Community mourns passing of ‘true patriot’

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, December 29, 2015

World War II veteran and American patriot Rogers Powell died Monday, December 28, 2015 at the age of 90.

Former Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford said there has been no greater patriot in Pike County than Rogers Powell.

“What better can you say about a man than he loved God, his family and his country,” Lunsford said. “Rogers was one of the most dedicated patriots and one of the finest men I have ever known. He served his country during wartime and, for all his life, he honored his country and those who served. He was a true patriot.”

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Powell served in the United States Army from July 1944 until June 1946. He served with an armored infantry division in Europe and Germany. He was in a replacement division at the Battle of the Bulge.

Randy Ross, Pike County Veterans Affairs officer, said Powell told him that, when he was honored as a WWII veteran in Washington in May 2004, the dedication ceremony impressed upon him that many veterans would never have that recognition.

“He was determined that they would be honored in Troy and Pike County,” Ross said. “Rogers took it upon himself to lead the efforts to erect a monument that would honor the American veterans of all wars. That was Rogers’ dream and his mission.

“In June 2005, the Soldiers Memorial was dedicated on the lawn of the Pike County Courthouse. A lot of people contributed to the memorial but it was Rogers Powell’s dedication and commitment that brought it about.”

Bill Stone was Pike County probate judge at that time and he said, too, that Powell was the one who dreamed up the monument and was the main promoter for the design and placing of the monument.

“Rogers was committed to the placing of a monument that would pay tribute to all the men and women who had served in our country’s wars and campaigns,” Stone said. “He came to the courthouse often to discuss the project with me and he would sit and talk about his experiences in the military. What he experienced was hard on him and he knew that so many other men and women had experienced the horrors and hardships of war. He wanted to do something as an outward expression for what those people had given in service to their country. Knowing those horrors and hardships drove him to see that a monument was erect to them. What he did, he did out of concern for those who served their country.”

Ross said Powell came home from WWII and went on with his life.

“Rogers had a successful business, raised a family and became a beacon for veterans,” he said. “He was a member of all the service organizations – Disabled Veterans, the American Legion and the VFW. He continued to serve his country through those organizations and by working tirelessly for veterans’ rights. He exemplified ‘service to country.’ He served when he was called to war and he continued to serve the rest of his life because that’s the kind of man Rogers was. He was a true American patriot.”

Powell, a native of Rutledge, was a member of Woodmen of the World and a deacon emeritus at Southside Baptist Church in Troy.

Powell will be buried with military honors at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Green Hills Cemetery. Visitation will be from noon until 2 p.m.