Former Congressman Walter E. Powell passed away on January 17th, 2020.
Former Congressman Walter E. Powell (1971-1974) passed away Friday. Powell began his career as a city clerk of Fairfield in 1956. He successfully ran for Fairfield City council in 1958. He then won the election for State Representative in 1962 and 1964. In 1967 he won the election for State Senator. In 1970 he ran for Ohio Secretary of State.
His son, Judge Stephen Powell, released this statement:
Walter E. Powell
April 25, 1931 – January 17, 2020
Former Congressman Walter E. Powell passed away peacefully in his sleep Friday, January 17, 2020. Walt was born April 25, 1931, in Hamilton, Ohio and was preceded in death by his parents Walter Powell and Anna Powell, of Hamilton Ohio, by his wife, Bobbi Mae Powell, (Powell), his son Loren David Powell and his sister Mary Evelyn Imhoff (Powell). Walt is survived by his son, Judge Stephen W. Powell (Susan), of West Chester, Ohio, two grandsons Eric Randoth Walter Powell (Wendy) of Centennial, Colorado and Dr. Stephen Michael Powell (Jillian) of Cincinnati, Ohio, as well as three great-grandchildren, Avery, John, and Madeline. Walt was also preceded in death by his brothers-in-law Arlin Powell and Burt Imhoff, sisters-in-law Carolyn Powell, Joan Moore (Powell) and Shirley Powell (Staggs), nephews Joseph B. Powell, Brian Imhoff, and Mark Imhoff and is survived by brothers-in-law Joseph Powell, Richard Wenzel, and John Moore and sister-in-law Blanche Wenzel (Powell), nephews Douglas Powell, Michael Moore, and Scott Wenzel and nieces Rhonda Brown (Powell), Lisa Patrick (Powell) and Terri Allen (Imhoff).
Walt and Bobbi met as summer employees at LeSourdsville Lake, having been introduced to one another in the summer of 1951 by Anne Streifthau who was their Maid of Honor. Their first date was to the Root Beer stand in Excello with Bobbi’s little brother Joe in tow to keep an eye on Walt. They were married June 2, 1952, in Middletown, Ohio and celebrated their 60th anniversary just months before Bobbi’s passing. Walt attended Hamilton Public Schools, graduating from Hamilton High in 1949. He then earned his BA in History at Heidelberg College and his M.Ed. from Miami University. Three decades later, after a slight sidetrack through teaching and politics, he earned his Law Degree (JD) from the University of Cincinnati, College of Law in 1984. He was a member and Elder of The Front Street Presbyterian Church in Hamilton, Ohio and a Charter Member of the Fairfield Civitan Club, serving as both the local President and Governor of the Ohio District of Civitan International.
Walt always said in his campaign ads that he was a ‘legislator’, not a ‘politician’. In reality, he was an ‘educator’. His first passion was in the classroom as a teacher and then later as a school administrator before he ever entered politics. In fact, as an Ohio history teacher in the Fairfield Local School District starting in 1953, Mr. Powell became popular with the students because he didn’t demand rote memorization. He gave his students the ‘who’, ‘what’ and ‘when’ in test questions. He then made the subject of history interesting by teaching his students the ‘why’ because he felt that was where the true lessons of history lay. As a result, a great number of his students went on to be history majors themselves. Then the political bug bit. Fairfield, his new home, was becoming a new city and he got involved. As a result, Walt had several ‘Fairfield Firsts’. He was the First Elected Clerk of Fairfield City Council in 1955, the First Principal of Fairfield West Elementary in 1958, the First resident elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in 1960, the First resident elected to the Ohio Senate in 1966 and the First resident elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1970. Twenty years later after 6 years in city government, 10 years in the statehouse and 4 years in the U.S House of Representatives, he chose to step down from Congress and politics and returned home to be an educator once again doing what he was happiest doing, teaching and running schools. He found a new educational home in the Lakota Local School District where he served as an Assistant Principal at Hopewell Junior High and Principal at Hopewell Elementary and later Union Elementary. While he was a Principal at Union Elementary Walt also served as a Liberty Township Trustee, and as a Member of the Butler County Ohio Board of Elections. He was also Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Butler County Republican Party. He then retired from education and politics altogether and started his third career. He enrolled in Law School at the University of Cincinnati when he was 53 years old, 30 years older than most of his classmates. After passing the bar exam, he practiced Estate Planning, Probate and Income Tax Law from his home.
Walt and Bobbi frequented Isgro’s, Symmes Tavern, Chester’s Pizza, Hyde’s and the old Root Beer Stand at Hicks and Route 4. They played bridge monthly with their Fairfield Bridge Club. They also enjoyed traveling not just the states, but the world. After both retired, they began wintering in Mesa, Arizona, making a whole new set of friends. Walt has McDonald’s “Office” buddies in Mesa, AZ as well at the Kingsgate McDonald’s in West Chester, OH. He will be greatly missed by all, especially his son Steve. The two had been inseparable after first Loren and then Bobbi passed. They took turns driving coast to coast over the years, stopping at every crossroad on the way. Steve put over 200,000 miles on his convertible. Walt and Steve drove America’s main roads and backroads following family migration routes, genealogy leads or curiosities and always talking along the way with the radio off. Time together well spent that can’t be replaced and will be forever treasured.
The family will receive visitors Wednesday, January 22, 2020, from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Hodapp Funeral Home, 6410 Cincinnati Dayton Road, Liberty Township, Ohio 45044. Services to be officiated by the Reverend John Lewis at the funeral home Thursday, January 23, 2020, at 11:00 a.m. Memorials may be made in Walt and Bobbi Powell’s names to the American Cancer Society, or Crossroads Hospice of Blue Ash, Ohio.