Claude Raymond Powers passed away from heart surgery complications at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, CA Sunday July 21, 2013. Claude was born Nov 25, 1925 to Robert and Hortense Powers in Los Angeles, CA. His boyhood was spent in several Southern California communities during the Great Depression as his father moved around with the Southern Pacific Railroad.
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While playing football with friends in the street in December 1941, friends came running out to tell everyone of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Claude tried to join the service immediately but had to wait until he turned 17. Despite the worries of his parents they signed the release for Claude to join the US Coast Guard. He was quickly assigned as a gunners mate to the attack cargo vessel USS Mintaka and was deployed in support of marine landings in the South Pacific. The deployment took Claude to Guadalcanal, the Mariana Islands, New Caledonia and eventually New Zealand. After the combat sea tour Claude finished his World War Two military service in San Francisco working in supply and transportation.
After his discharge in 1945, Claude returned to Southern California to pursue his education and football at Junior College. It was then that he met his future wife, Edith Hammer of Eagle Rock, CA. The two married in 1947. Their first child a daughter Claudia was born in 1948. They would go on to have four more children, all sons over the next twenty-one years. Claude worked numerous jobs for such companies as Lyon Aircraft and Southern Pacific Railroad.
In 1955, Claude and his father decided to start a RV park and resort at the mouth of the Klamath River in Del Norte County. They had often fished for salmon there in previous years. The family purchased several acres at the mouth of the river for the Chinook Trailer Park. They installed docks, a restaurant and RV hook ups to accommodate the thousands of Salmon Fisherman that would flock there during the season. Unfortunately the record floods of 1955-56 wiped out the park and town of Klamath and the business was forced into bankruptcy liquidation.
Returning to Southern California Claude eventually came to work for Costa Mesa County Water District in 1960. Starting as a field utility man, Claude worked up through numerous positions at Mesa Water until he became cross connections supervisor in 1970.
Growing tired of the ever growing Orange County and its issues, Claude answered an employment ad in a water industry trade magazine for the position of District Superintendent of the Paradise Irrigation District in Feb of 1975. Much to his surprise he was interviewed and offered the job.
Claude packed up his family and moved them to Paradise that April. He served as PID Superintendent at a time of major change for PID with the raising of Paradise Dam, the construction of new concrete outlet structure at Magalia Reservoir and the construction of the first filtration plant he liked to call the "round rust bucket." Claude served as Superintendent until his retirement in 1993. Later he would also serve several years on the PID board of directors some as Board Chair until health issues forced him to resign in 2005. He was very proud of the PID water tank on Nunnley Road dedicated to him a few years ago joking he was glad he lived to see it.
Claude and his wife relocated to a retirement community in Escondido in 2011 to be closer to their daughter and for health reasons. Claude loved Paradise Lake often fishing there and was instrumental in the effort to allow boating there. He would always donate his famous tamales for sale at the kids fishing day and served on the Paradise Lake Committee. Claude was an avid fisherman and hunter happiest when on many memorable hunting and fishing trips with his sons throughout the state from 1960s till the late 1990s. Claude lived for his children and used to joke that five wasn't enough.
Claude is survived by his wife of 65 years Edith, Daughter Claudia of Fallbrook, CA, son Gregory of Maple Valley WA, son Mark of Salinas, CA, Son Michael of Renton, WA and son Gary of Chico, CA. In addition he is survived by eleven grandchildren and two great grand children.
Published in Paradise Post from July 27 to Aug. 26, 2013