Obituary for Thomas Powers
September 24, 1933 – November 19, 2020
Thomas James Powers, the center of our family’s universe, passed quietly into heaven with one last little snore on the morning of November 19th. He was surrounded by family at his beloved home and we hope he has found the perfect Steelhead riffles because he was the best of men and deserves no less.
Tom Powers was born in Chicago on September 24, 1933; the youngest of three children for Harry and Nel Powers. The Powers family moved west from Chicago to Los Angeles and the city of Maywood/ Bell when Tom was three. Tom went to parochial schools in elementary school and junior high school. He went to public school for high school and began to play football at Bell High School. It was at Bell while Tom was in high school that he met Verda Jane Houts, the love of his life! Tom loved Verda with all his heart but he had a secret love for the malts and hamburgers that Verda’s mom, Albertine Houts, would make for him when he came to visit. Those malts and burgers no doubt helped Tom as he played football for Bell High and later for Compton Junior College, where he caught the eye of a scout for San Jose State. Tom was offered a scholarship to play for San Jose State where he would play guard and earn his BA and teaching credential.
Tom and Verda were married in 1954 and enjoyed 66 years of an exciting and love filled life together that included two great kids; Cyndie MacFadyen (Gary) and Steve Powers, five fabulous grandchildren; Leeann Powers, Thomas MacFadyen, Amber Powers, Samuel MacFadyen and Trevor Powers; and some great dogs, Worm and Cy (Cereno is in his own category!).
Tom and Verda moved north to San Jose when Tom went to college and would remain in the area as Tom started teaching at Fremont High School in Sunnyvale. Tom taught Industrial Arts, mostly Auto Shop, to a couple generations of very fortunate students. The refrain of “Mr. Powers, Mr. Powers, can you help me with this?” echoed off the walls of the auto shop on a daily basis. Tom would wear a sport coat and tie to school, and put on a shop coat to save his jacket. That, unfortunately, didn’t do anything to protect his ties, all of which had holes burned in them from welding!
Tom retired after 35 years of teaching at Fremont High School, where both he and Verda made life long friends that still love and support our family. We had many ski trips to Tahoe, camping and fishing trips around California and to the Rogue river in Oregon, and a great time was had by all. Tom and Verda’s travels extended beyond the West Coast as well, with trips to Moab, Utah, Canada, England, Southern Africa, and beyond. The travel they engaged in most frequently though, was around on the golf course in front of their home at Lake Wildwood near Penn Valley, California, where they moved in 1996.
Tom and Verda made a lot of new friendships at Lake Wildwood, and were fortunate enough to be neighbors with some of their friends from the Bay Area as well. Tom tackled his fair share of projects while living at Lake Wildwood, but most of his time was spent enjoying fishing, golfing, friends, family, a bourbon and soda or two, and plenty of good times.
Tom was the shining star of our family, and a guiding light through good times and bad. He taught his daughter and granddaughters to be women, and his son and grandsons to be men. Always quick with a joke, Tom was compassionate, funny, strong, patient, and caring. He passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by family, and will be dearly missed. We love you Dad, Papa, Tom.
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