Powell, Thomas Thomas Ray Powell died on June 13, 2021 in Ypsilanti, Michigan. He was born on November 9, 1949, in Stamford, Texas, the son of Lantz G. Powell and Mary Aimee Falcon. He was the third of six spirited children. His father, as a J.C. Penney store manager, moved the family to Miami, OK, and then to Joplin, MO. Tom attended one year of college at Missouri Southern and then transferred to the University of Missouri-Kansas City to study biology. It was at UMKC that he met the love of his life, Marianne Parizek. In 1971, Tom entered the U.S. Army as a Medical Laboratory Technician. Tom married Marianne on December 30, 1971. They spent Tom's service years in Hawaii where Tom was stationed at Tripler Hospital. Returning to Kansas City, Tom continued his education receiving a masters in Health Services Administration in 1980. While in Kansas City, Tom worked at the VA Hospital and Truman Medical Center. Their daughter, Megan, was born in 1977 and their son, Benjamin, in 1980. Tom was an amazing father who adored his family. After leaving Kansas City, Tom worked at Davenport Medical Center in Iowa, and Baker Hospital, eventually the Roper/St. Francis Health System in South Carolina. He served as the President of the North Charleston Breakfast Rotary Club from 1994-1995. Throughout his hospital career, Tom took pride in the relationships he built with colleagues in all different roles. He knew the best way to make things happen was through human connection. In 2001, Tom made a career turn to teach high school science. Receiving his teaching certificate in 2002, he taught for four years at Woodland High School and nine years at Summerville High School, both outside of Charleston. In his new vocation Tom taught Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, and Forensic Science. At SHS Tom was active as a mentor for Robotics and Interact Club. Tom always considered teaching as his life's calling. He connected with every student in a meaningful way, believing in them and aiming to teach them important life lessons such as self-reliance and facing the fact that life just isn't fair sometimes. He was the kind of teacher that many students remember as having an impact on their lives years later, and he won multiple Teacher of the Year awards during his tenure. As a lifelong learner, Tom knew endless facts about history, sports, geography, and more. He played team trivia every week for years with a group of friends on a team named "I Don't Know." The team won the regional championship in 2008. Retiring in 2015, Tom and Marianne moved to Michigan to live near Megan and Ben. In retirement, Tom substitute taught at Saline High School, several times as a long-term sub for science and special ed. In 2016, Tom was delighted to become a grandfather. "Papa" spent lots of quality time with little Nora Blue, happy to wear hair bows and perform in plays as directed by Nora. Tom was always known for his sense of humor. He was a great storyteller and in his final years enjoyed telling stories from his life at open mic nights in Ann Arbor. He also took improv comedy classes and graduated from the Pointless School of Improv in 2019. Tom is survived by his wife Marianne, daughter Megan Zarembski (Tony), son Benjamin (Jillian), granddaughter Nora Zarembski, and five siblings: Lantz (Cathy), Charles (Carol), Paul (Betty), Aimee (Keith), and David (Lori). Services will be held on Saturday, June 19th at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Ann Arbor, with visitation at 1pm and mass at 2pm. As an expression of sympathy, donations can be made in memory of Thomas Powell to either Saline High School (1300 Campus Pkwy, Saline, MI 48176) or Detroit Creativity Project (at detroitcreativityproject.org
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Published by Ann Arbor News from Jun. 16 to Jun. 17, 2021.