Cordele Dispatch, Cordele, GA

Local news

September 15, 2009

Jody Powell’s death stuns community

VIENNA – Friends and relatives here are mourning the unexpected and sudden death Monday of a native son, Jody Powell, who is better known to the world as White House press secretary during the administration of former President Jimmy Carter.

Powell was stricken at his home near Cambridge on Maryland’s eastern shore while he was outside working with firewood. Someone reportedly was helping him, but stepped away for a few minutes and when he returned, found Powell lying on the ground.

The 65 year old had a history of heart disease and apparently suffered a fatal attack Monday afternoon.

In a statement following the announcement, Carter called Powell’s death “a great personal loss,” and added, “I will miss him dearly.”

Carter was once quoted as saying, “Jody Powell knows me better than anyone else except my wife.”

In his statement Monday, the former President continued, “Jody was beside me in every decision I made as a candidate, governor and president and I could always depend on his advice and counsel being candid and direct. No one worked more closely with me than Jody.”

A local cousin, Steve Morgan said, “I was always proud to know him and to be kin to him. Family connection was really important to Jody.”

In fact, Powell’s mother, June Powell said he was planning to write a book about his family. “We had talked for several hours, and he had taped a lot of information,” she said. He never got that project going, however.

Morgan said he always looked forward to Powell’s visits home. “I felt honored to talk with him. He was the smartest man I’ve ever known.”

In talking with him, Morgan said Powell had a way of putting things in perspective so that you could understand what he was talking about even if you didn’t agree with him.

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