Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Mr. Robert David Powell, Sr.

When I reflect on the 14 years I’ve been involved in funeral service, I can name on one hand the original funeral professionals that first took the time to guide me and teach me what funeral service is really about.

Among the four, two of these gentlemen are funeral professionals in White County, Arkansas – their family has owned and operated Powell Funeral Home since 1960. Bob and David Powell, father and son, have been serving families there for nearly fifty years – they are respected in their communities and they are fine examples of what funeral service is truly about.

When I was 13 I was in Arkansas for Spring Break and my mom brought me to the funeral home where I conducted an interview with David. I used the interview, as well as another from another mentor and friend, Rene Ferrer, for a school project that I was doing for a career class. From the moment I met David, then later Mr. Powell, and the entire staff, I knew that they would always be special to me.

I recall countless summers of going to the funeral home and absorbing as much knowledge as I could from the Powells. They were always willing, and even eager, to teach me and guide me – there was no question too big or seemingly pointless – they answered them all kindly, patiently, professionally.

When we said goodbye to Grandma, then Grandpa, then Uncle Bill, and others in our family, we called the Powells. They’ve been a wonderful help to all of our family, and we knew we could trust our loved ones to their care.

I am saddened today, as I received word yesterday evening from a dear friend that Mr. Bob Powell died Saturday at his home. He was 84.

I can’t begin to express to you what Mr. Powell and his family have meant to me personally and professionally for the past 13 years. I know for a fact that I would not be the funeral director I am today had it not been for the times I spent sitting under the learning tree – visiting with him for hours on end.

In his obituary, it is summed up appropriately:

“Mr. Bob had a big heart and was always very generous with his time. Paramount for him was his family, church, community, and his chosen profession, which was his life’s calling. He always greeted everyone with a big smile and a friendly word and usually had something witty to add. He was a friend to everyone he met and counselor to many.”

Mr. Powell will always have a special place in my heart, not only for the care that he has shown my family in our times of loss, but for the patience, kindness, and guidance that he has given me personally – and helping to shape me into who I am professionally today. A mentor and friend, he will be sorely missed.

Mr. Powell, you’ve been loved and respected - and now you will be missed. Thank you for all you’ve done!

“Now the labourer’s task is over;
now the battle day is past;
now upon the farther shore
lands the voyager at last.

Father, in Thy gracious keeping
leave we now thy servant sleeping” – John Ellerton

And I can almost hear God saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant…”

~ Jason