Mr. George Robert “Bob” Powell Sr. of Wilkesboro passed away at his home on Dec. 5, 2012.
Bob was born on July 28, 1929, to George White Powell and Emily Nelson Powell in Wilmington.
He graduated from New Hanover High School in 1947 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy, with duty stations in California and on the island of Guam and was honorably discharged with the rank of Yeoman Petty Officer Second Class. Bob then attended Elon College where he met his future wife Betty Lorraine Crowder of Wentworth and had been married for over 59 years.
Bob Powell Sr. began a career in law enforcement March 16, 1953, with the New Hanover County, Alcohol Beverage Control as an enforcement officer for the county, with Wilmington the principal town. He was sworn in on July 30, 1956, as an ATU officer and worked at the Rockingham post (which covered Richmond, Scotland, Montgomery, Moore and Anson counties). He remained at Rockingham for about two and a half years and was promoted to Lumberton, as investigator-in-charge.
After a few months Bob moved back to Wilmington, and remained there until he was reassigned back to the Rockingham post. He was promoted investigator-in-charge of the Wilkesboro office in 1968, which at one time had as many as 13 ATF officers assigned. In 1976, Bob was promoted to Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge for the State of Michigan, where he remained until his retirement in July 1979, having worked in law enforcement for over 26 years.
He was named the Special Agent of the Year for the United States Southeastern Region in 1973, for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. When he retired in 1979, he received from ATF the Albert Gallatin Award, a nationwide tribute from the U. S. Department of the Treasury.
In 1981, he was president of Realty Specialists, Inc., until 1989, and president of Bob Powell Realty, Inc., which he closed in 1993, and re-opened in 1997. He was the founder and first president of the Wilkes Law Enforcement Officers Association. He is a past president of the North Wilkesboro Rotary Club where he received the Rotarian of the Year award and the Rotarian Centennial Award. Bob was a past president of the Wilkes County Chamber of Commerce and the Piedmont Pistol League. He had served as a director of the local United Way and the Wilkes Art Gallery. Bob was a 44 year member of the North Wilkesboro Presbyterian Church, a past president of the Men’s Bible Class and a Church Elder.
In real estate, he had been a major business presence in Wilkes County for many years. He was a respected businessman, an involved citizen, and a friend and familiar face to everyone. At his friends’ urging he took anecdotes from his long and interesting career and penned his book “Moonshiners, Fast Cars and Revenuers,” which reflected a significant law enforcement career and a colorful personality. Bob had also performed as Santa Claus for the local Christmas parades and for various celebrations and businesses, including Wilkes Literacy and The Rainbow Center for many years.
Bob Powell is survived by his wife Betty C. Powell; and three children, Bob Powell Jr. wife Karen and granddaughter Callie of Fleetwood, Susan D. (Powell) Bryant and husband Archie of Mooresville, David D. Powell of Charlotte and granddaughter Heather Powell; great-granddaughter Annabelle of North Wilkesboro; nephew Russell Bauer of Richmond, Va.; and niece Emily Bauer of Cincinnati, Ohio.
In addition to his parents, his sister Emily Rose Bauer; and son Stephen Reed Powell preceded him in death.
Funeral arrangements are being conducted by Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home of North Wilkesboro. There will be a private burial service at Mountlawn Memorial Park. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012, at North Wilkesboro Presbyterian Church with Rev. Dr. Benton J. Trawick, Dr. Robert C. Evans III, Dr. David Heil, Dr. Tom Miller and Rev. Steve Snipes officiating. A visitation with the family will follow in the Fellowship Hall.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Hospice of Wilkes, 1908 West Park Drive, North Wilkesboro, NC 28659 and the North Wilkesboro Presbyterian Church, 804 E. Street, North Wilkesboro, NC 28659.