S: Russell Jean Powers December 6, 1930 - July 23, 2010
FC: Memories of a Hero Russell Jean Powers
1: This book is the result of an idea conceived by Craig Glenn. Final design was done by Jeremy Powers with much help from the rest of the children and grandchildren. It is given to our Mother and Grandmother, Wildred Powers and dedicated to the memory of Russell Jean Powers. It was their love that held us all together.
2: Mark and Kay
3: OF MY DAD, R. J. POWERS: -Playing with us in the back yard almost every day since he worked nights at the Post Office. -Leaving us 'treats' in his lunch box to discover on the table at breakfast. Peanut Butter Logs were my favorite. -Coaching my 'Shimmy's Steakhouse' Baseball Team and winning the Little League Championship so we got to go have steaks at Shimmy's. Dad taught me to play first base and we practiced in the back yard. -Teaching me to ride a bicycle by running alongside me as I rode down the hill in the back yard. -Taking us camping at Sand Dollar Campground, Timberlake, and Hunting Island. Those long vacations were heaven on earth. -I remember sitting at the breakfast table with him when the phone call came to tell him Granddaddy Powers had died and seeing him cry for the first time ever. I was 12 years old. -Playing golf together and the easy and relaxed camaraderie we enjoyed on the golf course. We would talk about serious stuff and catch up on family concerns on the first few holes so we could get that out of the way and just enjoy our time together. -A conversation in the rain under the eaves outside at home when I was depressed after my sophomore year at Furman. He affirmed his love and willingness to help me. That conversation rescued me and the next month I started dating Kay and never got deeply depressed again. -The relationship that Dad had with Kay and their mutual affection by picking on each other. -Always there for me attending the church performances and musicals I led and showing his appreciation of my work. I never doubted his pride in me. -The way he played with my children and brought creativity to their lives in the things he made for them: furniture, toys, decorations, etc. -Sharing Gamecock victories and defeats across the years and hoping for next year. -It was amazing how he struggled with his illness over the last few years of his life and downplayed his own pain and weakness so that we wouldn't worry too much about him. MY DAD, Jean Powers, the best man!
4: Things I loved about Jean Powers He was the perfect blend of strength and gentleness. He was a man of unquestionable integrity. He picked on me like crazy and he loved it when I picked on him in return. He always made me feel loved in his home. He gave wise advice when we needed guidance, direction, and perspective. He was Mark’s best friend. He loved Wildred and always showed how much he adored her. He showed Mark how to be a frisky husband. When babies were part of the family, he always had one in his arms or on his lap. He could calm even the fussiest child. He washed dishes. He gave Mark and Jeremy an excellent example of how to be a strong husband and father. He was Godly. He was a praying man. He loved good jokes. And bad jokes. He didn’t mind cussing when it was appropriate. He smiled easily and laughed freely. He called me “girl” in an affectionate way that always made me feel special. He had a special place in my heart that can never be filled by anyone else. | From Kay
5: Jeannie and Mike
6: Carrying us from the bed to the station wagon in the wee hours of the morning on our way to one of many vacations Chasing us around their room as kids mocking a big crocodile mouth with his arms while we squealed and laughed in mock fear. Going fishing in his boat at the lake with just me and him -catching brim. Sitting on the floor so He’d be eye level with me –showing me math flash cards –the only way I’d ever “study” math. Kneeling by their bed saying his prayers every night. Capturing lightning bugs with us in mason jars at dusk Building me a playhouse in the yard Pouring his coffee into a saucer to cool then turning it up to sip from it. Smoking his pipe watching the ocean waves roll or the reflection in the lake. Visiting his Mom with him-his aggravating her intentionally in a playful way with that grin on his face... sitting in her chair in Bermuda khaki shorts-throwing one leg up over the arm of the chair, chomping on gum and blowing bubbles, putting his feet up on the coffee table, making her grin her sheepish prudish grin. Whistling down the beach meaning “this is a warning and if you’re doing something you shouldn’t be you better stop and come running." Walking me down the aisle He and Mom staying at our house the first 2 weeks after bringing the twins home from the hospital-commuting an hour and a half to work every day and back then sitting in the rocker feeding my babies a bottle. | Jeannie's Favorite Memories
7: Mixing Biscuits for Mom to cook –with flour all up his arms, chest and face. Just out of heart surgery on a ventilator- me somberly walking into the Cardiac Recovery unit to see him – winking at me Ironing his T-shirts At Lauren’s graduation from Belmont-the last time he was in our home May of 2010. Opening his Christmas stocking –taking out the golf goggles I gave him-putting them on and giving the “Vince” look. His last Christmas 2009 at their house Giving him a backrub in the hospital trying to keep the tears rolling down my face from falling onto his back. The last time I saw him alert –about 2 weeks before the end. His telling me that last day I was at the hospital before flying home -that my hair looked pretty (after complaining that I couldn’t find a hair dryer at Kay’s house where I stayed) That last night straining his head towards the voice of Mike or Chris or Craig or me in those last few hours as always wanting to connect, to reassure, to let us know that even though it was the end of his life on this earth he was about to see what he’d been in training for, reading his bible for, “living right” for all these years -and that it was OK- it was time –he’d been obedient (well obedient while having a little fun) and he wanted us to know even though he couldn’t speak it that “Because He Lives-we can face tomorrow’ So as Mike so poignantly pointed out to Mom-he is now waiting by the gate-reading his book waiting for her so he can share it with her. (My guess) is that he thinks she’s run into Belk’s and will be out just any moment now.
