William Thomas (Bill) Powers JD ’68

02/07/2020

William Thomas (Bill) Powers JD ’68 passed away suddenly at home on November 30, 2019. He had just turned 71.

Bill was born in Portland on November 29, 1938, and spent the majority of his life in Portland and Lake Oswego. He attended both Columbia Prep and Central Catholic High School, studied at the University of Portland, and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon. Bill also served in the National Guard. He joined his father James Powers’ law practice, and the two formed a law firm that would last until James’ passing in 1982. Bill continued his law practice—which increasingly focused on elder law—in Sellwood until his retirement in 2007.

While studying at the University of Portland, Bill met the love of his life, Joan Mary Branagan. After their first date, Bill wrote a five-page letter to Joan declaring his love and a promise to marry her. On September 1, 1962, they wed. Joan and Bill raised four children in Lake Oswego and were together until his passing.

Bill coached city league and Catholic Youth Organization teams in basketball, soccer, and softball. He served as volunteer athletic director at Our Lady of the Lake Parish for years, and also volunteered for the Boy Scouts.

Bill had an infectious exuberance that touched everyone he met. He struck up conversations, shared Joan’s art and poetry, and handed out Starbucks gift cards with an enormous smile and limitless generosity. It is impossible to count the number of people moved by his energy and spirit over the course of his life. Bill was a lifelong Oregon Ducks superfan, weathering the ups and downs of his beloved team over decades. His closet contained enough Oregon Ducks sweatshirts to rival the U of O bookstore, and he had not been seen in colors other than green or yellow for years. Bill was thoroughly enjoying Oregon’s Civil War victory at the time of his death.

Bill is survived by his wife, Joan; sister Pat Sawyer; children Jim Powers, Margie Simenstad, Molly Powers, and Joe Powers; and grandchildren Tyler, Elsa, Alice, and Brady. He was predeceased by his father, James Powers; mother, Willetta Powers; and sister Betty Lynn Johnson.