Dr. Ralph Dewey Powell, Jr, known all his life as Tad, died August 18, 2021 at his home after a recent diagnosis of cancer. He had struggled with Alzheimer’s disease for several years. Tad was born in Newton, MA on June 4, 1932 to Eugenia Norris Powell and Ralph Dewey Powell, the youngest of three children. Tad attended public schools in Weston and graduated from Noble and Greenough school. He attended Amherst College where he played football, switched from engineering to pre-med and graduated in 1954. He then entered Boston University School of Medicine, graduating in 1958, and interned at the Mass Memorial Hospital in Boston before entering residency training in pathology at Case Western Reserve. After residency, in 1965, Tad joined the US Public Health Service and went to the Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health, joining the Laboratory of Pathology under the leadership of Dr. Harold Stewart. He left NIH in 1972 to move with his family to Lexington, KY, to join the Department of Pathology at the University of KY and become the director of pathology services at the Lexington VA medical center. After many wonderful years in KY, Tad and his wife moved to Kansas City, KS where he was a Professor of Pathology at the University of KS School of Medicine, doing surgical pathology. The Powell family moved in 2002 to the University of Minnesota Medical School where Tad worked as an anatomic pathologist in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology until his retirement in 2014.
Tad’s first marriage was to Jean Macmillan. He married his second wife, Deborah Powell, MD, also a pathologist, in 1971. Tad and Debbie celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on Feb. 6 of this year. They not only enjoyed attending pathology meetings together but shared a love of New England, the ocean and Nantucket Island where they spent many summer vacations and Tad enjoyed surfcasting for bluefish and striped bass with his lifelong friend Paul Schlaikjer. They loved the fact that in MN, the north shore of Lake Superior reminded them of their New England roots. He is fondly remembered by his family for his many stories; “stop me if I’ve told you this,” and his passion for cleaning car windshields, occasionally while the car was moving out of the driveway.
Tad was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Elizabeth (Betsy) Powell Ohmann as well as grandson, Kerry Mullaney and daughter-in-law Cornelia Christ Powell. He is survived by his wife Deborah Powell, a sister, Sarah Powell Jewell and his children – Sarah Powell Cooper (Peter), Douglas Macmillan Powell (Françoise), Bonnie Powell Kuta (Alex), Scott Dewey Powell (Kim), Amanda Carpenter Ragon (Perry), Adam Forbes Carpenter (Pam), Joshua Norris Powell and Nathaniel James Powell. He is also survived by his grandchildren – Timothy Mullaney, Luke Ragon, Cole Ragon, Clay Ragon, Ben Carpenter, Spencer Tichenor and Cameron Powell.
Services will be held at the Chapel at Lakewood Cemetery, 36th and Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis at 10 am on Saturday August 28. In lieu of flowers, donations would be appreciated to the Alzheimer’s Foundation or to the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota. Service will be live-streamed at https://vimeo.com/592930836/3c29811733
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