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James Holland Powell Sr.

James Holland Powell, Sr., age 81, of Pell City, Alabama passed away October 10, 2013. Mr. Powell was born in Birmingham, Alabama and graduated from Ramsey High School. He was a member of the United States Navy serving four years active service during the Korean War. Upon distinction and honorable discharge, Mr. Powell attended the University of Alabama and was bestowed in 1956 a Bachelor degree in Accounting. While at the University of Alabama, he was a member of the Psi Chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity at the Capstone serving as an officer in the position of Treasurer in 1956. Mr. Powell married the love of his life, Claire Malone Powell on September 7, 1957 who preceded him in death April 22, 2013. He is survived by two children, James Holland Powell, Jr. (Carolyn) of Selma, Alabama; and Alice Claire (Carl Thigpen) of Mountain Brook, Alabama; six grandchildren: Dylan Thigpen, Shelby Thigpen, Tyler Thigpen, Meghan Raines Powell, Tiffany Hammond (Phillip Hammond), and Mary Claire Powell; two great-grandchildren: Sophia Rose Hammond and Gabriel James Hammond as well as a host of loving nieces and nephews. Mr. Powell was a long time senior executive of Liberty National Life Insurance of Birmingham, Alabama. He was also involved in leadership roles in many insurance organizations (national and international) prior to his retirement. Mr. Powell undertook a second career in Birmingham post-retirement in partnership with his wife, Claire, through Powell Realty. He was an active member of the Birmingham real estate community for over fifteen years. He was a founder of the Mountain Brook Swim and Tennis Club and avid tennis player throughout his life. He also was a graduate of Leadership Birmingham as well as Leadership Alabama serving as a passionate participant in community and state issues. Mr. Powell moved full-time to Pell City, Alabama in 2002 where he and his wife were an integral part of the community. His accomplishments were broad and community service involvement extensive to include: Pell City Rotary Club, Leadership Pell City, Leadership Pell City Alumni Member, Pell City Library Guild and the Mays Bend Homeowners Association. Notably, Mr. Powell spent many volunteer service hours in library programs such as the Dolly Parton Imagination Library that promotes early childhood literacy by giving free, age-appropriate books to preschool children and their families. His leadership and passion for literacy, education and civic service as well as his unwavering commitment to the local library was known and valued throughout the Pell City community. His commitment to life-long learning was also exemplified through his organization and facilitation of The Study Group of the Enlightened, a group that held issues based forum studies. Mr. Powell was the epitome of a southern gentleman who exhibited distinguished humanitarian efforts in service above self. Most important, however, was Mr. Powell's passion for life and love for people reflected in his daily life. He truly never met a stranger and had a gift for making people feel special. Mr. Powell had a keen sense of humor and a particular affinity for Steve Martin (whose physical features favored Mr. Powell) and word puns. He was a really "punny" guy. After retirement, he adopted the motto "Fun Stuff" with the desire that he and his wife would celebrate the twilight of their lives with joy and laughter. "Fun Stuff" was the name of his boat on which he cruised Lake Logan Martin entertaining friends and family. The motto was also on the vanity tag of his Corvette, the car he drove until the end of his life. He prided himself on being vibrant and active, playing tennis several times a week, even after his lung cancer diagnosis, and walking his beloved golden retriever, Buddy, every day. He maintained an upbeat attitude even after losing his wife and being diagnosed shortly afterwards with a terminal illness. Many will miss the smiling face and contagious chuckle of this dear father, grandfather, uncle and friend. Memorial service plans for Mr. Powell will be announced. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Pell City Library Guild or to the local .

Published in The Daily Home on Oct. 17, 2013
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