John Osborne Powell

17 febrero , 193913 septiembre , 2021

John Osborne Powell was born in Toronto to Ernest Osborne Powell and Catherine Marion Powell (Burkholder) on February 17, 1939, and passed away peacefully in Kelowna on September 13, 2021 surrounded by family. In 1976, John and Dawn were married in Kelowna, and they have two children: Daphne (Adam) and Scott (Carey). He is survived by his immediate family, his brother Gordon (Gwen) in Halifax, NS, and many in-laws, nieces, and nephews. He was a proud and loving grandad to three granddaughters (Ayden, Lila, and Clara). He is deeply missed and loved by his family and many friends. John lived a BIG life. He didn’t need things to be overly planned; if he believed in the cause, then he was committed. He threw himself into projects and made things happen, and always with the best of intentions, curiosity, compassion, and love at the heart of it.

Here are some highlights from his life:  Japanophile: Before it was trendy, John taught English in Japan (1964) and visited many times in his retirement.  Student: John was a proud UBC grad (BA in 1966), and participant with Society for Learning in Retirement.  Teacher: He was a devoted high school teacher for 33 years. He led and participated in countless domestic and international field trips. He taught French, Geography, and Social Studies.  Aspiring Politician: John ran three times for the federal NDP and twice for the Kelowna City Council.  Performer: John participated in several operas and theatre performances at the Kelowna Community Theatre.  Francophile: A year-long sabbatical to France in the 80s had a tremendous influence on his life and career.  Wine Connoisseur: Touring wineries and drinking wine was a big love. There is always wine in the Powell house, and a full glass ready for you.  Aspiring Minister: John led the Christmas Day service at First United Church for many years.  Volunteer Extraordinaire: BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) delegate, NDP delegate, founding volunteer with Inn from the Cold, community outreach programs (sandwich maker!), refugee sponsor, homestay family, devoted book seller/fundraiser for the church, and so much more.  Event Planner: Chair of the Okanagan Choral Society and organizer of the Cascade of Choirs. John brought in choirs from all over western Canada and the U.S. He also threw a good party (mostly thanks to his wife Dawn!).  Photographer: John was obsessed with taking photos of everything he did and of his family. They weren’t good photos, but they were plentiful.  Sailor: John discovered the pleasures of Caribbean sailing in retirement.  World Traveller: John and Dawn spent many happy years together sailing, cruising, visiting resorts in in Mexico, and exploring the world during his retirement years. Making many new friends, and deepening friendships along the way.

Through it all, music and singing remained a passion. From a start with the French horn and church choirs as a youth in Toronto, to signing with the AURA Chamber Choir and the First United Church Choir. John LOVED choral music. This beautiful, busy, and varied life brought many people in contact with John, and that’s just the way he liked it. He loved to have former students stop him in the streets with a “Hi, Mr. Powell”, he loved meeting new people, and catching up with acquaintances. He was a communicator and loved to be connected to his friends and family. He loved his home in the Okanagan, and was always pleased to be the tour guide and share his knowledge of the area.

John, we are sad to see you go, but we are grateful for all that you taught us about friendship, leadership, citizenship, and love along the way.

You can share your stories with the family at A memorial service will be held at a later date. (Contact the family for more information).

Arrangements entrusted with First Memorial Funeral Services, Kelowna, BC 250-762-2299


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John Osborne Powell


Denise Milne (Hole)

19 septiembre , 2021

Mr.Powell was a really good,funny,caring person I had it rough in highschool never had anyone who cared about me in fact bullied alot,but Mr.Powell made me believe in myself kept me smiling and helped me through alot of rough times when I really just wanted to quit and give up.I didn't even want to come to school . Mr.Powell was like the one person who I noticed smiling alot hard to feel bad or upset when someone taller than you smiles at you and says its ganna be ok I'm here to help you never give up. Mr.Powell I will never ever forget you because of you I've grown to be a better person and to help others.

Rest in peace 🙏 God Bless you and your Family.

Megan Ross

19 septiembre , 2021

I am so sorry to hear of this loss. Mr. Powell was a fun and passionate teacher, one that I’m privileged to have had for several years for many different classes. My biggest memory is a grade 12 Geography class trip to Victoria. How he managed to wrangle that many teenagers with a smile on his face I still can’t figure out! My sincerest condolences to his family. He was a lovely man and will be missed by many.

tom Polmear

19 septiembre , 2021

What sad news...deepest condolences to Dawn, Daphne and Scott.
I wish life had allowed our paths to cross more often. However, I will always remember meeting and working with John on his first federal campaign. Me, just a few years out of high school and him, just a few years back in high school teaching. John came across as genuine in generosity and spirit. And if If I could be so bold, very Jack Layton like - for those who remember the former NDP leader. In that light I'm sure John would want us all to continue being loving, hopeful and optimistic. Particularly in these times. It was his recipe for a life well lived.

Laurie Reid

18 septiembre , 2021

You were one of the best teachers I ever had!
You tried to explain that bridge to me, yup I never got it.
You made a difference in my life, and believe it or not. I learned so much from you! L