Richard Kerns “Dick” Powell died peacefully after a long battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) on May 13. He never gave up and always kept his sense of humor until his last breath. If you haven’t heard his Rodney Dangerfield stories, you haven’t been around him more than an hour!
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A memorial service to celebrate Dick’s life will be held on Friday May 17, 10:00 am at St. Francis Xavier, 711 Country Club Rd. Visitation will be at Strode Funeral Home Wednesday from 5-7 pm.
Dick was born in Stillwater on February 28, 1940. He and his mother are in that now-famous picture on the hospital steps of all of the mothers and babies born in the new hospital on ninth.
His parents, Wayne Powell and Nadine Kerns Powell Evans raised him in Oklahoma. Powell’s Food Market baseball team was a big part of the family’s life until high school. He graduated from SHS in 1958 and was on the track and cross country teams as a long distance runner three years. At OSU he was the freshman class vice president and a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. He graduated in 1963 with a degree in Zoology.
He married his high school sweetheart, Carol Ann Greiner, in 1961 and together they had two daughters, Malinda and Shelly. In 1963 Dick was accepted to UMKC School of Dentistry in Kansas City.
Following graduation in 1967 the family moved to Charleston, S.C. where Dick was a dentist on the USS Everglades. He was stationed in Naples, Italy, and Malta for four months during those two years. He joined the navy reserve and retired as a Lt. Commander after serving the Stillwater Naval Reserve Center as their dentist.
OSU sports and family lured them back to Stillwater and, with the help of Dr. A. E. Buikstra, Dick began his career as a dentist. He cherished his patients, staff and dental colleagues who became friends over the years.
He never missed a SHS Class of 1958 reunion and hosted Friday night gatherings. He cherished his high school friends, UMKC classmates, and Kappa Sigma brothers.
During his professional career, Dick was a member of the American and Oklahoma Dental Associations, served in the House of Delegates of the ODA and was president of the Northern District Dental Association. He was a fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry and two term president of the Oklahoma Chapter as well as president of the Oklahoma Dental Foundation.
Locally, he was on the Board of Directors in the Lions Club, YMCA, United Way, and Chamber of Commerce, and served on the Stillwater Public School Board. He continued his service to Kappa Sigma as their alumnus advisor, and was honored by his local chapter with the naming of the “Dick K. Powell Endowed Scholarship”. He and his beloved wife were recently inducted into the OSU Fraternity and Sorority Hall of Fame. He spent years entertaining Kappa Sigmas in his home and on his boat.
After raising their daughters at the family cabin at Yost Lake, entertaining on his “Powell O’ Mine” boat on Grand Lake was their weekend getaway for 22 years during the summers.
A small RV allowed them to travel around the US for many years visiting every state in the lower 48.
Having ownership in International Tours gave him the opportunity to attend many sporting events including bowl games, basketball tournaments including Sweet Sixteen and Final Fours, and the national wrestling tournament. He enjoyed over 30 cruises and visited almost 60 countries.
Before retirement tennis was his sport of choice and he enjoyed deep sea diving, but after retirement he took up golf and played 4-5 days a week commenting that he is glad he didn’t discover golf before his retirement or his staff would have fired him. The love of golf took him to Phoenix, where he and Carol Ann spent their winters from 1998 until 2019. He could now play golf year round! It was like playing golf indoors during those winters in Arizona. A golf diary reveals he had played on over 150 courses in 16 states and 4 countries.
He was pleased that he could contribute to the rejuvenation of the Stillwater Country Club, first by hands-on work and lastly by fundraising. Many of his friends knew a phone call from Dick meant that he wanted them to give more money! It is amazing he still had any friends!!!
During this time he took up a new hobby of turning wood bowls on a lathe and enjoyed sharing the bowls he turned with friends and family.
Following his diagnosis of ALS, he had to give up golf, woodturning, and travel but never gave up his love of his passions by watching golf and the travel channels on TV.
He is predeceased by his parents and grandchild, Kennedy Nicole Sherer, and brothers in law, Gary Corser and Bruce Cummins. Besides his wife, Carol Ann, he leaves behind his two daughters, Malinda (Jay) Boswell and Shelly Powell of Stillwater and the five wonderful grandchildren they gave him—Jayson (Erin), Kylie, Tracia Boswell (and fiancé Matt Renz) and Cole and Krislyn Sherer, his sister, Deanna Powell, cousins Gwenith Piersall and Bob Kerns, and many nieces, nephews, Greiners in law, and friends.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Early Childhood Development Center at St. Francis, 711 N Country Club Rd, 74074, Dick K. Powell Endowed Scholarship (Kappa Sigma), 400 S. Monroe, 74074, or ALS Association, PO Box 14482, Tulsa, OK. 74159.