Christopher Johnston Powers died peacefully surrounded by his family and closest friends near midnight on June 21st of injuries sustained in a serious cycling accident nearly 1 month earlier. A memorial service will be held Wednesday, June 27th at First Baptist at 805 Montana at 1:30 PM. All are welcome.
Chris was born on June 8th, 1955 in Newton-Wellesley hospital in Massachusetts, the oldest of six children born to the late William Rowland Powers III and his surviving wife Sarah Snelling Powers. He grew up in Barrington, Rhode Island and was graduated from Moses Brown School in nearby Providence in 1973. A subsequent graduate of Harvard University and the University of Virginia Law School, Chris went on to accept a position with the law firm of Kemp Smith in El Paso where he would go on to become partner.
It was while at Kemp Smith that Chris met the close friends and ultimately the woman who would draw him so tightly and inseparably to El Paso. He married Peggy Ann Azar in 1985 and she was the love of his life until the end. With her he raised their two wonderful children, Christopher J Powers, Jr. and Sarah Beth Powers. The remarkable people they have become and the fierce love they hold for him are testament to the strength, character, integrity, and affection with which he lived out a life of faith and service in his role as Husband and Father.
He would need this love of Peggy and the kids when, in 1994, he made the difficult decision to leave Kemp Smith and the close friends he had formed there and return, as a 40 year old medical student to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor. His studies took him and his young family to Texas Tech in Lubbock, from which he was graduated in 1998 , earning among other awards along the way the Berlex Best Teaching Resident Award bestowed by his classmates to that resident best exemplifying the qualities of service and compassion. He completed his Residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology, begun at the University of Connecticut, at Texas Tech Health Sciences Center in El Paso in 2002, going on to join the faculty of the Texas Tech School of Medicine, a position he held for 6 years. In this position, as it seemed in all areas of his life, he would be repeatedly recognized for the outstanding quality of his work and his service to those around him. And as he embarked on private practice in 2009, these qualities of integrity, service, and compassion would endear him to all he served with or cared for, be they patients, colleagues, employees or hospital staff. He was uncommonly loved and respected by the medical community and patients with whom and for whom he worked.
Medicine, though, was just a part of who Chris was. Chris was blessed with a deep and mature faith in Christ, a faith which bore fruit in so many areas of his life. As a volunteer MD at the Baptist Clinic and, along with Peggy, as a board member of the Wayside Teen Center he gave freely of his time and resources. But it is in the countless personal relationships with persons of all stations, high and low, friend or acquaintance, close family or complete stranger that his light shown most brightly. To his many friends in the cycling community he was known as a fierce competitor, but more so as the best kind of companion and confidant for a long, easy, weekend ride in the desert or the mountains always using that occasion of the sport he so loved as one more chance to listen, share, support, witness - simply to be a friend. To old friends and traveling companions he was the first call when a new adventure was being formed, an indispensable and iridescent member of the expedition whether it be trekking in Nepal, climbing the Grand, or kayaking the Snake River in Idaho. To colleagues and co-workers he was both student and mentor with a humility and openness which belied the respect and affection in which he was universally held. To his family he was the rock, the most wonderful expression of what it means to be husband, father, son, and brother. To many, many more he was the rarest of people, a touchstone, compass, and North Star showing the way towards a life of meaning, purpose and love. He will be deeply, deeply missed.
In addition to his immediate family, Chris is survived by his mother Sarah Powers, his siblings Bill Powers, Sally (Cal) Frese, Janet Martucci, Donald (Dana) Powers and Becca Larew, his parents-in-law Phil and Bette Azar, his sister-in-law Pam (Scott) Hunsaker, brother-in-law Phillip Azar Jr. and many nephews and nieces who adored him.
Donations in his memory would be welcomed at First Baptist Church, 805 Montana Ave., El Paso, TX 79902, The Baptist Clinic, 816 S. Florence, El Paso, TX 79901, the Wayside Teen Center, 10964 Montwood Dr., El Paso, TX 79935, the UMC Trauma Center, 4815 Alameda, El Paso, TX 79905, or a charity of your choice. Services entrusted to Martin Funeral Home West, 128 N. Resler Dr. El Paso, TX 79912. www.MartinFuneralHomeWest.com