8: Here is the first thing I always think about when i think of Pappy: his golf swing. For me, if you knew his golf swing, you knew everything about him. His golf swing broke every rule of good golf. His stance was wrong, the club looped when he pulled it back, but when it mattered, he put the club square on the ball and sent it sailing down the middle of the fairway. Pappy did things his own way. He was unconventional, unique and really didn't care what anyone else thought about what he was doing, but when it came down to what really mattered --- loving God, loving Wil, loving his family and friends, doing good and making the world a little better -- he always found a way to nail it. | Mike
9: Joel and Angie
10: Some of my best times with Pop was when I was in 6th/7th grade at Timmerman School. There were a few years when Pop would pick me up right after school and take me golfing. He never tried to overload me with golf advice. We also fished for striper a lot along the Saluda River. At 12, I wasn't always patient enough for fishing, so I would run along the river bank looking at the old bridge imagining being a Civil War soldier. Pop was never impatient with my impatience - I think he understood. It seemed enough for him to just be with me.
11: I remember when Angie and I were first engaged Pop and I were walking across the backyard from his workshop. He asked me if I was ready to be married, if I was serious about it. I told him yes. He said, "well that's good because I want you to know that if the marriage doesn't work out Angie is always welcome to come visit us...but you are not." He did not laugh. I didn't either. I knew he was serious. One time in the backyard Pop told me "I don't think Angie believes me when I tell her I'm going to do stuff for her". I told Pop, "She probably doesn't, because her Dad left when she was young and the others were not dependable." He told me he would just keep on being himself - I told him that's all he needed to do. Angie would see how dependable he could be. Later Angie had a car accident leaving a wedding in Chapin when I was playing with the band at RiverFest. Pop drove up to Chapin to help her. Through that and many other examples Angie came to look at Pop as the best Father she ever had.
13: Things I loved and love to remember most about Pappy (and his sweet Granny): -I love that I can't open a pack of Extra or Wrigley's without thinking about that zip-lock bag in the top dresser drawer where the good stuff (Bubblicious) hid. -I love that even if they were going crazy around the house after long hectic holiday weekends, once they got in Pappy's lap, my girls immediately let go and relaxed, just sitting quietly in his arms. I especially remember how enamored Kate was with him when we were visiting during their first Easter. She must've spent 2 hours in his lap at mom and dad's house. -I always loved how we had to be out of sight of the driveway before Pappy would stop waving and go back inside. -I love that Pappy could beat me in checkers, poker, and just about anything else, and showed he could every time we played instead of just letting me win because I was his grandkid. -I love how much more important the girls' dedication felt because of Granny and Pappy's presence.
