Billy Bryan Powell

Published 12:36 am Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Billy (Bill) Bryan Powell, 86, of Washington, formerly of Pearisburg, Va., died peacefully on Monday, May 7, 2012, surrounded by his loving family at Alamance Regional Medical Center in Burlington.

Mr. Powell was born Sept. 28, 1925, in Matoaka, W.Va., and was a son of the late John Robert Powell and Mabel Claire Brotherton Powell. Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by the love of his life, his wife of 54 years, Louise Johnson Powell, and an infant daughter, Rebecca Sue Powell.

Mr. Powell was a WWII Veteran in the U.S. Army Air Corp., he graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1949 and from Radford University in 1979. Bill was an aeronautical engineer, mechanical engineer, and designer and manufacturer of precision equipment. He began Machine Design in Pembroke, Va., in 1962, co-owned Powell Sporting Goods in Martinsville, Va., and was a community college instructor at Wytheville Community College in Virginia, the Paul D. Camp Community College in Franklin, Va., and at Beaufort County Community College in Washington. Bill was very involved with the Boy Scouts and a highly decorated Eagle Scout. He also served as Scoutmaster in Pearisburg, Va., and a member of the regional council of the Boy Scouts of America. An avid fisherman, Bill was a professional bass fisherman and was responsible for several designs and inventions that revolutionized the sport, including bass boat design and wiring, drive-on boat trailers, and adjustable fishing seats. He loved working on scale model airplanes, woodworking, photography, and playing the drums. Bill served God as lay minister, Sunday school teacher, Bible study leader, lay witness mission team leader, and lay leader in several United Methodist churches over his lifetime, including Pearisburg, Galax, and Franklin, Va. and Washington, and was a part-time member of Phillips Chapel UMC in Haw River.

He is survived by one son, Thomas B. Powell and wife Barbara of Haw River; one daughter, Melissa P. Byrd and husband Luther of New Bern; five grandchildren, Elizabeth J. Priester and husband Jay of Shallotte, John Bryan Powell and wife B.J. of Burlington, Samantha L. Stanley of Goldsboro, Jonathan Byrd and wife Mary of LaGrange, and Megan B. Caton and husband Billy of Wilmington, and 10 great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Friday at Riverview Baptist Church in Ripplemead with pastor Shahn Wilburn officiating, with burial following in the Birchlawn Burial Park in Pearisburg. The family will receive friends from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Thursday at the Givens Funeral Home in Pearisburg.

Bill was a humble man with a generous heart and found great joy in donating to a variety of charitable organizations. Therefore, the family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Christmas Cheer, 331 S. Main St., Burlington, NC 27215.