valley View Drive in Medford on May 3, 1925, to Herman Dalrymple Powell, a surveyor and civil engineer, and Blanche Agnes Wood Powell, a Medford native and member of the Medford High School Class of 1908; she had a good, Yankee mind for business.

He was active in Boy Scouts and achieved the rank of Eagle.

Louis graduated from Medford High School in 1943, and enlisted in the Unites States Army. As a member of the 97th Infantry, he entered combat in southern Germany in the winter of 1945; his unit was liberating Czechoslovakia when the war in Europe ended. Following the Japanese surrender, he was posted with the Allied occupation forces near Yokohama, Japan. The experience left him with a lifelong fondness and respect for the common people of Japan.

After the war, he married his high school classmate, Janice Elizabeth Pitts, on September 3, 1947, at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Medford. His best man was his lifelong childhood friend, Bill Patton.

Louis and Jan then moved to Corvallis, Ore., where he earned a bachelors degree in forestry from what was then Oregon State College in 1951. He also entered Air Force R.O.T.C. at O.S.C., where he met special friends, Jerry and Donna Smith. Louis later retired from the Air Force Reserve with the rank of captain.

The couple moved to Durham, N.C., where Louis earned a masters degree in forestry from Duke University in 1952. He worked for the Oregon Department of Forestry before teaching forestry at the University of Montana in Missoula, Mont., and at Oregon State. He did graduate work in forestry at the University of Washington in Seattle, Wash.

In 1961, the family moved to Tacoma, Wash., where Louis worked for the Douglas Fir Plywood Association. In 1968, the family moved to Arcata, Calif., where Louis taught forestry at Humboldt State University. The family moved back to Medford in 1971, and Louis eventually retired as a safety professional with Oregon O.S.H.A.

Jan died of Alzheimer's disease in 1999; she and Louis had been married for 51 years. A special gift at the time of Jan's death was the loving support provided to Louis and his sons by Jan's niece, Susie McEachern.

In 2000, Louis and surviving members of his combat regiment were invited to Czechoslovakia by the Czech government as guests of honor on the 45th anniversary of the liberation of their country from Nazi occupation.

The same year, Louis was greatly blessed to meet Kareen Brown, and the two were married on February 17, 2001, at Applegate Christian Fellowship. Louis' best man was again his dear friend, Bill Patton.

In his 11 years with Kareen, Louis was blessed to become a part of the Brown family, and he relished the opportunity to be a loving stepfather, grandfather and great-grandfather to new generations.

A lifelong outdoorsman, Louis loved to hunt and fish; he particularly enjoyed pussyfooting along mountain streams with a fly rod, prospecting for pan-sized brook trout. He also loved jazz, and especially the Nat King Cole Trio.

Raised a Christian Scientist, Louis was later a member of Baptist and First Christian churches, Westminster Presbyterian Church, and at the time of his death, Rogue Valley Christian Fellowship. After being saved by grace in 1962, Louis was especially ardent in his belief, and showed it in his kindness, his 12 long years of care-giving for his first wife, his involvement in delivering meals to the elderly, and in innumerable other acts of love and faith. He was never a critical or cynical man, trying always to see the good in people even politicians; he voted three times for Richard Nixon.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his sisters, Jane Powell and Mary Barbara "Bobbie" Gilstrap; and his nephew, Roy Doe.

He is survived by his wife, Kareen, of Medford; his sons, Bill Powell (Anna), of Talent, Ore, David Powell (Janna), of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Tyson Powell (Julie), of Boulder, Colo.; his sister, Clara Beth Doe (Paul), of Medford; his grandchildren, Ellie Powell, of Santa Fe, N.M., Nicholas and Elizabeth Powell, of Colorado Springs, and Evan and Matthew Powell, of Boulder; his niece, JoAnn (Guy) Parker, of Prospect, Ore.; and his nephews, Phil (Patty) Gilstrap, of Eugene, Ore., and Gary (Norma) Gilstrap, of Salem, Ore.

He also is survived by his stepchildren, Janet (Frank) Eagleton, of Kalispell, Mont., Wayne and Julie Brown, of Medford, Bruce and Jennie Brown, of Ruch, Ore., Eric and Deanne Brown, of Ruch, Brad and Jennifer Brown, of Jacksonville, Ore., Jeff and Gina Bates, of Medford, and Dan and Monica Stumpff, of Central Point, Ore.; 35 grandchildren; 30 great-grandchildren; and by his honorary sons, Scott, Matt and Duncan Smith. He was also very fond of Jan's niece and nephew, Brenda Landes and Brent Hartley.

Memorial contributions may be made to Mission Aviation Fellowship (, as Louis always dreamed of being a pilot and serving his Lord.

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