Kenneth Ray Ken Powell
November 20, 1923 ~ September 29, 2020
We celebrate the long and happy life of Kenneth Ray (Ken) Powell, who died Sept. 29, from natural causes at age 96. Ken passed peacefully at home, under the loving care of his wife, Gilda, with family honoring them both from a distance.
Ken was a native of Camas, WA, raised in Oak Park by Dorothy and Bill Powell, with sister, Lorna.
He was married for 48 years to high school sweetheart, Katharine Anne (Kay) Powell (Chappell), and raised four children, Tracy, Sandy, Scott and Kenny. Ken was devoted to the family, including the children and spouses, eight grandchildren and their spouses and 12 great-grands. Ken was preceded in death by his wife, Kay and his son Kenny.
He found the second love of his life in Gilda Marie Powell (Ross). The couple was married in 1996, living first at the family acreage on Prune Hill and later in Vancouver. Gilda also has been devoted to the family and to Ken’s care throughout his long battle with cancer.
Ken Powell lived an energetic life of work, service, and dedication to church and family. During World War II, he was a pilot and pilot instructor.
The family returned to Camas and then soon followed Ken’s primary career as a store manager with the JC Penney Company. They moved among towns in the Puget Sound area and later to stores in Vancouver, Spokane, Portland (OR) and Modesto (CA). Ultimately, Ken managed the opening of the full-service Vancouver Mall Penney store.
In retirement, Ken continued his love of gardening and the out-of-doors, summiting Mount Hood at age 65.
Ken also had a passion for civic and church involvement, as Port of Camas-Washougal commissioner and in leadership positions with several local boards and commissions.
He was an elder and deacon at St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Camas and a member of Columbia Presbyterian in Vancouver.
In those later years, Ken was most proud of a park’s project near his boyhood home in Camas. He discovered that land along the lower Washougal River had been spared development, so he designed and helped implement a plan for land acquisitions by the City of Camas. This became the Washougal River Greenway, whose three-mile trail is enjoyed by many residents and visitors today.
A private graveside memorial service will be held, to be followed by a celebration of life at an appropriate, COVID-safe time.
In lieu of flowers, remembrances in Ken’s name may be contributed to Compass Oncology Vancouver Cancer Center or Columbia Presbyterian Church.