Donald Burton Powell, 77, died surrounded by his family at his home in College Station on Tuesday, Oct. 18. A memorial service has been set for 2 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24, at First Baptist Church in College Station, with burial following at College Station's Memorial Cemetery in the Aggie Field of Honor. Visitation scheduled for 6 to 8 pm Sunday, Oct. 23, at Memorial Funeral Chapel in College Station. He was born at home in Ardmore, Oklahoma, on Sept. 13, 1934, to John Douglas and Leola McDougel Powell. His family, which by then included his sister Juanola Bess (Nolie), moved to Houston in 1942 so his father could participate in the war...
Donald Burton Powell, 77, died surrounded by his family at his home in College Station on Tuesday, Oct. 18. A memorial service has been set for 2 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24, at First Baptist Church in College Station, with burial following at College Station's Memorial Cemetery in the Aggie Field of Honor. Visitation scheduled for 6 to 8 pm Sunday, Oct. 23, at Memorial Funeral Chapel in College Station.
He was born at home in Ardmore, Oklahoma, on Sept. 13, 1934, to John Douglas and Leola McDougel Powell. His family, which by then included his sister Juanola Bess (Nolie), moved to Houston in 1942 so his father could participate in the war efforts there. He was a 1952 graduate of Lamar High School in Houston and attended the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas where he was a member of the Class of 1956, the Corps of Cadets and the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band. He was a class officer, an editor of one of the campus magazines and, as a member of the Aggie Players, the campus theater group, he wrote, directed and produced the first Aggie musical comedy in 1955.
He returned to A&M in 1970 following a brief time in the Army and a successful retail career with J.C. Penney, earning both a master's degree and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration. He joined the A&M staff and served for many years as Director of Business Services, where he was responsible for one of the nation's largest and most successful college business operations which at that time included food services, the bookstore, printing and copying, photographic services, the golf course, University Center, airport operations and dormitory administration. He also established the school's bus operations program. Texas A&M's Student Government named him the university's Outstanding Administrator in 1986. National recognition came when he was elected President of the National Association of College Auxiliary Services. He became an award-winning writer for professional journals and was a co-author of the book College and University Business Administration. He also taught each summer at the College Business Management Institute at the University of Kentucky. When he retired he was named Director of Business Services Emeritus.
He is, however, best known for his "extracurricular" activities at A&M. For more than 35 years he has spoken all over the United States and in Europe on behalf of A&M at Musters and other Aggie events. His Aggie sports cartoons have been published for 34 years, first in The Battalion and now in The Bryan-College Station Eagle. His television work included 20 years as host of the live telecast of the Aggie Bonfire on Fox Sports and nine years as the co-creator and original host of The Texas Aggie Band Show on PBS. He has twice served as President of the Texas Aggie Band Association and planned the band's successful centennial celebration in 1994. He also established the Eternal Aggie Band Endowment, which to date has raised more than $2 million to support the Aggie Band.
He was a member of First Baptist Church in College Station, where he and his wife, Mary Jo, were part of the Cornerstone Class and previously taught two-year-olds in Sunday School for 18 years.
He was preceded in death by his parents, John Douglas and Leola McDougle Powell; his first wife, Frances Jane Hulette Powell; his grandson, Levi Douglas Powell; his father-in-law, Donald Raymond Hibbert; his brother-in-law, Jerry Gene Foose; and several aunts and uncles.
Survivors include his wife of 32 years, Mary Jo Powell; sons John Christopher Powell, wife Linda and daughter Amber, all of College Station; Robert Carlton Powell and wife Melissa, both of Tyler; Edward Clayton Powell and sons Logan and Zachry, also of College Station; and daughter Catherine Corkran, her husband David, and their daughters Christina and Caitlin; sister Nolie Foose of Arlington, nephew Brian Foose and his partner Wayne Strya of Fort Worth; mother-in-law Marilyn Hibbert of Naples, Fla., and a host of cousins.
Memorial gifts may be made to the Eternal Aggie Band Endowment. Donations should be sent to the Texas A&M Foundation, 401 George Bush Dr., College Station, TX 77840-2811, with the memo line on the check reading "For Eternal Aggie Band/Donald Powell '56 Memorial."
Mary Jo and the family extends special thanks to the caring professionals of both Hospice Brazos Valley and the St. Joseph Cancer Clinic who cared for Don during his 3 ½-year battle with colon cancer, and to all the members of the Cornerstone Sunday School Class at First Baptist-College Station, whose love, care, prayers and food enriched and encouraged us every day.