14: -I remember how neat it was on the rare occasion I got to see him fly fish at Timberlake. -I'll never forget Timberlake trips (including 3 generations of Powers men doing white-water rafting together, and then a few years later driving the golf cart for Dad and Pap just for the fun of the ride) -I remember how much time he spent making a target of small wood pieces to shoot the BB gun at after a BB ricocheted back off the bottom of a sandbox bucket and hit me in the neck. HAHA! -I loved the rides back and forth from Exit 39 where our parents dropped us off to Granny and Pappy's and the fact that, even though I know that Lauren was around, I don't remember it because he always listened to each one of us like we were the only ones in the world. Plus we always stopped at the Kmart cafe for an ICEE at the end of the trip. -I love that I always felt like he loved Julie just as much as I did, and that through that and his patient love for his wife, he taught me how to truly love and respect a wife the way a man should. -I loved looking at all the Gamecock stickers on the closet door and the handkerchiefs from the Gator Bowl trips. -I still can't listen to 2001 without getting really choked up and wanting to look for him making his way in to his seats. -I always loved knowing that even through leg problems and being sick, if a grandchild was doing something special, Granny and Pappy were going to be there, whether in Greenville, North Augusta, North Carolina, or Tennessee. Even if it meant missing an occasional Gamecock game along the way. -I love that someday when I look at my son to explain why his name is Russell J. Powers that I can say, "You are named after one of the most patient, kind, loving, steadfast, consistent, gracious, God-fearing men that has ever laid a foot on this earth, and now it's your responsibility to live worthy of the respectable good name that your great-grandfather spent his life earning for you.
15: Chris and Craig
16: Pap loved to tinker. For as long as I can remember, he always had an ongoing "project" out in his tool shed. This place was always a source of excitement for Craig and me when we visited. We loved having him show us what he was working on or building and he would walk us through each step. He was the most patient of teachers. Then, of course, we had to go a few rounds with the punching bag before exiting! Although the shed was cluttered and unorganized, Pap had a solid system of getting things done out there. Whether it was polishing rocks, carving a new wood duck, or building wood trash cans and step stools...he was out there exploring and tinkering, despite the South Carolina heat. | Chris
17: Pap was a "doer", not someone who sat around and waited for something to happen. I admire that in him and know I have a lot of that trait in me. Looking back, I think Pap loved those projects because it provided an outlet of peace and meditation among his busy days. It was just him, his thoughts, and a project with no due date. More importantly, I know these projects continually strengthened his foundation of patience and persistence -- two qualities which he most excelled at throughout his life. Through all this, Pap taught me that the finished product isn't necessarily the most important point of any given project. It's the "process" that really matters -- maintaining a good attitude always, never letting interruptions bother you, always making time for "neighbors", finding new ways to approach problems, and when you get to those problems you can't fix..always knowing that a well delivered joke might just be what's needed. Pap had a way of teaching me things I never knew I was learning at the time...this very characteristic still holds true today!
18: Craig | My fondest memories of Pappy have always been our time spent at Timberlake. Specifically, when we brought our bikes which he strapped to the front of the RV. He knew that if he unhooked them we would gone for the rest of the day but he always did that last to ensure Chris and I assisted with leveling the camper, setting up the pop-up kitchen tent, and gathering wood for the campfire. We would always get so impatient with these tasks but Pap never tired of doing things the right way first. This quality could be seen in every area of his life.
19: Pap received the most joy from his grandkids. He always took the time to teach, laugh, and enjoy the moment that has made us kids who we are today. I will never forget those great times we spent together and the joy it brought him. A few of my favorite things we did together: Walking up the mountain to float down "Deep Crick"; sharing stories while eating cheese-its and drinking lemonade each night at Timberlake; breakfast at the little yellow table; watching pap save his chewing gum in the fridgerator while he ate lunch; the fact that he kept his favorite keepsakes in his pocket for all those years such as his post office coin and indian money, target shooting on his lap with the BB gun, lincoln logs, playing poker, listening to Lewis Grizzard tapes, playing golf, going to football and basketball games, dinner at California Dreamin', having the whole family there at Christmas time, visiting Great Grandmother and Aunt Ruth, and listening to him tell the white car story.
21: Until I was about 20, Pappy always let me sit in his lap in the wooden chair at the table, and he would rub my back. He always gave the best back rubs. When I think about Pappy, I picture him coming around the corner into the den, wearing blue shorts, a belt, a travel t-shirt (tucked in), and his Reeboks. He'd always say, "hey baby-doll." Whenever Claire and I would spend the night at Granny and Pappy's we would take our baths, and then Pappy would set up a beauty shop in the living room. We would sit in the little blue chair, and he would say, okay it's your turn at the beauty shop, and he would dry our hair for us. I also remember that he hated Silly-ville and Fantasia but he still let us watch them repeatedly. It seemed like Pappy always had a song that fit every situation in life. He would start singing whatever song popped in his head that pertained to the moment, and I always joked that his life was a musical.
