RICHARD N. POWERS Of Flint, Michigan (DAD)
Article by Columnist LEN HOYES Dated: June, 1974
(actual newspaper print from this article used as background photo)
Our world is composed of doers and takers.
It's easy to figure where Dick Powers belonged.
The Industrial Mutual Association has lost its Most Valuable
Player and the Flint area has lost a guy who seemed to have his
finger in all the pies. Having his finger in the pies was natural
because he made some of 'em.
CONSIDER JUST a few of his affiliations: (1) Past president of
the Big Brothers of Greater Flint (2) Past president of Flint
Retirement Homes, Inc. (3) A member of the Flint Baseball
Commission and Flint Tennis Commission (4) A member of the
mayor's advisory committee on riverfront development (5) Ad-
visor to the Citizens Youth Activities Center (6) A state board
member for the Michigan Special Olympics.
He was a prime mover in forming the Greater Flint Hockey
Association. The Genesee County High School Hockey League, the
largest in Michigan, was Dick's "baby." The annual college
hockey tournament at IMA Sports Arena was his idea.
Dick Powers was no 9-to-5er. His days often began at 7 a.m.
and ended at 11 p.m. or later.
HE WAS equally at home with senior citizens or the youngsters of
A lot of his organizational work stemmed from his title as
director of member services for the IMA. But work went above
and beyond the requirements of his job. Hours never seemed to be
a problem if there was a chance to help someone.
Dick had a genuine love for people. Color meant nothing.
And now he's gone at only 45 years of age. It's difficult to
imagine him having a heart attack. It must have been massive
because Dick's heart had room for everyone. It's ironic that he
died on Father's Day because his eight children are testimony to
love for kids.
TOM COLE, a doer in his own right for the Flint Board of
Education. said it best: "I've never run across a guy who had such
a genuine love for people. He had time for everyone. And he did it
with such a great sense of humor. "
Cole's association with Powers goes back to their student days
at Western Michigan University. Because he was a half-year student
at Central High, Powers lost some time when he transferred to old Dye High.
Consequently, he was tabbed "the old man" by Cole and two Dye compatriots, Jack Baldwin
and Jake Brisendine. Baldwin is coaching at Ainsworth High and Brisendine is a principal
in the Swartz Creek school district.
COLE RELATED, "Jake never had any problems with studies
but Jack and I were always worried about tests. But Dick was
always there with the humor. Nothing seemed to bother him."
Dick returned to the Flint area as coach at old Utley High and later
at Swartz Creek.
Then came a return to college for an advanced degree and stint with the Michigan Department of
Public Instruction. He joined the IMA in 1964 in what ranks as one of the best decisions in IMA history.
His loyal secretary of nine years, Mrs. Arlene Guith, said,
"Until last month he never was away from his job for more than a day at a time. He always ended
the year with unused vacation time. He truly loved to be with people. It didn't matter who, just
so they were people he could help." Powers and his wife, JoAnn, recently returned from a trip to Spain.
IT DIDN'T take long to get back into harness. Just last Wednesday
he was helping attach signs
to buses in the caravan to the Detroit Tigers' exhibition game. A menial job, true, but Dick never worried
about that. Dick's volunteer work would fill a column. He single-handedly put together the GFHA's annual yearbook, a project which raised several thousand dollars. Sometimes that meant 7 a.m. appearances to line up photos
at the Sports Arena. The night of his death he was coaching a youth hockey team at the Sports Arena.
He was a volunteer statistician for the Flint Generals.
HIS JOB required mixing with Flint's elite and its sub-standard folk
but he was the same Dick Powers with
the Motts as with the Nots. However, I always felt that Dick was happiest when his sleeves
were rolled up and he was working behind the scenes.
Dick Powers's short career in Flint resembled an iceberg. What
showed on the surface
was just a fraction of what he really accomplished.
In that respect, his loss is Titanic.