The memorial service for state Rep. Jay Powell, a straight-talking champion of rural issues and tax policy expert beloved by lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, has been set for this weekend.
Visitation for Powell will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday in Valdosta at the Carson McLane Funeral Home. A funeral will be at 12:30 p.m. Sunday at the First Baptist Church in Powell’s hometown of Camilla. More details can be found here.
Powell was a powerful advocate for rural Georgia and an authority on tax policy during his 10 years in the state House. He served for a year as the leader of the House Rules Committee, one of the most important positions in the statehouse.
He died Tuesday during a retreat of Republican legislative leaders at Brasstown Valley Resort at the age of 67. More remembrances of Powell, whose legacy was lauded by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, have trickled in from those who knew him best.
House Speaker David Ralston, one of his closest friends, posted on Facebook how the lawmaker served with “dignity, integrity and compassion.” He added:
Jay Powell enjoyed the friendship of many. Though our hurt can’t begin to compare to that of Deidra and the family, losing Jay has been so painful. I know. I have lost one of my closest and best friends. I cannot put into words the hurt and pain I have felt every minute since his passing.
I respectfully and earnestly ask for your prayers for Jay’s family and friends.
Though we grieve now, we celebrate the fact that our lives were made better because our paths intersected. We also rejoice in the knowledge that our loss is only for a season and then we will be reunited with him in our Father’s house.
So, to my friend, the gentleman from the 171st district: “so long, Mr. Chairman. I will see you down the road.”
Kaleb McMichen, one of Ralston’s top deputies, was also a close friend of Powell. He wrote that Powell didn’t have time for egos – “his or anyone else’s.” Here’s more:
He didn’t care who got the credit as long as the right thing got done. He was intelligent, generous, courageous, thoughtful, compassionate and fiercely, unflinchingly loyal. He was stubborn – in the very best sense in the world.
And he had an uncanny ability to distill an hour-long discussion into a single question or statement. He could slice through the superfluous with alacrity and with a sense of humor that put everyone else at ease.
And state Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur, wrote how the “real work world of the Georgia Capitol” fostered friendships and partnerships across party lines. Powell exemplified that spirit, she said:
He was usually the smartest and hardest working legislator in the room, but also the one I could trust the most. He showed up frequently when he was in Atlanta with his Episcopalian wife at my church, All Saints Episcopal, and he was a wonderful man. He gave me hope for true bipartisan partnerships, and I loved him. So very sad--sad for his family first, but also all of Georgia. May he rest in peace.
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