School Namesake Passes Away

It is with deep sadness that I tell you that Mr. Lawrence Powell passed away Thursday, May 2nd. He was a dedicated educator for 36 years . Twenty-six of those years were spent in Northside School District.  He served as Principal of Thunderbird Hills from 1974-1989. Please keep his wife and children in your prayers.

Lawrence R. Powell Jr.

Published in Express-News on May 12, 2013

Lawrence R. Powell, Jr. passed away peacefully Thursday, May 2, 2013 with family and pets at his bedside. Lawrence was born in Houston, TX on October 7, 1927. Following graduation from San Antonio's Jefferson High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Navyserving at the end of WW II on the Battleship Texas. After his military service, Lawrence entered college and followed his passion by playing football and baseball at Southwestern University. When Southwestern ended their collegiate football program, Lawrence transferred to Trinity University where he continued to excel in both sports. He graduated from Trinity with a Bachelor's degree in Physical Education and later earned a Master's degree in Educational Administration from Sul Ross State University.
Lawrence married Barbara Jean Erfurth in San Antonio on January 11, 1952. His professional life was devoted to the coaching, development and education of kids, in which he spent 36 years as a teacher, coach and educational administrator. Lawrence began his educational career with a short teaching and coaching stint at LaCoste (Texas) High School. Lawrence and family moved to Del Rio, TX in 1954 where he taught history and coached football, basketball (boys and girls) and baseball. After several years, he was promoted to Head Football Coach and Athletic Director and worked in this capacity until May 1966. Lawrence's coaching career was earmarked by a number of accomplishments, including leading Del Rio High School's football team to District and Bi-District championships in 1961 and 1965. Of particular pride to Lawrence was a featured article in the December 1960 issue of Ebony magazine that highlighted the fact of Del Rio High School having the first Black athlete to quarterback an integrated varsity high school football team, anywhere in the SOUTH.
In 1966, Lawrence and family returned to San Antonio and he spent two (2) years as Head Football Coach and Assistant Principal at John Marshall High School. In 1968, Lawrence retired from coaching, moving full-time into educational administration. He continued as an administrator in the Northside Independent School District (NISD) for 21 years until his retirement in 1989. For the majority of this 21 year period, Lawrence was Principal at Thunderbird Hills Elementary School, which was renamed Lawrence Powell Elementary School in 1992 to acknowledge his dedicated service to the education of children and to NISD.
While Lawrence enjoyed many successes in his life, he also overcame hardship. In the early 1950s he fought and survived a battle with polio and in 1973 a brain tumor was surgically removed which left him deaf in his right ear and suffering from facial paralysis making hearing, speaking and swallowing difficult.
Lawrence was preceded in death by his parents Lawrence Raymond and Myrtle Lee Powell, and sister-in-law Cathy Powell. He is survived by his wife of 61 years Barbara, brother Boone Powell and wife Dianne, son Larry and wife Mirian, son Darel, daughter Sharon Powell and husband Jerry Schantz. Grandchildren include Brandi Rhodes, DJ Powell, Jeff Fowler, Ashley Powell, Anne Powell and eight (8) great-grandchildren. He is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews and his family of cats and dogs.
The family would like to extend special thanks to Lawrence's home / hospice caregivers, Doug Burt, Richard Merta, Patricia Nunez and Brandy Soto.
A gathering of family and friends will be held to celebrate Lawrence's life on Saturday, May 18, 2013 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm at St. John's United Methodist Church, 2002 Bandera Road, San Antonio, TX 78228.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests the following ways to acknowledge Lawrence's life and his passion for the welfare of animals: By adopting a homeless cat or dog in your neighborhood / animal shelter, or making a donation to your local Humane Society or animal shelter. You may sign the on-line guest book at http://www.missionparks.com/ under the obituary section.