John W. 'Jack' Powder, 70, CPA, computer innovator

August 12, 1996

John W. "Jack" Powder, a certified public accountant who designed the first computerized financial data-processing systems for nine public school systems on the Eastern Shore, died Wednesday of an apparent heart attack at home in Phoenix. He was 70.

He graduated from Towson High School in 1943 and joined the Army during World War II. He was discharged in 1946 and was a member of the Army Reserve until 1956.

In 1950, he earned a degree in accounting and business administration at the University of Maryland College Park, where he was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma fraternity.

He worked for the accounting firm Ernst & Ernst until 1962, when he joined the Maryland Department of Education, first as supervisor of finance, then as chief of the division of audits and accounts.

In 1967, he started Data Center Inc. The Salisbury-based company designed the data-processing systems for the Eastern Shore school systems. He retired and closed the business in 1987.

During retirement, he built a workshop at his home and taught himself woodworking.

"At first, he built beautiful chessboards, and eventually he could go look at a piece of furniture and do it," said his wife of 40 years, the former Henrietta "Etta" Shearer. "The last thing he made was a butler's table with inlay. It was beautiful."

He was a member of the Maryland and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and a charter member of the Hunt Valley Golf Club.

A memorial Mass will be offered at 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, 101 Church Lane in Cockeysville.

Other survivors include a daughter, Jacqueline Powder, and a son, John Derek Powder, both of the Baltimore area.

Pub Date: 8/12/96

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