Obituary of William Ray Powell
Mr. William Ray “Billy” Powell, Sr., age 89, of Jackson, Georgia, passed away on Saturday, December 23, 2023.
Billy was born on Saturday, November 24, 1934, in Atlanta, Georgia and attended Roosevelt High School. His parents, the late Daniel and Annie Powell, passed away when he was just five years old. He was raised by his aunt and uncle in the Grant Park area of Atlanta. Along with his parents, he was preceded in death by his daughter, Becky Powell; brothers, Jimmy Powell, Dan Powell; and sister, Shirley Hoggard. Billy joined the United States Navy after high school and served two tours in Korea. He served on the USS Mender and participated in the hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific. After leaving the Navy he worked for Southern Bell (later known as Bell South) as a cable splicer. In 1956, he became a member of the Communications Workers of America. In 1970, he was elected Plant Representative of CWA Local 3204. In 1972, he was elected Vice President of Local 3204. In 1974, he was elected President of Local 3204, and served in that capacity until 1983. From 1978 through 1986, he was District 5 Vice President of the Georgia State AFL-CIO. Billy served as Assistant Senate Door Keeper from 1989 through 1991. He loved to give to his community, including his tireless clean-up efforts during the great flood of 1994.
Billy was active in numerous political and charitable events. He helped organize Job Pressure Day at Central Park in Atlanta and helped organize union members’ “Search for Missing Children.” He also participated in a 1400-mile bike ride from Atlanta to Boston for Labor’s 100th Anniversary and to raise funds to benefit City of Hope Hospital. In 1985, he helped organize the Georgia Special Olympics and hosted many charity golf tournaments throughout Georgia. Billy also served on the Board of Georgia Labor-Management Conference. To honor Billy, they named the annual golf tournament on Jekyll Island the W.R. Billy Powell Golf Tournament. In 1994, he was inducted into the Organized Labor and Workmen’s Circle Hall of Fame. During retirement Billy helped charter American Legion Post 303. In 2005, he was elected as Legion Veteran of the year in Georgia.
Billy loved to play golf and crossword puzzles. He was a generous man with a caring heart that was always quick with a joke and made people feel happy. Billy was everyone’s friend!
Billy is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Billy and Emmanuelle Powell; grandchildren, Emily Powell, Elena Powell, Tiffany Powell, Austin Powell; 5 great-grandchildren; nieces, nephews, and cousins.
A funeral service for Mr. Billy Powell will be held on Saturday, December 30, 2023, at the Sherrell Memorial Chapel at 11:00 A.M. with Mr. Rudy Mangham officiating. Friends may visit with the family on Friday evening from 6:00 P.M until 8:00 P.M. at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the American Cancer Society, www.donate.cancer.org, P.O. Box 6704, Hagerstown, MD 21741.
Those who wish may sign the online guest registry at www.sherrell-westburyfuneralhome.com.
Sherrell-Westbury Funeral Home, 212 E. College Street, Jackson, GA, is serving the Powell family.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of William Powell, please visit Tribute Store