Thomas Edward Powers

August 4, 1925 - September 18, 2022
Thomas Edward Powers

Thomas Edward Powers 97, of Wilmington, NC died Sunday, September 18, 2022 at the Bradley Creek Health Care Center.

Edward was born in Bogalusa, LA on August 4, 1925 to his late parents Norma Magee Powers and Edward Allen Powers. Also preceding him in death are a son Edward Allen Powers, II; and a sister Sara Powers Kelly.

He is survived by his wife of 73 years, Lou Bowen Powers; three daughters: Claire Powers Renner and husband Rob, Peggy Powers Failla and husband Sam, Susie Powers Hodges and husband Joe, his brother Dr. Robert Magee Powers; also survived by seven grandchildren: Katie Hodges LaPenna and husband Bobby, Becky Failla Zienkiewicz and husband Mark, John Edward Hodges and wife Rae, Samuel Allen Failla, Sarah Powers Failla, Jennifer Renner Cao and husband Ben, step-grandson Matthew Alexander Renner and seven great grandchildren: Sophia Malia Zienkiewicz, Savannah Elizabeth Zienkiewicz, Graham Sterling Zienkiewicz, Ruth Claire LaPenna, Rebekah Cate LaPenna, Magnolia Rae Hodges, and Noah Rick Hodges.

Ed served his country during WWII and was a Navy veteran. He graduated from Virginia Military Institute with a degree in Chemistry. He attended graduate school at Emory University studying Organic Chemistry, and he graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan Business School for Executives.

Ed joined Hercules Inc. in 1948 as a Chemist in its Research Center in Wilmington, DE. From 1949 until 1977 he served in positions of increasing responsibility in Marketing, Operations, and General Management in Milwaukee, WI, Atlanta, GA, New Orleans, LA, Savannah, GA, Franklin, VA, Spartanburg, SC, Wilmington, DE, and Wilmington, NC.

In 1996 Hercules Inc. and American Petrofina formed a new company named Hercofina. In 1977 he was promoted to President of Hercofina, moving the company and his family to Wilmington, NC. In 1981 Ed and the family returned to Wilmington, DE and he became President of Hercules Americas-East where he remained until he retired in 1994 in Wilmington, NC.

Active in community service, he was an elder of the First Presbyterian Church in Wilmington and a Director of the Foundation of the University of NC at Wilmington, DARE Inc. and the Committee of 100 (Wilmington Industrial Development Inc.). Ed served for ten years as Chairman of the Board for Cape Fear Hospital and also served on the boards of Wilmington’s Cooperative Savings and Loan, the Wilmington Shipping Company, and Southampton Memorial Hospital in Franklin, VA.

He was a former member of the Cape Fear Club and a member of Cape Fear Country Club and the Carolina Yacht Club.

Ed served as President of the Tidewater Camellia Club, the Atlantic Coast Camellia Society and the American Camellia Society (ACS). He and his wife, Lou, were both also Accredited Judges of ACS. Ed’s passions were hunting, fishing, skiing, golf, and raising camellias. He was well known throughout the camellia community for the quality and variety of his blooms. But most important of all to Ed was his family.

The family would like memorials contributions please be directed to the Tidewater Camellia Club c/o Fran Alexander, Treasurer 1332 Landfall Drive,  Wilmington, NC 28405 or First Presbyterian Church, 125 S 3rd St, Wilmington, NC 28401.

Please leave memories and condolences for Edwards family by signing the Tribute Wall below.

Wilmington Funeral & Cremation – Wilmington Chapel – 1535 S. 41st Street Wilmington, NC 28403 910.791.9099.


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  • September 24, 2022
    Jane Soviero says:
    My thoughts and prayers are with all of you, during this difficult time. -Jane Soviero

  • September 24, 2022
    Jane Soviero lit a candle:
    Lit since September 24, 2022 at 9:32:49 AM

  • September 23, 2022
    Eddie and Vicki Gibson says:
    We have many fond memories of Ed and will certainly miss him as a dear friend and neighbor. He was quick to share a smile, his camellias, and we even shared the same birthday! I hope the family knows how beloved he was to us all on Braxlo, and we are here for you if needed. Much love being sent to the entire Powers family!

  • September 23, 2022
    David and Anna Sheets says:
    Ed will be truly missed. He was always helpful with his time, knowledge and love of camellias.

  • September 23, 2022
    Deb Paylor lit a candle:
    Lit since September 23, 2022 at 9:28:59 AM