Art Powell, 76

Black & Decker engineer

November 06, 2007

Art Powell, a retired Black & Decker engineer, died of brain cancer Friday at the Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. The Baldwin resident was 76.

Born Arthur W. Powell in Chester, Pa., he earned a mechanical engineering degree at Drexel University, where he was in Army ROTC and the marching band.

He served in the Army in Huntsville, Ala. While at the Army Ballistic Missile Agency Space Program at the Redstone Arsenal, he worked with German-born rocket scientist Oscar Holderer. Mr. Powell returned to the arsenal in 1983 and found that the wind tunnel he designed and constructed was still in use, family members said.

In 1966, Mr. Powell joined Black & Decker in Towson and worked in sound and vibration engineering.

He worked for 28 years and continued as a consultant for several years after his retirement.

"He tested most every tool they made," said his son, Ronald M. Powell of Kingsville. "He loved being hands-on, and he could fix every Black & Decker tool ever made. He was a specialist."

While at Black & Decker, he earned a business degree from the Johns Hopkins University. He was awarded patents for his work on tools. As part of his duties, he tested the lunar surface drill used by NASA on the Apollo space missions.

Mr. Powell had many hobbies and interests, including military history. He built detailed miniature sailing vessels, including the Liberty Ship John Brown. He also built many clocks.

Family members described him as a devoted father who was very involved with his children's activities, including Boy Scouts and sports, and as someone who always emphasized the value of continual learning and education.

His motto was, "Do things the right way, the first time," his son said.

Mr. Powell was a member of the Carroll Manor Improvement Association and the Long Green Valley Lions Club.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday at Chestnut Grove Presbyterian Church on Sweet Air Road in Phoenix, where he had been a deacon, property committee member and Habitat for Humanity participant.

In addition to his son, survivors include his wife of 53 years, the former Barbara Mulloy; a daughter, Joyce P. Gromada of Windsor, Calif.; and two grandsons.

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