By ERIC SCHAADT
Judie Reed was worried because she hadn’t seen her friend, Alice Powell, in two weeks at the laundromat.
Reed asked the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office to check on her and arrived behind a sheriff’s cruiser at the rural Findlay home.
“I just needed to know where she was,” Reed said.
Powell was fine, and the two women shared a laugh. Reed joked she would return at 8 p.m. to take Powell to a “tryout” with the Rockettes dancers.
“Fine,” Powell replied. “I’ll be ready.”
Friends and family would not have been surprised.
Powell, well into her 90s, routinely drove herself to stores in Findlay and provided her cooking talents to her church.
Her trips included getting her hair done at Elder-Beerman in the Findlay Village Mall, shopping for clothes, and snacking at Wilson’s Sandwich Shop on South Main Street.
She took pride in being self-sufficient.
Alice M. Powell, 99, died Feb. 18 at Sunrise Assisted Living in Findlay. She had suffered from congestive heart failure, according to family members.
At the Colonial Laundromat on Trenton Avenue, where Reed works, Powell would do her laundry once, maybe twice a week and, for three years, the two women would share coffee and talk.
“She would never talk bad about anyone. She was very smart, very intellectual,” Reed said. “She was always as gracious as could be.”
Her daughter-in-law, Diane Powell of Findlay, said, “She drove her car up to the last few months of her life. She was a person who loved her independence and lived by herself on the family farm.”
If there was a secret to a long life, she did not mention it, family members said.
“It was just her outlook on life, and hard work,” said her daughter, Janet Cherry of Sherrodsville.
“She lived by example. She never preached.”
Alice Powell worked a 180-acre farm owned with her husband, Marion, on Hancock County 313 near Findlay. They were married in 1934. He died in 1964.
In 1964, Hancock County Sheriff William Bell mentioned he had a job opening for a sheriff’s dispatcher, a position Powell held for more than 10 years. Then, she worked at the Lima Avenue Produce for six years.
Her work ethic extended to baking for Powell Memorial United Methodist Church on Hancock County 313.
The church was built in 1883 on land donated by Marion Powell’s grandfather, Andrew Powell.
According to her obituary, Powell was an 80-year member of the church, taking part in its Ladies Aid and Friendly Bible Class.
She helped prepare dinners following funerals.
“She loved to cook and bake,” Cherry said.
Homemade noodles were one staple of the church’s fundraisers.
These noodles required several eggs to be cracked, and she separated the yolks and whites. A day and a half of cracking and separating eggs for noodles was required prior to each fundraiser.
“The women at the church were amazed at her,” her daughter recalled. “She was good at it.”
According to Diane Powell, the important ingredients of her cheesy potatoes, made for church activities, were “lots of onion and she always used sharp cheddar cheese.”
She also was determined to cook family dinners until health problems made that difficult. She fixed the family’s Thanksgiving dinner last November, and wanted to cook Christmas dinner, but suffered breathing problems.
“She was very determined,” her daughter recalled.
Health issues meant trips to the hospital and rehabilitation at Birchhaven, where she wanted to keep busy by playing cards, other games and puzzles, her daughter, Janet, noted.
Alice Powell’s final days were spent in an assisted-living facility.
Judie Reed was able to wish her friend a Merry Christmas, but never got the chance to say goodbye.
Reed tried to locate which Findlay assisted-living facility her friend had been taken to, without success.
Her boss called her to inform her that Powell’s obituary was in The Courier.
“She was already gone,” Reed recalled, “I just couldn’t believe it.”
“She was a spectacular mother,” Cherry said.
Diane Powell said, “Her life revolved around the things that were most important to her: family, friendships and church.”
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