Former County Commissioner Louie Powell Remembered
Three-term Toombs County Commissioner Louie Powell, 65, passed away Sunday at Community Hospice after a brief illness. He was a lifelong resident of Vidalia whose impact on the community was substantial — as a businessman, a community servant, and as a valued friend to many. As he pondered the message that he will deliver Thursday at the
funeral of Louie Powell, former Toombs County Commissioner and State House Representative Greg Morris, reflected on when he first met his longtime friend. “When was the first time I saw the sun come up?” Morris said of his family’s long association with the Powell family and his growing realization over the years of just how valuable a friend Powell had become.
Powell’s father, Bobby Powell, and Morris’ father, D.A. Morris, had been friends as their sons grew up. Later, when Louie Powell and Greg Morris were adults, they became involved in each other’s lives and pursuits. Both had political ambitions. Morris first ran for the Toombs County Commission in 1992, and he recalled that Powell quickly became a supporter and a confidant.
Powell later ran for and won Morris’s seat on the County Commission as Morris served in the state Legislature. “He was a mentor,” Morris said of his friend. Powell’s ability to listen and his ability to offer “heartfelt” advice were two of his hallmark qualities.
Morris said that the pallbearers for Powell’s funeral will be the sons of his friends, which is a testament to how Powell inspired and impacted others. “I cannot imagine a world without Louie Powell, but there will be one in which this next generation will carry on, and it will be full of good things because of men like Louie Powell.”
Toombs County Manager John Jones recalled that Powell interviewed him in 2012, just before Powell stepped down from his third term on the Commission. “He was a wonderful guy who had a heart for this community,” Jones said. “He did a good job. He will be sorely missed.” Jones remembered that one of the projects for which Powell worked tirelessly was expansion of the county’s landfill and solid waste collection program that set the bar for future use.
Buddy West, former Toombs County Commission Chair, served on the Commission with Powell and remembered his dedication to public service. “It is pretty admirable to serve three terms on the County Commission.” He recalled that Powell did not make decisions rashly. “One of his sayings when we had a decision to make was that he ‘wanted to go home and sleep on it.’ After we had absorbed a lot of information, that was pretty wise.”
West recalled that Powell and former Commissioner Steve Brown were forward thinking in their approach to effective, countywide waste management. The convenience centers that Powell advocated turned out to be one of the best methods of trash control to be put into use in rural areas.
Powell was a 1974 graduate of Vidalia Comprehensive High School and attended Georgia Southern College. He was cofounder, with his late father, and later owner of Mar-Key Foods for 36 years.
He was a charter member of Grace United Methodist Church and a current member of First United Methodist Church of Vidalia. He was also a member of the Moose Lodge #1281, Ducks Unlimited, Sweet Onion Classic and Vidalia Country Club, where he served as president for many years.
In addition to his father, Robert L. “Bobby” Powell, he is preceded in death by and his stepfather, Vernon Sumner.
His family includes his wife, Regina L. Powell of Vidalia; two daughters, Lauren Hofmann and husband Russell of Bishop, Georgia, and Brooke Cooper and husband Clint of Center Community; four
grandchildren, Brant Hofmann, Reid Hofmann and Blair Hofmann of Bishop, and Chase Cooper of Center Community; his mother, Ann Sumner of Vidalia; two stepsons, Joseph Holmes of Atlanta and Zachary Holmes of Vidalia; two sisters, Angie Powell of Vidalia and Denise Lowery and husband Bo of Lyons; three nephews, Justin Osborne, Slade Osborne and Mitchell Lowery.
The funeral service will be Thursday, June 2, at 11 a.m. in the chapel of Ronald V. Hall Funeral Home with Charles Taylor and Greg Morris officiating. Burial will follow at Lakeview Memorial Gardens.
The family will receive friends at the funeral home Wednesday evening from 5 until 8 p.m. Flowers are accepted, or memorial contributions may be made to Community Hospice Foundation, PO Box 2277, Vidalia, GA 30475 or Paul Anderson Youth Home, PO Box 525, Vidalia, GA 30475.