Southern Alameda County Buddhist Church Obon Festival 2018 Union City California

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Obon Festival at the Southern Alameda County Buddhist Church in Union City, California.

How Great Thou Art: In honor and memory of John Leo Powell

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How Great Thou Art
Traditional Swedish Melody
Pianist: Burnett Thompson, nephew of John Leo Powell
Piano: Steinway “A”, built in 1885
Performed in Falls Church, Virginia
October 16, 2015

John Leo Powell, 87, passed away on Oct. 7, 2015. Born in West Decatur, Pa., on June 13, 1928, to Boyd and Bessie Alverta (Kephart) Powell, Leo was the sixth of eight children. He first drove to Anchorage, Alaska, in 1951, during the summer of his junior year at Houghton College and returned to work as a school teacher in Unalaska (Dutch Harbor), Alaska, upon graduating in 1952. In 1953, he married his college sweetheart, Virginia Ferne Elmer, in Vernon, N.Y., and honeymooned by teaching her to drive up the Alcan Highway. Leo continued to teach in Unalaska, South Naknek and Eagle River, Alaska, through 1977, and commercial fished in Bristol Bay from 1956-1985. In 1977, he left teaching to work with Sohio Petroleum on the North Slope, before retiring in 1985. However, retiring did not mean slowing down for Leo. Instead, he fully devoted his time to Christian ministry in prisons, Bible camps, churches and Native Fellowships. Always ready with a joke, Leo used his life to demonstrate Christ and encourage others. Following heart surgery in 1999, he weekly visited heart patients at Alaska Regional Hospital to support them through hard times. Leo is survived by his wife, Virginia; his brother, Ronnie; his children and their spouses, Joy (John) McCall, Adele (Al) George, Bonnie (Don) Lenamond, Lucy O’Hara, Tim (Sandy) Powell and Ben Powell; and 14 grandchildren, April (Zach), Jonathon, Andrew (Chelsea), Christiana (James), Nikki, Heidi, Autumn (Matt), Tiana, Sam, Lynnea, Grace, Sonora, Addie and Jennica. His example for Christ, stance for what was right and loving leadership of his family will be greatly missed. His charge to his friends and family was to “please do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God.” He hoped his kids and grandkids would “love Jesus” and “love watermelon.” A memorial service will be held at Lazy Mountain Bible Church in Palmer, Alaska, on Oct. 17, 2015, at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Native New Life or Tanalian Bible Camp in Port Alsworth, Alaska. Arrangements were cared for by Valley Funeral Home, Palmer Chapel.