Harrell Powell Jr., 81, Bermuda Run, Oct. 25, 2016
HARRELL POWELL, JR., a Davie County native and resident of Bermuda Run passed away on October 25, 2016. Harrell was an amazing person, outstanding student, athlete, magician, disc jockey, actor, songwriter, Wake Forest Demon Deacon play by play announcer for football and basketball, husband, father, grandfather and lawyer extraordinaire. On September 18, 1935, he was the first born of Harrell and Margaret Powell, a longtime lumber family in the Calahaln community of Davie County.
As a young man, he showed great talent as a basketball player and was a star player on the Mocksville High School team. Although he always had pine resin on his hands from working at his Daddy’s sawmill, he dreamed of becoming a great lawyer and orator. After graduation, he attended Catawba College where he excelled academically and as a great Shakespearean actor. During the summer he performed the lead role in Thy Kingdom Come, an outdoor drama in Virginia. With his Bachelor’s degree in hand, he eagerly went to Wake Forest College School of Law where he rose to the top of academic achievement and soon had that lawyer sheepskin in hand. During his time there, one morning he was confronted by Dean Weathers, who asked him a very pointed question after a brief statement. He told the young law student that he had turned on his radio last Tuesday night when a voice came on the air stating, “This is Harrell Powell speaking to you from Columbus, Ohio where tonight the Demon Deacons take on the Buckeyes of Ohio State.” Dean Weathers said, “Tell me that wasn’t you!!” Knowing that you never told a fib to the Dean of the law school, Harrell stated, “Yes, Dean, that was me.” Whereupon, the Dean commenced to lecture Harrell severely on the necessity of studying the law 8 hours a day, 7 days a week if he ever wanted to amount to anything.
After passing the bar that summer, Harrell started his profession in Winston-Salem where he practiced law as an art form for well over 50 years. With his keen knowledge of the law and his booming Shakespearean voice, he quickly rose to the top of his profession as one of the best trial lawyers in the State. He was one of the very few attorneys of his era who could command a courtroom audience of a large number of his fellow members of the bar who attended his jury trials to see the master perform. He received the Criminal Law Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006 from the Forsyth County Criminal Defense Trial Lawyers Association and he was an AV Preeminent rated lawyer throughout his career. Although he could have made a fortune as a large firm corporate counsel, he chose instead to represent mostly those who often were just ordinary citizens who desperately needed his help.
During his spare time, Harrell took up songwriting with the help of his lifelong friend Gene Plott and wrote many songs, many of which were published and recorded. One of his most famous songs became an integral part of a new theme park in Orlando, Florida. He was asleep in the middle of the night when he received a phone call from a country music performer friend of his, Ronnie Stoneman, who told him that a man from the soon to open new Disney World in Florida had come up to her after a performance and wanted to buy a song she had sung that night. Harrell told her to please tell him yes, and the song became an integral part of the Country Bears Jamboree in the Magic Kingdom to this day.
Harrell and his wife, Grace, traveled extensively throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, and he acted as his children’s personal travel and restaurant guide.
Harrell was predeceased by his Father, Harrell Powell, Sr. and Mother, Margaret Powell, of Mocksville, NC. Harrell is survived by his loving family, his wife of nearly 22 years, Grace, his son, Harrell David Powell, his wife Kim and their children, Hunter and Lindsey of Charlotte; his son Mark Powell, his wife Cathy, their children Connor and Katie of Lewisville, NC; a daughter Lisa Powell Carley and her husband Tim, their sons Liam and Aidan of Apex, NC; a daughter, Susan Powell Little and her husband Don, and their daughter, Emily, of High Point, NC; and a son, Harrell Powell, III (Trey) and his wife, Mandy, and their children Carson, Noah, and Ella of King, NC; and his stepson, David Harrison and his wife Maria, and their children Zachary and Matthew of Gibsonville, NC; and stepson Mark Harrison and his wife Bessie, of Thomasville, NC. He is also survived by his brother, Edward Lee Powell and his wife Mary (Bebe) Bales Powell and four nieces and nephews Edward Lee Powell, Jr. of Winston-Salem; Joseph Bales Powell, his wife Ann Fleming Taft Powell and their children Maddie, and Lila Bales of Charlotte; Mary Elizabeth Powell; and Ashley Meredith Powell.
The family will celebrate Harrell’s life at a memorial service on Friday the 28th of October at Clemmons Moravian Church (just off US 158, S. Stratford Road), 3560 Spangenberg Avenue, Clemmons, NC 27012) at 2:00 p.m. The family will receive guests immediately following the service in the church parlor.
The family would like to acknowledge their deep appreciation to Harrell’s longtime personal physician, Francis Xavier O’Brien, M. D., of Wake Forest Baptist Health who expertly guided him through the troubling medical waters of life.