Thomas Powers
1933 - 2020
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Thomas Powers
9/24/1933 - 11/9/2020
Penn Valley, CA
Thomas James Powers, the center of our family's universe, passed quietly into heaven with one last little snore on the morning of November 19th. He was surrounded by family at his beloved home and we hope he has found the perfect Steelhead riffles because he was the best of men and deserves no less.
Tom Powers was born in Chicago on September 24, 1933; the youngest of three children for Harry and Nel Powers. The Powers family moved west from Chicago to Los Angeles and the city of Maywood/ Bell when Tom was three. Tom went to parochial schools in elementary school and junior high school. He went to public school for high school and began to play football at Bell High School. It was at Bell while Tom was in high school that he met Verda Jane Houts, the love of his life! Tom loved Verda with all his heart but he had a secret love for the malts and hamburgers that Verda's mom, Albertine Houts, would make for him when he came to visit. Those malts and burgers no doubt helped Tom as he played football for Bell High and later for Compton Junior College, where he caught the eye of a scout for San Jose State. Tom was offered a scholarship to play for San Jose State where he would play guard and earn his BA and teaching credential.
Tom and Verda were married in 1954 and enjoyed 66 years of an exciting and love filled life together that included two great kids; Cyndie MacFadyen (Gary) and Steve Powers, five fabulous grandchildren; Leeann Powers, Thomas MacFadyen, Amber Powers, Samuel MacFadyen and Trevor Powers; and some great dogs, Worm and Cy (Cereno is in his own category!).
Tom and Verda moved north to San Jose when Tom went to college and would remain in the area as Tom started teaching at Fremont High School in Sunnyvale. Tom taught Industrial Arts, mostly Auto Shop, to a couple generations of very fortunate students. The refrain of "Mr. Powers, Mr. Powers, can you help me with this?" echoed off the walls of the auto shop on a daily basis. Tom would wear a sport coat and tie to school, and put on a shop coat to save his jacket. That, unfortunately, didn't do anything to protect his ties, all of which had holes burned in them from welding!
Tom retired after 35 years of teaching at Fremont High School, where both he and Verda made life long friends that still love and support our family. We had many ski trips to Tahoe, camping and fishing trips around California and to the Rogue river in Oregon, and a great time was had by all. Tom and Verda's travels extended beyond the West Coast as well, with trips to Moab, Utah, Canada, England, Southern Africa, and beyond. The travel they engaged in most frequently though, was around on the golf course in front of their home at Lake Wildwood near Penn Valley, California, where they moved in 1996.
Tom and Verda made a lot of new friendships at Lake Wildwood, and were fortunate enough to be neighbors with some of their friends from the Bay Area as well. Tom tackled his fair share of projects while living at Lake Wildwood, but most of his time was spent enjoying fishing, golfing, friends, family, a bourbon and soda or two, and plenty of good times.
Tom was the shining star of our family, and a guiding light through good times and bad. He taught his daughter and granddaughters to be women, and his son and grandsons to be men. Always quick with a joke, Tom was compassionate, funny, strong, patient, and caring. He passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by family, and will be dearly missed. We love you Dad, Papa, Tom.


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Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Jan. 10, 2021.
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Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by San Jose Mercury News
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4 entries
January 12, 2021
Mr. Powers
During his time teaching me Auto mechanics he took the time connect to each of his students.
The skills he had as a mentor just a good man I still remember to this day.
He trusted me to be his assistant and to send me to De Anza to represent our school at their auto shop ROP.
He nurtured many young students as myself I can only hope his family knows how much he touched the life's of the students.
Marty Troup
Student
January 10, 2021
I was lucky enough to have Mr Powers as my auto shop teacher. Mr Powers would give me the keys to the shop during breaks and lunchtimes. I could work on my car along with others that I would and could trust to keep things going smoothly during those times. He trusted me and I made sure all tools and any messes were cleaned up as he honored me with that priviledge. He picked me to receive the Trades and Industrial award and I attended senior awards night to receive it. He was the best teacher I've ever had in all my school years. I am deeply saddened by his passing But as we get older, the elders pass, and then we become the elders. It's a sad and harsh reality but a reality. Rest In Peace Mr Powers
(picture from 1979 Fremont High School Yearbook)
Peter Leach
Student
January 10, 2021
Mr. Powers was hands down, the best teacher I had while at Fremont High School. I will be the first to admit that I took advantage of Mr.Power’s patience as I was constantly late to class only to hear him shout “rack em’ Campbell! “Give me 20!” He held a soft spot in his heart for football players as he was constantly asking us about our games. I loved hearing his old stories of his Jr College Playing days along with his San Jose State Days! You will be missed Mr. Powers! Every person I know spoke very highly of you! RIP!
Scott Campbell
Student
January 10, 2021
Mr. Powers, I will always remember you. You made learning fun and you gave some of the best memories for so many of us at FHS. You will always with the ones you touched. R.I.P

John Ploke
Student
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