John M. Taylor Funeral Home

147 Duke OF Gloucester ST, Annapolis, MD


William "Bill" Rufus Powell

March 3, 1943December 30, 2019

William (Bill) Rufus Powell, 76, devoted husband of Mary Soria Powell, died peacefully at home with his wife by his side after a brief and courageous battle with cancer on December 30, 2019. Bill was fond of telling friends his wife of 25 years was the “love of his life, his angel.” Bill and Mary were inseparable and resided together in Annapolis for 25 years. Born on March 3, 1943 in Easton, he was raised by his beloved grandparents Rufus and Evelyn Radcliffe on their chicken farm near Centerville, MD. He was honest, no nonsense, unpretentious and was not impressed by fools or fakery. His essential character was formed on the Eastern Shore with his grandparents. He was hardworking, generous and kind, and helped both friends and casual acquaintances: tutoring a friend to help him get his captains license, helping friends fix their boats, and anonymously delivering gardening tools to a neighbor are a just few examples of his generosity that are too numerous to mention. He was an avid woodworker and spent his last days in his garage wood shop making 286 wooden toy cars to give to children in need this Christmas. He and Mary were regulars at the Federal House in Annapolis, and Bill would often take the staff fishing and also visit the kitchen to sneak some brownies. He was an active member of the Fleet Reserve Club and the Annapolis Yacht Club, where Bill and Mary felt the staff was their family. Bill was the great, great grandson of Captain William Henry Burtis whose home is the last waterman’s home on City Dock in Annapolis. Bill and Mary were instrumental in a decades long campaign to save the Burtis House at City Dock to preserve the history of watermen in Annapolis. Bill was a true Maryland waterman himself. His career was spent on the water, and, naturally, his main hobby was boating and kayaking. He was a Tug-Boat Captain for Corman and McClain for many years and a Maryland Bay Pilot Boat skipper delivering Bay Pilots, in both fair weather and howling gales, to freighters bound for the Port of Baltimore. He enjoyed all things related to the water: building boats and kayaks and an expert water skier. he enjoyed scuba diving and founded the Annapolis Scuba Center. He enjoyed bringing friends from all parts of his life out on his boat to fish or cruise or to visit the Eastern Shore for a crab feast. His time in the Army was also focused on the water. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1966 where he graduated from Navy Dive School and served in South Vietnam and offshore aboard the USNS Corpus Christi Bay. While serving in Vietnam, Bill ran dive, salvage and transport operations in the Mekong River Delta as well as the Gulf of Tonkin. His boat came under fire many times and was once sunk in shark infested waters. The crew survived because the sharks ate the food they had been delivering. Bill and his crew were rescued by an Australian Navy boat. This experience made him cool under pressure for the rest of his boating life. He liked to jokingly point out to friends in Annapolis that the Army has more boats than the Navy. Predeceased by his grandparents and his parents, William Harvey Powell and Mary Emma Radcliffe, he is survived by his wife Mary Soria Powell, his daughter Heather Powell Crowder and his grandchildren Caroline and Elizabeth Crowder. A memorial gathering for family and friends will be held at John M. Taylor Funeral Home 147 Duke of Gloucester Street Annapolis, Maryland 21401 on Monday January 13, 2019 from 5 to 7 PM. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Hospice of the Chesapeake.In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Hospice of the Chesapeake.


  • Memorial Gathering Monday, January 13, 2020


William "Bill" Rufus Powell

have a memory or condolence to add?

Maureen Marsh

January 17, 2020

All our prayers are with you at this very sad time, Mary. I hope your loving memories of Bill will offer comfort and solace. With great sympathy, Mo Marsh and Dave McCloskey

Jeff Johnson

January 15, 2020

I met Bill not long after he opened Annapolis Scuba. Bill was always a gentleman, fair and even tempered. I loved that man. I had not known he was ill as ive been caught up with work the last 10 years and we fell out of touch. I would call him every couple years and say hi.

One memory i have of Bill is diving off his boat in the chesapeake. As divers surfaced with their required reserve air still in the tanks Bill would find one with MAYBE 1000 psi, or a third of a tank. He'd then throw it under his arm. I asked him "what are you doing?" His response, "i'm taking it in for another dive". And in he'd go just holding it under his arm! The smile, as you see in the announcement SHINNING on his face. Bill made a HUGE impact in my life and i will forever remember him.

Jennifer Panik

January 13, 2020

My deepest condolences on Bill's passing. My heart breaks for you. I wish you strength for today, hope for tomorrow, and comfort in your years of wonderful memories together. I will continue to keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

Jennifer Panik and family

Elaine Bachmann

January 13, 2020

Dear Heather, John, and girls:
Sending sincere condolences to you upon the loss of your beloved father, father-in-law, and grandfather. Heather, what a wonderful legacy he has in you and your beautiful daughters, who will surely carry his memory with them for all their lives.
Elaine Bachmann

Deborah Webster

January 13, 2020

Dear Heather, John, Caroline & Ellie,
My deepest sympathy to all of you for the loss of Billy P. Heath, I remember so sweetly your stories of you and your dad exploring the world far and near and the cool adventures you had together. No doubt he treasured those times as much as you do but I am sure the real treasure was when he became a grandparent to your sweet girls. Keep those lovely memories close as you walk through these sad days. Hugs to all of you. ox, Deborah, AG & Charlotte

Pamela Cole Dinlay

January 12, 2020

Bill lived life to the fullest and the love he and Mary had for each other was both unique and inspiring. Bill never complained about anything and never missed a chance to help someone else. He was brave, kind and a man of his word. Mike and I both agree we have never met anyone like Bill and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to know him. He’s watching over you Mary and always will until you are together again
Our deepest sympathy Pam and Mike

Linda Albro

January 11, 2020

A generous and fun person, Bill will be missed. A great man and wonderful husband to Mary. I will fondly remember the great conversations we had throughout the years.

Chris Knight

January 9, 2020

Mary and Heather, very sorry to hear of Bill’s passing. Please accept my deepest sympathy. May you hold your memories close to your heart.

Joe Rubino

January 8, 2020

It always made my day to see Bill and Mary in downtown Annapolis. Bill always had a big smile and a story for me. Two great people, and together a great couple. Bill and his family are a part of Maryland history. Bill will always be missed, and remembered, as part of the fabric of Annapolis History.

Brian Porter

January 7, 2020

A loss for the entire city of Annapolis. Everybody knew Bill, he would find his way to many restaurants/clubs back doors & kitchens and talk & joke with the staff. Always had a coke ready for him at the Fleet. His favorite pastime was driving around town and talking with people about everything from flooding to the best burgers in town, then would say he needed to get home to Mary and off he went in the black jeep. He will be deeply missed. Rest in Peace.