Jerome Powell

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Jerome Powell, a lifelong Washington area resident who also lived in Naples, Florida, died on April 6, 2007 at the age of 85.

Mr. Powell was born in Washington and grew up in Chevy Chase, MD, the youngest of four brothers. He was valedictorian of his class at Georgetown Preparatory School and went on to graduate from Georgetown University and its law school. He served in the 160th Field Artillery Battalion of the 45th Division of the U.S. Army during World War II. He saw combat duty in Italy, France and Germany.

After the war, Mr. Powell completed law school and clerked for Chief Judge Harold Stephens of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. From 1949 to 1952, he served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Columbia.

In 1952, Mr. Powell began a career in private practice, first at the firm that came to be known as Gall, Lane & Powell, and later as the head of the Washington office of Reed Smith Shaw & McClay, from which he retired in 1997.

Mr. Powell's practice focused on the representation of companies in labor disputes and contract negotiations. Armco Steel Company was one of his major clients for more than 25 years. In 1956, Mr. Powell argued and prevailed in a case before the United States Supreme Court, winning a key labor case for The Kohler Company.

Mr. Powell's distinguished career touched on many matters outside the labor area. During the 1950s, working on a pro bono basis, he persuaded the courts to overturn the murder conviction and death sentence of Clarence Watson, a 19-year old whose confession had been illegally obtained.

Mr. Powell was active in various civic affairs. He served on the board of directors of Ford's Theatre. An avid golfer, he was a member and past president of the Chevy Chase Club. He was also a member of Burning Tree Club and The University Club. He was a lifelong parishioner of Blessed Sacrament Church.

Mr. Powell is survived by Patricia Hayden Powell, his wife of 56 years, and his brother Frances DeSales Powell of Arlington Heights, Illinois. He was predeceased by two brothers, John Eris Powell, formerly of Chevy Chase, MD and Fr. Ralph Austin Powell, O.P., formerly of Chicago, Illinois.

He is also survived by his six children, Susan Byrd of Rochester, New York, Jerome Powell of Chevy Chase, Matthew Powell of Los Altos, California, Tia Powell of New York City, Libby Lathi of Scarsdale, New York and Monica Dolin of Washington; and by his six sons- and daughters-in-law and 14 grandchildren.

There will be a memorial gathering at Gawlers Funeral Home, 5130 Wisconsin Avenue, Washington DC, 6 to 9 p.m., Monday, April 9, 2007. A Funeral Mass will be held at The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, 6001 Western Avenue, Washington, DC at 2 p.m., Tuesday, April 10, 2007.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate contributions to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at:

Published in The Washington Post from Apr. 7 to Apr. 10, 2007