Robert Elwood Powell, 90, a lifelong resident of Pelham and longtime civic leader, died on Tuesday, October 24, 2017, at his residence. A celebration of his life will be held at Hand Memorial United Methodist Church on Friday, October 27, 2017, at 11:00 A.M.
Dr. Hugh L. Davis and Rev. Lowell Layman will officiate. Following the service the family will greet friends in the sanctuary. Interment at Pelham City Cemetery will be at a later time.
Pallbearers will be Travis Blankenship, Jordan Breit, Cole Friedlander, Cason Friedlander, Thompson Fuller, Fred Hand IV, Brian Powell, and Noah Powell. Honorary pallbearers will be officers, directors, and former employees of Family Bank, members of the Pelham Rotary Club, John Taylor, and Nealie McCormick.
The third of five sons of Wheatley Powell and Catherine Lay Powell, he was born February 26, 1927.
After his military service (1945-1946), he returned to Pelham, where he began his banking career at Pelham Banking Company in 1947.
In 1955 he became managing officer of Pelham Federal Savings and Loan Association and led that financial institution and its successors for 43 years. In 1976 he was named president and continued in that office until his retirement in January 1998.
He remained actively involved in Family Bank after his retirement as CEO, by serving on the board of directors and on several committees for another 14 years until January 2012. For 65 years (1947-2012) he was a leader in the financial and business life of his hometown.
A former Pelham mayor, Robert served the longest number of years in the City's history in that office, with two extended terms covering 16 years between 1970 to 1982 and 1985 to 1990. Having served earlier as a councilman for 4 years, he was instrumental in directing the City's growth for 20 years.
An active member of the Pelham Rotary Club since 1956, his perfect attendance record of over 53 years began in 1963, during his term as club president (1962-'63).
In 2010, the Mitchell County Bar Association presented him with its Liberty Bell Award.
A faithful member of Hand Memorial United Methodist Church for over 81 years, he served as chairman of the Administrative Board (1963).
Married for over 34 years to the former Miriam Flynt Hand, his children include Annice Jeanne Blankenship (Grady) of Valdosta, Deborah Kathryne Friedlander (Clint) of Moultrie, and Robert Elwood Powell, Jr., (Sherry) of West Columbia, South Carolina. His step-children are Frederick Barrow Hand III (Frances) of Atlanta, and Miriam Hand Fuller (David) of Birmingham, Alabama.
His 15 grandchildren include Travis Grady Blankenship (April), Erica Blankenship Breit (Jordan), Nichole Kathryne Blankenship, Clinton Cole Friedlander, Cason Wood Friedlander, Brian Winton Powell (Elise), Haley Powell Thompson (Michael), Sarah Katherine Powell, Noah Robert Powell, Frederick Barrow Hand IV (Kelly), Eleanor Hand Mitchell (Tony), Elizabeth Rebekah Fuller, Katherine Grace Fuller, Joseph Michael Fuller, and John Thompson Fuller (Ashley).
He has 10 great-grandchildren.
His surviving brother is James Franklin Powell of Pelham.
He was preceded in death by his parents Wheatley Powell and Catherine Lay Powell; his brothers Melvin Wheatley Powell, Winton Lay Powell, and Lawrence Edward Powell.
Those desiring to make memorial contributions may send them to Hand Memorial United Methodist Church Music Fund, P. O. Box 424, Pelham, GA 31779.
Parker-Bramlett Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
To sign the online guest registry, visit our website at www.parkerbramlett.com.
Published on October 25, 2017