23: When I was 14 Lauren and I went to Disney with Granny and Poppy, we stayed in the Pop Century Resort (I'm sure Granny knows where this is going-haha), it was fairly late at night and we were all getting ready for bed. Lauren and I got tucked in and Granny was laying in their bed. Well Poppy lets out this silent killer, he goes to get out of bed, which of course releases it, and we all are practically dying. But of course Pop couldn't stop laughing and neither could we. There were many times that Poppy would comfort me when I was afraid of things, most of the time it was at Disney on Goofy's wild ride. He would let me sit close to him as we would reach the top of the hill and when we would rush around the corner into the barn he's squeeze my hand until it was over, that was the signal that i could open my eyes. When we went to Animal Kingdom in the Bug's Life ride inside of the giant circle of life tree, he would let me sit in his lap when the bug had to exit the building. because of the special effects it would feel like the bugs were crawling up you and of course I hated it so he would let me sit in his lap until it was over.
24: When I started going to preschool Poppy would pick me up some afternoons and naturally he started my love of fries because he would take me by McDonald's and get me a small fry. He would ask for one, of course I was reluctant, but I would find the one that I thought he would like best and would slide it out of the package and lightly place it on his lap while he was driving. he would glance down as if not to notice I had done it, eat the fry and then say, "Why thank you, Sweetie." One of my favorite memories is when we would play outside in the backyard. He would push me on the swing, dig in the sand box, and fill the pool up with water so I could swim. I loved riding on the lawn mower with him and in the wheel barrow. Of course after our adventures he would give me some gum and then he'd lay me down for a nap, read me the bee book or the little house on the hill, and rub my back till I feel asleep.
26: Poppy never failed to make me laugh. He had such a great since of humor especially about life and finding the humor in things. Like when he thought that the Clemson fan keyed the car, when it ended up being poppy who did it! he just walked inside with his head hung low and apologized for his behavior. He always took us the best places too. We went to the breach countless times and whenever me and chris want to go to the beach and swim in the ocean poppy would get out of bed during his nap and take us down into the water to play and search for sea shells. We loved going to the nights of the round table where they fought to the death and then at the end crowned the champion. We were never a part of the winning team but Poppy always sacrificed time and money to make sure me and chris felt like we were! he bought us the wooden swords and shields (which I still have to this day) and me and chris would reenact the battle scenes and make up our own battles and poppy would sit there and watch us put on the show for him.
27: He loved to eat jello that Granny made and play battle ship with me and Chris when we were little. He would take us to the lake and tell us about when he was in the service and the planes he worked on and how there were bullets still found on the shores of the lake and we would just marvel at the somewhat heroic lifestyle he lived, and thats what he was to me. Even when I grew up he knew exactly what I wanted and more importantly needed. He bought me my very first gun which I use during hunting season not to mention tons of knives that me and Christopher cherish. He gave me a great example of a man after Gods own heart. He was always studying his Bible and led the family in thousands of prayers. He understood what I was going through and showed me how to love someone. I saw how he looked at Granny and I saw how he loved her and I pray every day that my marriage after decades could be as strong as theirs was. Even more importantly he understood how precious time was and that if anything in the world, family is the most important gift.
29: When I was nine or ten I remember going to Gatlinburg and seeing a cane that had a hidden sword, and since back then I had a ton of money, I wanted to buy it for him but then I thought "wait... he might use it on me..." Once while all the family was talking I was trying to say something but every time someone else would say something and I couldn't get a word in then I looked over at Poppy and he winked at me and it was one of my favorite memories because it was like he was saying he understood. Once they took us to the Medieval Times show where he bought us these plastic swords and me and Blake spent the rest of the week making a skit with them. And later they took us to Cirque Du Soleil and he got me and Blake the Chinese yo-yos and we couldn't get them to work that well and then the string broke so he went to the store and bought us new ones. But more than anything I just love the memory of him and who he was more than any one specific memory and how much he meant to me and how much I looked up to him. He just always seemed to understand and care how we felt.