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Roneil Laverne Powell

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Roneil Laverne Powell Obituary
Roneil Laverne Powell January 3, 1971 - February 2, 2014 Ron Powell never went through an awkward stage, according to his father Clarence (Bernie) Powell. He had a natural grace that neither a pre-teen growth spurt nor his adult height of 6'5" could diminish. It's that quiet grace and his gentle presence that so many will remember about the son, the brother, the husband, the father, the friend. Roneil Laverne Powell, 43, died suddenly and unexpectedly at home in Inverness on Sunday, February 2, 2014, surrounded by his wife Alex Porrata and their children, Yolanda, 6, and Ezequiel, 4. Ron grew up in Los Angeles near the Huntington Park neighborhood, an area notorious for gang culture. Watched over by his parents Clarence and Caroyle, adoring younger sister Brandi, and a loving, multi-generational family, he rejected gangs for sports. The Lakers, Dodgers, and Bruins would become lifelong passions. He was a star basketball player at Dominican University in San Rafael where he made enduring friendships and met his future wife, Alex. After graduating in 1994 with a B.S. in business, he coached Dominican's women's basketball team between his two seasons of professional play on basketball leagues in Australia and New Zealand. He and Alex reconnected in 2004 through an online dating service (the first and only person she dated online, she said). After an auspicious introduction to his parents at Roscoe's House of Chicken & Waffles in L.A. ("Ron didn't bring too many girls around. We knew she was the one," his mother recalled), they settled in Inverness in a small house belonging to Alex's parents, Carlos and Rebecca Porrata. Even in rural West Marin, "people gravitated to him," said his wife. Their friend Whitman Shenk agreed. "There's nobody you'd rather see walk through your front door than Ron." Ron will be remembered as someone who was great fun, who loved music, who lit up the world with his engaging smile. Ron was cool. Perhaps most importantly, though, he was a dedicated husband and father. In January, son Ezequiel had been hospitalized in Oakland with Embryonal Rhabdomysarcoma, a rare form of childhood cancer. The family brought Zekie home just two evenings before Ron's death. That night, he helped arrange a comfortable spot for his little boy to rest. Then he gently tamed his daughter's hair into a topknot before accompanying her to Alphabet Soup Night/Fideo de Letras, a family literacy workshop and social at her dual-immersion primary school in Petaluma. Mike Cobb, Director of Engineering at DriveSavers in Novato where Ron worked as a data recovery engineer, had high praise for him. "DriveSavers reunites people with their lost data from hard drives. In the past few years that has mainly been lost photos and memories. Now we will just have our pictures and memories of Ron." A memorial for Ron Powell was held Saturday, February 8, at the Dance Palace in Point Reyes Station from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Tax-exempt donations benefiting the Powell-Porrata family can be made at ezpowell.org, or at any Wells Fargo branch. Reference the Roneil Powell Memorial Fund, and note "gift donation" on your transaction. The federal taxpayer i.d.# for the memorial fund is: 46-4722983. (Photo by Paige Green)
Published in Marin Independent Journal from Feb. 7 to Feb. 9, 2014
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