Editor's Note: This obituary was submitted by Phyllis Merys Powers, the wife of Lee Robert Powers who was an Artesia resident and administrator in the ABC Unified School District for fifteen years.
Powers, Lee Robert
November 30, 1933-January 30, 2012
Lee Robert “Doc” Powers, EdD, died peacefully in Downey, CA on January 30th, spending his final days surrounded by loving family and friends.
He was the youngest of three children born to the late James and Erma Powers on November 30, 1933, in Torrance, CA. The family soon moved to the Santa Ynez Valley, CA where he grew up.
Lee graduated from Santa Ynez Valley Union High School where he had been a scholar and star athlete who lettered in varsity basketball, football and baseball. The joys and memories of childhood, family and farm life in the Valley forever held a special place in Lee’s heart and helped define him.
Lee continued to play varsity sports throughout college.
He graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1955 with a bachelor’s degree. After graduation, Lee served in the Army Reserves. Lee received his Master’s degree from California State University, Long Beach, in 1957, after which he began his celebrated 42-year career in education. Lee also received a Doctorate in Education at the University of Southern California in 1966.
Lee started as a high school coach and teacher. He loved his time coaching, refining his skills under mentors such as John Wooden. He went on to become a counselor, a vice principal, and then a principal. Lee retired as Principal of the Adult Education at the ABC Unified School District in Cerritos, CA, after 13 years in 1999.
While at ABC, “Doc” was committed to providing access to education for all ages, from infant to senior citizens. He initiated and dedicated the Cerritos Senior Center and was innovative in providing services for the first time to those who had been traditionally neglected through programs at Twin Palms and College Hospital. He also initiated distance learning in ABC for ESL, and he supervised the growth of adult education for independent study students and teen parents at a new facility at Cabrillo Lane School.
Lee married Elma DeRemer in 1961. During their thirty-year marriage, they raised three children: Sharon, Sam and Stephanie. Lee was a dedicated and loving father who encouraged his children to pursue their dreams and who supported them in their endeavors.
Lee married Phyllis Merys in 2007. Lee enjoyed his final years with Phyllis traveling and spending time with their friends and extended family.
Throughout his life, Lee cherished time with family who enjoyed his wry wit and sense of humor and admired and appreciated him.
While he loved many kinds of music, he especially enjoyed music from the Big Band era and classical music sung by tenors such as Luciano Pavarotti and Mario Lanza. Lee was also an accomplished and enthusiastic “swing” dancer.
Lee will be dearly missed. He is survived by his wife, Phyllis; daughters Sharon Powers and Stephanie Scales (Christopher); son , James “Sam” Powers; step-children Christina Smith, Catherine Hornberger (Gary), Elizabeth Johnson (Brian) and Matthew Merys; eight grandchildren; and sister, Jean McConnaghy.
A memorial to celebrate Lee’s life will be held on February 18th at 10:30 am at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 17909 Bloomfield Ave., Cerritos, CA 90703. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org).