18 June 2006

THIRTYTWO YEARS AGO.......

My Dad’s funeral – June 18, 1974 – held at the IMA Auditorium (Annex).

See the implosion….IMA Auditorium

RICHARD N. POWERS Of Flint, Michigan
Article by Columnist LEN HOYES of the Flint Journal - June, 1974
Our world is composed of doers and takers. It's easy to figure where Dick Powers belonged. The Industrial Mutual Association has lost its Most Valuable Player and the Flint area has lost a guy who seemed to have his finger in all the pies. Having his finger in the pies was natural because he made some of 'em.
CONSIDER JUST a few of his affiliations: (1) Past president of the Big Brothers of Greater Flint (2) Past president of Flint Retirement Homes, Inc. (3) A member of the Flint Baseball Commission and Flint Tennis Commission (4) A member of the mayor's advisory committee on riverfront development (5) Ad- visor to the Citizens Youth Activities Center (6) A state board member for the Michigan Special Olympics.
He was a prime mover in forming the Greater Flint Hockey Association. The Genesee County High School Hockey League, the largest in Michigan, was Dick's "baby." The annual college hockey tournament at IMA Sports Arena was his idea. Dick Powers was no 9-to-5er. His days often began at 7 a.m. and ended at 11 p.m. or later.
HE WAS equally at home with senior citizens or the youngsters of Safetyville. A lot of his organizational work stemmed from his title as director of member services for the IMA. But work went above and beyond the requirements of his job. Hours never seemed to be a problem if there was a chance to help someone.
Dick had a genuine love for people. Color meant nothing.
And now he's gone at only 45 years of age. It's difficult to imagine him having a heart attack. It must have been massive because Dick's heart had room for everyone. It's ironic that he died on Father's Day because his eight children are testimony to love for kids.
TOM COLE, a doer in his own right for the Flint Board of Education. said it best: "I've never run across a guy who had such a genuine love for people. He had time for everyone. And he did it with such a great sense of humor. "
Cole's association with Powers goes back to their student days at Western Michigan University. Because he was a half-year student at Central High, Powers lost some time when he transferred to old Dye High. Consequently, he was tabbed "the old man" by Cole and two Dye compatriots, Jack Baldwin and Jake Brisendine. Baldwin is coaching at Ainsworth High and Brisendine is a principal in the Swartz Creek school district.
COLE RELATED, "Jake never had any problems with studies but Jack and I were always worried about tests. But Dick was always there with the humor. Nothing seemed to bother him."
Dick returned to the Flint area as coach at old Utley High and later at Swartz Creek. Then came a return to college for an advanced degree and stint with the Michigan Department of Public Instruction. He joined the IMA in 1964 in what ranks as one of the best decisions in IMA history.
His loyal secretary of nine years, Mrs. Arlene Guith, said, "Until last month he never was away from his job for more than a day at a time. He always ended the year with unused vacation time. He truly loved to be with people. It didn't matter who, just so they were people he could help." Powers and his wife, JoAnn, recently returned from a trip to Spain.
IT DIDN'T take long to get back into harness. Just last Wednesday he was helping attach signs to buses in the caravan to the Detroit Tigers' exhibition game. A menial job, true, but Dick never worried about that. Dick's volunteer work would fill a column. He single-handedly put together the GFHA's annual yearbook, a project which raised several thousand dollars. Sometimes that meant 7 a.m. appearances to line up photos at the Sports Arena. The night of his death he was coaching a youth hockey team at the Sports Arena. He was a volunteer statistician for the Flint Generals.
HIS JOB required mixing with Flint's elite and its sub-standard folk but he was the same Dick Powers with the Motts as with the Nots. However, I always felt that Dick was happiest when his sleeves were rolled up and he was working behind the scenes.
Dick Powers's short career in Flint resembled an iceberg. What showed on the surface was just a fraction of what he really accomplished. In that respect, his loss is Titanic.

2 comments:

Mary Anne said...

Wow that was my dad! He sounds awesome! I just wish I had a chance to really know him. I think I get alot of my qualities from him. It just makes me proud and sad all at the same time. I miss him.

Madeline said...

I remember reading that.. a wonderful tribute. Mary Anne, it is sad that you and Jennifer don't remember him... but he loved you both.