Harold Fraser Powers, 92, passed away Wednesday, January 1, 2014, at his home in Athens, Ga. He was a devoted husband, loving father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, skilled gardener, brave World War II veteran, and great storyteller. He lived a full life and shared his dedication to church, family, and friends with everyone he knew.
Harold was born to Felton Margaret Fraser Powers and Noah Alexander Powers on September 9, 1921. He grew up on a farm in Dooly County and graduated from Dooly County High School in 1939. As a young man, Harold worked in the grocery department at the Atlantic and Pacific Tea Co. in Vienna, Ga. He attended National Defense School and completed parachute jump training in Fort Benning, Ga., before enlisting in the Army in 1942.
Harold joined the 101st Airborne Division and jumped in Normandy as part of the D-Day invasion of Europe on June 6, 1944. He landed behind the German lines and was captured late the afternoon of D-Day. After surviving 11 months as a prisoner of war, being moved deeper into the continent and eventually placed at a work camp in Czechoslovakia, he was released in May 1945 to return to the U.S.
Harold became interested in newspaper work as a G.I. trainee with The Vienna News, where he spent about two years. He entered the School of Journalism at the University of Georgia under the G.I. Bill and worked part time with The Winder News. In 1952, Harold received his B.A. degree in Journalism from UGA and accepted a position with the Spaulding County Times.
During his trainee years, Harold met the love of his life, Addie Mae Rainwater. They were married in March 1950 in Tifton, Ga. Four years later, they celebrated the birth of twins, Gene and Jane.
While raising his new family, Harold worked at several other newspapers across the state, including the Tifton Gazette and Hawkinsville News. He joined the weekly Athens Advertiser in 1963 and helped found the Athens Daily News in 1965 where he worked as advertising director. In 1968, Harold joined Georgia Outdoor Advertising of Athens as a sales representative and built a two-decade-long career there, managing a number of different divisions across northern Ga. In 1987, Harold retired from the newspaper and advertising business, remaining in Athens to spend time with family, friends, and church.
In August 2013, Harold received the Legion of Honor award from the French government in recognition of his contributions in World War II; founded by Napoleon in 1802, the National Order of the Legion of Honor is the highest accolade in France. Other notable recognitions include the World War II Victory Medal, European-Africa-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, American Campaign Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Prisoner of War Medal, and two Bronze Stars.
Harold is preceded in death by his beloved wife Addie; brother Jack Powers, and sister Helen Herndon. He is survived by his son, Harold Gene and wife, Mary Joe Repass Powers; daughter, Mala Jane and husband, Robert Statham; four brothers and their spouses, Sam and Marjorie Powers, Marvin and Shirley Powers, Doyle and Lullene Powers, Ed and Marcia Powers; grandchildren, Benjamin and April Statham, Dorothy Powers, Emily and David Neder, Jennifer Statham, Stefanie and Daniel Oehrke, Matthew Statham, and Mary Margaret Powers, and three great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 2:00PM at Green Acres Baptist Church with Dr. Charles Parrish and Rev. Fred Rowell officiating. Burial will follow at Evergreen Memorial Park. The family will receive friends at the funeral home, Saturday, January 4, 2014 from 5:00PM until 7:00PM.
Lord & Stephens East is in charge of arrangements.
Published in Athens Banner-Herald from Jan. 3 to Jan. 5, 2014