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1927 Marie 2023

Marie Burnette Powers

March 21, 1927 — December 28, 2023

Farmville, VA

 

Marie Burnette Powers was born March 21, 1927, in Bedford, Virginia, the only child of
Sexton Crawford Burnette, known to all as “Red,” and Ruth Bandy Burnette.
Marie was a product of the Bedford County Public Schools, graduating from
Bedford High School, where early on she demonstrated her leadership potential as
president of the Torch-Y Girls Club, a civic-minded organization, during her freshman
year.
Unlike many young women of her generation, she chose to continue her
education after high school. She studied nursing at Virginia Baptist Hospital in Lynchburg
and at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, proudly earning to right to have the initials
“R.N.” after her name.
After her marriage to Page Powers in 1949 and the birth of her son Bill in
1951,she was employed as a registered nurse was at the at the Elks National Home in
Bedford, at that time home to as many as 500 men, and it was also her last. She rose to
become head of nursing there and retired after 41 years.
She was devoted to her work, but she definitely was not all work and no play.
She was known for her annual Twelfth Night parties (on Jan. 5, the 12th day of
Christmas), where a waiter served her legendary eggnog with its secret ingredient of
locally sourced apple brandy from a silver tray. She was an accomplished dancer of the
Charleston, which she enthusiastically executed in full flapper regalia in local variety
shows. She was on the guest list for just about every social event in her community and
had a reputation for being the life of the party.
She loved to travel, both in the U.S. and abroad. One memorable trip included
stops in Switzerland and at the von Trapp home (of Sound of Music fame) in Austria.
A lifelong history buff, she also spent her spare time on more serious endeavors.
She was a charter member of the Bedford Historical Society and was instrumental in the
successful effort to create the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford. She was a 60-year
member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Peaks of Otter Chapter. When
the chapter decided to compile a history of the 143 villages in Bedford County that, at
one time, had been large enough to include a post office, Marie volunteered and spent
several years researching and assisted writing two of the three volumes published in the
late 1990s, entitled Bedford Villages Lost and Found. Following her retirement from the
Elks Home, she was a docent at Poplar Forest, Thomas Jefferson’s country estate and
the National D-Day Memorial.
She was a member of Bedford Presbyterian Church and then Bedford Lutheran
Church.
She loved all animals and for years helped feed a colony of feral cats in Bedford in
addition to supporting the local SPCA.
She lost her husband Page in 1999 after 49 years of marriage. She leaves her son,
William Burnette Powers, and her daughter-in-law, Martha Edwards Powers, of
Farmville, Virginia.
Marie was a doting mother when Bill was a boy, getting up early to supervise his
turkey and squirrel hunting. When he was a teenager, she tolerated the box of
copperheads and rattlesnakes he often left on her back porch, a result of the love for

animals he inherited from his mother and extended to the slithering members of the
reptile family.
Survivors also include two grandsons: Matthew Burnette Powers and his wife,
Emily James Powers, of Chesterfield, Virginia; and John William Powers and his wife,
Logan Tyler Powers, of Roanoke, Virginia; and three great-grandchildren, Katherine,
Amy and Cole. Finally, she leaves her orange tabby, Bubba, who misses her but is
content in his new home.
A private service for family will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers,
memorials in Marie’s name may be made to Farmville Presbyterian Church at 200 West
Third St., Farmville, VA, 23901 or the Piedmont Area Veterans Council at P.O. Box 872,
Farmville, VA, 23901

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