WILLIAM JOE POWELL, M.D., 86, died September 13, 2009.
He was a devoted loving husband, father, and grand-
father. His warmth, wit, and playful spirit will be
missed by all.
Bill was born June 3, 1923, in Pleasant Grove, Eastland
County, TX, the only child of Aubrey Harrison and
Mattie Stella Judd Powell. Bill grew up in the oil-boom
town of Ranger, TX, where he was Valedictorian of RHS
Class of 1940. He was a graduate of Ranger Junior
College, the University of Texas, and UT Medical School.
He taught anatomy and physiology at the University of
Texas Medical Branch before interning at University
Hospital, Ann Arbor, Michigan. He returned to UTMB
where he spent five years in a general surgical
Bill was united with his "precious first and only
wife," Pattie Jean Thomas, who survives him. As Bill
wrote in 2004, "Pattie gave me a much better life
than I could have had on my own or with anyone else."
Bill served in the Navy during WW II and the Air Force
during the Korean War, stationed initially at Parks
AFB near San Francisco as a surgeon. He then went on
to Randolph AFB near San Antonio to train as a Flight
Surgeon. Bill served in that capacity in Dhahran,
Saudi Arabia, and also spent time at Wheelus AFB in
Tripoli, Libya. Bill returned to the States after 13
months with many harrowing tales and compelling
stories that would enthrall his children and his
grandchildren for many years to come. He moved to
the Dallas area to serve as one of only two staff
surgeons at the Veteran's Hospital in McKinney and
then built a private practice as a general surgeon.
He mused that he "never learned the art of shortcuts
or finely timed office visits" but was happy that he
"could practice medicine in the era of real relation-
ships between the patient and the doctor." Bill was
president of the Singleton Surgical Society, Texas
delegate to the AMA, Chairman of Visiting Nurses,
Chairman of the Dallas Flood Control Board and a
member of the Dallas Roads & Planning Commission.
Bill was also a member of the Council on World
Affairs, the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce, the
Kiwanis Club, and was on the board of the Richardson
Symphony. He was committed to limited government
and passionate about protecting individual liberties.
When Bill retired, he and Pattie toured Iran, Russia,
China, Africa, Central America, Australia, New Zealand,
and Hong Kong and traveled throughout Europe several
times, as well as to Canada and Mexico.
Bill and Pattie were blessed with sixty years together
and six children: Cynthia Jean and Glen Powell of Austin,
Kathleen Patrice (Taffy) Fish of Austin, Joan Kathryn
and Don McNamara of Dallas, William Joe of Houston,
Kimberly Ann and Michael Watkins of Emory, and Stephen
Thomas of Austin, all of whom survive. Bill was loving
grandfather to: Lauren, Glen, and Leslie Powell; Kathryn,
Drew, Elizabeth and William Fish; J. Tommy, Danny, and
Callie McNamara; Marcus and Morgan Watkins. Bill, known
affectionately as GDad, left this message for them: "If
you do what's right, you don't have to worry about what
people think. Life is a series of problems; your quality
of life depends on how you handle them."
He will lovingly be remembered for his incomparable
generosity, genuine interest in his patients and friends,
brilliant sense of humor, amazing ability to understand
and explain the most complicated topics, breadth and depth
of knowledge, passion for learning, strength in the face
of adversity, integrity, wisdom, and leadership. He loved
life and took great pleasure in his family, friends, and
dogs. He will be missed every day. When asked what he'd
like to be remembered for, Bill said with a smile, "Just