by Max Brantley
Friends bid farewell to Jim Powell at a memorial service this afternoon at Second Baptist Church. The retired Gazette editorial page editor died Wednesday at 90.
Glenn Beck would have hated it.
Ray Higgins and Matt Cook eulogized Jim in a manner keeping with the history of the downtown church Jim had attended for 50 years. They preached some mighty social justice, thundering just as Jim had in behalf of the poor, the oppressed and the immigrant.
Carolyn Y. Staley knocked her solo of "Amazing Grace" out of the park. She's running for state representative as a Democrat, by the way. Keep her in mind.
Faces in the crowd included: Judges current and former Bill Wilson, Bob Brown, John I. Purtle, Buzz Arnold and Wendell Griffen. Political figures included Dale Bumpers, Ray Thornton and state Rep. John Edwards. John Walker was among those in the crowd who had been key figures in the dramas Jim chronicled. Former Gazette colleagues included Jerry Dhonau, Ernie Dumas, Doug Smith, Bob McCord, Pat Patterson, Bill Lewis, Brenda Tirey and Chuck Heinbockel.
Jim's loves were much discussed. They included bream fishing, pink tomatoes and his family -- Ruth, his wife of 58 years, and sons Lee and the late James O. Powell Jr. Lee read one of his father's favorite poems, Tennyson's "Crossing the Bar."
Good funeral for a good man.