Dean Simmons Powell

May 18, 1951May 26, 2018

Dean Simmons Powell, 67, died peacefully at his home in Lake Worth, FL on May 26, 2018. He was born May 18, 1951 in Portsmouth, VA to the late Ray R. and Gladys Dowe Powell. Mr. Powell is survived by brothers Rayburn and Rick Powell (partner Christine Zachai), sister Laurie O’Leary (Joe) and by nieces and nephews: Kirsten Metheny, Natalie Powell, Dean O’Leary, and Bobby Powell. Dean considered several long-time buddies his brothers. He was a devoted son, brother, uncle, neighbor, colleague, and friend to many. He is dearly missed by his canine companion, Coconut.

Dean spent his early childhood in Texas and California, then Norfolk, VA, where he graduated from Norview High School. He completed his B.S. degree at Virginia Tech in 1973 and later earned a Master’s degree in Oceanography from Old Dominion University. He loved exploring the VA mountains and fishing offshore at the Outer Banks of NC. But Dean was drawn farther south by opportunities to work in the unique South FL aquatic ecosystem. Starting with the Department of Environmental Regulation in 1986, he shortly moved over to the South FL Water Management District as a Sr. Engineer. He soon began moving up through management ranks, retiring in 2016 as Director of the Water Supply Department. Over his 30-year career with the District, he played a key role in many restoration projects and programs supporting the Everglades, Kissimmee River, Florida Bay, and Biscayne Bay. Dean Powell was the consummate professional who made a tangible and enduring difference in the health and preservation of South Florida’s water systems.

He lived a full and adventurous life. Dean loved the outdoors— was an avid boater, diver, fisherman, and horticulturalist. He loved science, his yard, travel, really LOUD music, VA Tech football, cooking, and a good martini. Dean had a passion for quality in all he did and enjoyed. He was generous with his time and energy, helping anyone who asked. He was on the verge of relocating to Islamorada to begin his long-planned retirement in paradise. Dean will be missed dearly but not forgotten by those who knew and loved him.

Rest in peace, Skipper.

On Saturday, July 28th at 10AM, family and friends are invited to gather informally at Dean’s Lake Worth home to share memories and say farewell. (For specifics, leave contact information here in your remembrance.) On Sunday the 29th the immediate family will take his ashes to the Keys for distribution at some of his favorite fishing holes and island-hopping spots.

Memorial donations may be made to

The Nature Conservancy or to Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control.


Dean Simmons Powell

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Iris Blackburn Kraft

July 22, 2018

I am heartbroken to just find out that Dean has passed away.Not only have I been Deans Dental Hygienist for the last 19 years, but also considered myself his friend.I saw him in January and he was due to see me last week when i was told of his passing.I was stunned to say the least.I know he was so looking forward to moving to the Keys and assured me he would still make the trip every 6 months to come up to get his teeth cleaned.What a compliment to me!Everytime I saw Dean we would share stories of our recent endeavors.We talked about our moms often,my travels to see my mom in germany and his travels.We would laugh about us both owning SCIONS and being the only few people who still knew how to drive a Stick Shift!!!And of course our love for our Dogs,I have 2 myself and knew all about Coconut and how coconut hated riding in the Van!!!He really Loved that Dog.Dean you were an exeptional human being and I will miss you.RIP
A Friend Loves at all Times.Proverbs 17:17

Yvonne Church

June 11, 2018

I am so amazingly sad to have learned about my good friend Dean that is no longer with us.
We have come a long way, I started working in Lake Worth as a stylist in 2002 when I immigrated from South Africa. Dean was one of my first clients I had the privilege of doing and for the last 16 years he had followed me all over Palm Beach county. I also did moms hair a few times when she was able to still visit, and before she finally moved down to Florida.
Dean was such a loving, kind and adventurous man, he told me about the fishing and lobstering in the keys, and his home there which he was going to improve, also about the Lake Worth home's improvements.
Every time Dean came to get his hair done, when I was doing it at my house, our little dog Minnie, busted out of her skin of excitement to see him. Dean also recommended some medication for her, that he gave his doggy. She responded so well to it and he actually brought us some to try before we bought it because it was not readily available.
Dean was one of my first clients that I did when I opened up my Studio in Boynton Jan of 2017. Here is a picture of him and another loyal client,
I saw Dean just before his procedure for his knee and sent him a birthday wish and communicated with him on May 22, never knowing that it was last.
You will be missed my friend, sad you had to go so early.
Yvonne, Tracy and Minnie Church

Deepest sympathy with all the family

Jane Burchett

June 10, 2018

Dean's sister, Laurie, is most like a sister to me. Way back, in the 70's, I was often invited when she went home to her mother's house in Norfolk. It was typically a holiday and all siblings were in attendance. These brothers adored their mother and could be found showing it when I visited. Dean was the 'big, freckled guy' to me. I believe he most resembled his mother due to the freckles. Each brother was a man unto himself and each could tolerate long periods of independence from family ties. One thing is for sure, they are all opinionated, but will seldom voice it - unless coerced. I finally felt at home with them when they came to act like brothers to me, in that, they would poke fun at me. Because Dean was the brother living farthest away, the longest I saw him was when he came to Kirsten's wedding and I was a frequent visitor to Betsy. Betsy was anticipating Rayburn's arrival. Rayburn and Dean could reunite on a dime. Their conversations in the next room were 'smooth' but, for me, it felt like a private club and I seldom entered that room. I felt I could be with them when the Scrabble board came out later in the evening because it always did. I talked with Dean during that visit before Rayburn's arrival and enjoyed his stories. Little did I know that Dean wasn't much on 'talking" women, just like his big brother. I was mortified when I showed up for dinner the night before the wedding with a severe case of laryngitis, hoping for real sympathy. Dean was the most delighted and Rayburn joined in rejoicing my inability to speak. I liked my 'borrowed' brother very much because he came to act like one.

Philip Elson

June 8, 2018

Dean was my best friend. Not sure what I'm going to doing without him. There is a whole in my life that will never be filled. - Love You Skipper, Philip