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Robert A. Powers

Robert A. Powers

Robert A. Powers (age 88) passed away on June 8, 2020. He is survived by his two sons Patrick (Margaret Anne) of Richmond VA, and Michael of Springfield VA. He had three grandchildren Lt Zachary Powers, USN, of Bremerton WA, and Erinn and Mallory Powers, both of Richmond VA. Bob was predeceased by his devoted wife of 58 years, Betty Rae.

Born and raised outside of Boston, Bob was the youngest of six children in a large, Irish Catholic family. Growing up in a family that had fallen on hard times during the depression, he became a genius at repairing broken down engines, often repairing the cars of his father’s friends. After graduating from high school, he joined the Air Force and left for Korea after the war broke out. He later quipped, ‘I told them I wanted a career and they thought I said Korea!”

Upon returning home, his musical prowess was discovered by a local disc jockey, and the next thing you know he had enrolled at the Berklee School of Music. He sang professionally for a time and even landed a gig with Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey! Eventually he realized that a performer’s life wasn’t for him, but music continued to play a big role for the rest of his life.

While still a young man, he started work as a field representative for a cutting-edge photographic typesetting system. His technical skills led to a job at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines, where he installed a new printing press for the United States Information Agency (USIA). While in Manila, Bob met the love of his life, Betty Rae, with whom he would spend the next 58 years until her passing in 2019.

He subsequently became a Foreign Service Officer, and throughout his career, Bob and Betty Rae lived all over the world. He loved his work and always appreciated the friendships he made across the globe.

He had numerous adventures during his time abroad, tales of which he enjoyed sharing. In 1967, while at his second overseas posting in Lebanon, Bob ran the embassy evacuation during the Six Day War. As one of the last Americans left in blacked out Beirut, he received transfer orders to Vietnam. From the frying pan into the fire! On his next foreign assignment, while managing the Binational Center in Guadalajara Mexico, he noticed he was being followed to and from work. The US Consul General had been kidnapped the year before, so bodyguards were assigned to him and his family. His two sons thought that was pretty cool. This was followed by a posting in Santiago, Chile. After returning to Washington and studying at the Inter-American Defense College, Bob became the US Public Affairs Officer in Panama City, Panama, during the turnover of US Canal Zone to Panama.

Bob then took a sabbatical from the USIA to work for the Multinational Peacekeepers (MFO) overseeing the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. During this period, he was stationed in Tel Aviv, Israel, and Rome, Italy. He returned to the USIA and ran the Regional Program Office (RPO) in Vienna, Austria, where he had a front-row seat to witness the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe. He finished his career as a Senior Foreign Service officer in Washington, DC.

In his retirement Bob joined a writers group and began recording his life story. He penned individual stories until, over time, he amassed enough for a book. Unfortunately, age and cancer made it difficult for him to complete his quest. Finishing his book is now a goal for his sons. Bob lived life to the fullest with his sweetheart Betty Rae and loved every bit of it. Amazed at the life he lived, he often said “I never thought I would live this long!”

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the American Cancer Society.

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