Thomas Powell
1949 - 2021
BORN
1949
DIED
2021
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).
To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by Ann Arbor News from Jun. 16 to Jun. 17, 2021.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
Jun
19
Visitation
1:00p.m. - 2:00p.m.
St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church
, Ann Arbor, MI
Jun
19
Funeral Mass
2:00p.m.
St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church
, Ann Arbor, MI
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16 Entries
I had Mr. Powell in my junior year as my chemistry teacher before he retired. He always gave the best of advice and helped students, myself included. Not to mention he always had hilarious stories to tell. I am happy to know he lived well up to the end, and I offer my deepest condolences to his family. Thank you for everything, Mr. Powell.
Erin
Student
June 22, 2021
Vickie Wunder
June 22, 2021
Michael and Darlene Fontana
June 21, 2021
Mr. Powell was one of those very special teachers that come along rarely. He was kind, competent and caring. He made a positive impact in the lives of students at Saline High and the school was better for him being there. Please accept the sincere condolences of our family during this difficult time.
Gailbreath Family
Acquaintance
June 19, 2021
Mr. Powell was one of those very special teachers that come along rarely. He was kind, competent and caring. He made a positive impact in the lives of students at Saline High and the school was better for him being there. Please accept the sincere condolences of our family during this difficult time.
Gailbreath Family
Acquaintance
June 19, 2021
My condolences to the family. I taught with Tom at Woodland and we both started teaching in DD2 the same year but at different schools. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Tom was such an inspiration to his students.
Wandalyn Jones
Coworker
June 18, 2021
Tom Powell has always been beloved by the Walter Family. Tom was always especially welcoming and friendly to Megan's hooligan friends (Kevin, Brant, Jake, me...) growing up even when we didn't necessarily deserve it. His legacy of kindness, brilliance, humor and creativity lives on in Megan, Ben (and surely in Nora as well!)

My heart goes out to Marianne, Megan, Ben and all Tom's family and friends. I am saddened that I can't be in Michigan to celebrate this wonderfully impactful man's life, but I will try to be extra kind and silly to those around me in his remembrance. Love you Megan!!!
Paul Walter
Friend
June 18, 2021
Tom Powell was beloved by the Walter Family. He was always kind to us hooligan boys (Kevin, Brant, Jake, me) growing up when we probably didn't deserve it. There is no doubt that Tom's legacy of kindness, sense of humor, love of family and brilliance lives on in Megan and Ben (and surely Nora as well!)

My heart goes out to Marianne, Megan, Ben and all of Tom's family and friends. I'm sad I couldn't be there in Michigan to share in the celebration of Tom's wonderful and immeasurably impactful life. But I will try to be extra kind to others in honor of a magnificent man. Love you Megan!
Paul Walter
Friend
June 18, 2021
I will miss you buddy you were a good helper for helping me with my work and taking me home you will be missed I love you tom from your best buddy Dylon I gonna really miss you so much you were my best teacher I had in saline high school
Dylon hall
Student
June 17, 2021
Tom Powell took over my French classes as a sub at Saline High School when I unexpectedly went into labor a month early. He cheerfully took my students in hand, despite speaking no French, and assured me that everything was perfectly fine. I will always be grateful to him for being so steadfast during what could have been an extremely stressful time in my life. What a blessing he was to me!
Daphney Hatz
Friend
June 17, 2021
Dear Megan & family,
Wow! What a remarkable man! He obviously lived life well and gave a lot of himself for the good of others! He certainly left the world a better place and was a blessing to many! I'm so sorry for your loss. May the angels and saints welcome him to heaven and may warm memories of him bring you comfort in the days to come. Prayers for you all. Hugs -Margie
Margie Whitton
Friend
June 17, 2021
Shannon Matheny
June 17, 2021
What an impressive life which has blessed all who had the pleasure of knowing him. Tom’s “time on the tree” (his analogy) was very well spent. Such an amazing amazing person. There is a challenge somehow for each of us to pick up the torch. Job well done, Tom. Peace.
Brenda Stremel
Classmate
June 17, 2021
Mr. Powell never taught me but made it a point to still interact and connect with me. 10 years after high school and we still kept in touch even recently as I’m an Oncology RN. Mr. Powell’s presence will live on forever and I’m grateful I got to know him. Sending my thoughts and prayers.
Alyssa Lafond
Friend
June 17, 2021
He was a wonderful teacher and friend here at Summerville High School. Always had a special sense of humor and ALWAYS passed out those Mardi-gras beads!!!
Cindy Lee
Coworker
June 17, 2021
I worked with Tom at Baker/ Roper North Hospital. He was a very special man. My love and prayers are with you all for comfort and peace. Rest eternal grant him O Lord and may perpetual light shine upon him.
Ruth Padgett RN
Coworker
June 16, 2021
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