Howard Powers, 1932-2008
Howard Francis Powers, of Pennsylvania, died in New York City on Saturday after a battle with cancer. Born in Boston on May 31, 1932, he was the son of Mary and Howard Powers of Roslindale, Mass. Wearing his ever-present Red Sox cap, Howard had a hello for everyone. He possessed a ferociously sharp mind and is well remembered for his limitless generosity towards his family and friends. His life was a rich mixture of an early working-class home, a classical education, business success and devotion to his family and a broad group of friends. He showed a tireless and sometimes blunt support for the underdog. He saw the difference between hard work and luck and knew everyone needed both.Howard graduated from Boston College High School in 1948 at the age of 16 and began work as a draftsman and then bookkeeper until serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Afterwards, he utilized the G.I. Bill and a full-time job to pay for his undergraduate education at Boston College. Howard graduated in 1958, first in his class. He also was awarded the Rev. William Devlin, S.J. Award for the highest average in theology and the Alpha Kappa Psi Scholarship Key. Despite stating his career goal in his application as wanting to become the manager of the Boston Red Sox, he was accepted and graduated from Harvard Business School in 1960.He married Brenda Katherine Kelley of Milton, Mass., in 1960 and the couple raised three children in Princeton, N.J. The marriage ended in divorce after 20 years.Howard spent his entire professional career with Merck & Co. Beginning in sales, he moved quickly through the firm. After numerous responsibilities in sales, marketing and international, his career culminated as a senior vice president, running the specialty chemical division and the agriculture/veterinary division. His peers and team considered him the Lion of Rahway.He retired early from Merck in the summer of 1988 and that fall he entered Fordham Law School in New York City. In 1991 he earned a juris doctorate and was admitted the New Jersey Bar. At that time, he truly retired and focused on his two great passions: skiing and golf, neither of which he ever excelled at. He spent 10 wonderful ski seasons in Vail, and was the envy of all his friends and children with his impressive number of ski days, season after season. Summers were spent on Marthas Vineyard, which he considered the most beautiful place on the earth. He spent time golfing, reading through the Edgartown Public Library collection and sharing a meal and a drink with friends and family. He loved being a part of the Farm Neck Golf Club and could be found there every morning reading the paper and having breakfast before his 9:18 tee time.Howard was proud of his Irish roots and traveled to Ireland frequently. Perhaps his greatest thrill was to bring 30 of his best friends and family from around the world to attend his 70th birthday at the Park Hotel in Kenmare, Ireland.Howard is survived by his children and their spouses: Howie and Alex Powers, of Princeton, N.J., Jennifer and Paul Mitchell, of Dedham, Mass., and Brad and Dodie Powers, of New Orleans; eight grandchildren; his companion Connie Marshall, of Vail; and friends from all over the world.A celebration of Howards life will be held in the fall at Farm Neck Golf Club on Marthas Vineyard. Donations in his memory may be made to the Farm Neck Foundation, Inc., a charitable organization, P.O. Box 1656, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557.