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John H.'s Story

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John “Jack” H. Powers, III, 82, formerly of Gloucester, Mass., and Somersworth, N.H., passed away peacefully on Sunday, August 27, 2017, surrounded by his family. A beloved and loving family man, John was an iconic educational leader, serving as superintendent of Schools for both the Somersworth, N.H., and Oyster River (Durham, N.H.) school districts for 30 years.
Born in Gloucester on October 6, 1934, to John H. and Priscilla (Whitmarsh) Powers, he leaves behind his wife of 60 years, Marie (Byrnes) Powers; sons, Michael and his wife, Sandy (Bowen) Powers of Barrington, N.H., David and his wife, Caroline (King) Powers of Santa Barbara, Calif.; daughters, Lisa McNulty and her husband, Michael of Somersworth, Jennifer Powers of Dover, N.H.; and his grandchildren, Sara, Alison, Maxx, Ivy, Jeffrey, John Henry, Harry and Liam; along with many nieces and nephews. He is survived by his sister, Lois Arnold and her husband, Richard Arnold of Gloucester and brother in-law, Joe Trowbridge of North Billerica, Mass., and predeceased by his brother, Robert Powers, and sisters, Phyllis Trowbridge, Margaret Ann Hinckley, and Carolyn Rittenburg.
Jack was a graduate of Gloucester High School, Class of 1952, and went on to further his education at East Stroudsburg State Teachers College in Pennsylvania, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education. He then earned his Master's Degree at Penn State University in 1957.
One of the original “Champions for Children,” he instituted a philosophy of individualized instruction for all students, which eventually was adopted as the district philosophy by the Oyster River School Board in 1970. Though he retired in 1997, to this day, many teachers, former students, parents and school administrators speak with fondness and affection about his visionary leadership, integrity, humility, and conviction.
Of his many successful philosophy’s was his belief that a school was “only as good as what it did for its most-challenged and at-risk learner.” In recognition of his dedication to children first, and his inspirational leadership, the John Powers School was established in 1998, which continues to this day to serve the needs of students with emotional and behavioral challenges in Strafford County.
While deeply dedicated to his profession, John’s true joy in life came from his love of sport, and more importantly his family. His biggest fan and life partner, Marie, was always there to support him, and his love for his children and their pursuits led to a life fully lived. He was a tremendous mentor to all his family and loved nothing more than a day on Good Harbor Beach, body-surfing, playing wiffle ball, and laughing with friends and family. He will be remembered for his warm smile and ability to make everyone feel special.
His funeral Mass will be celebrated on Thursday, August 31, at 9:30 a.m. in St. Ann’s Church, Holy Family Parish at 9:30 a.m. Relatives and friends are cordially invited to attend. The burial will be held privately. Visiting hours in the Greely Funeral Home will be held on Wednesday from 4 to 8 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in his memory to the John Powers School, c/o Kevin Murphy, 317 Main Street, Somersworth, NH 03878. Arrangements by the Greely Funeral Home, 212 Washington St., Gloucester. For online condolences, please visit www.greelyfuneralhome.com.
Published on  August 29, 2017
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