Edward Knox “E.K.” Powe, III, a lifelong Durham resident, died peacefully in his sleep on February 6, 2011 from causes related to Parkinson’s Disease following a life of dedication and service to his family, his church, his profession and the community.
E.K., a lifelong Durham resident, will be remembered as, a truly special man who never made himself the center of attention, practicing law with the highest standard of integrity and propriety. He balanced his quiet and contemplative manner with an ever-present sense of humor and wit. E.K. always placed his commitment to his clients and profession above personal or economic interests. He was loved by all.
Born in Durham November 18, 1921, Mr. Powe graduated from Episcopal High School, Alexandria, VA, and received his undergraduate and law degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill. During his sophomore year at UNC, he volunteered for military duty in World War II, enlisting in the U.S. Army. He was wounded in France and received the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for bravery, and was honorably discharged in 1946 as a Captain.
E.K. began his legal career as a sole practitioner in Durham in 1950. He was the founding partner of what became the largest law firm in Durham - Powe, Porter, Alphin and Whichard. In 1986, the firm merged with Moore & Van Allen, PLLC.
During his legal career, he was involved in the organization and development of the Research Triangle Park and the Northgate Shopping Center, an original model for regional retail centers; was renowned for his surety and insurance practice; and represented the Duke University Medical Center. E.K. was inducted into the General Practice Hall of Fame of the North Carolina Bar Association in 1996. He was the recipient of the Evelyn Coman Award for Lifetime Achievement in construction. Active in local and state legal organizations, Mr. Powe served as President of the North Carolina State Bar Association, President of the Durham County Bar Association, Vice Chairman of the North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission, and Chairman of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Appellate Rules Study Commission.
In the 1950’s, Mr. Powe represented Durham County during two sessions and one special session of the North Carolina General Assembly, where he courageously advocated, among other issues, for school integration, drug control and regulation of high-interest small loans. He also served as a visiting lecturer at the law schools of both UNC- Chapel Hill and Duke University Law schools.
Among his civic affairs, E.K. served on the Durham County Board of Health and the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, from where he received the Civic Honor award. He was a founder and Chairman of the Research Triangle Planning Commission, Chairman of the Durham City-County Charter Commission, a member of the Board of Trustees of North Carolina Central University, a member of the Advisory Board of Duke University Medical Center, and President of the Board of the North Carolina Symphony.
A devoted churchman, E.K. was a lifelong member of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, where he taught Sunday school, served on the vestry, and acted as senior warden for many terms.
As his colleague, Jamie Clarke of Moore & Van Allen commented, “E.K. was a wonderful gentleman, inspiring mentor and good friend. A fine representative of the "Greatest Generation," E.K. served his country, community and the legal profession in myriad ways. At Moore & Van Allen he has inspired us to the highest levels of professionalism, while we remember his kindness and wonderful sense of humor.”
Surviving are his wife, Lucia Hutchinson Peel Powe; his three daughters and their husbands; Louise and Clinton Kelly of Salt Lake City, UT, Katherine and Eugene Dauchert of Durham, and Josephine Powe and Tom McGuire of Calabasas, CA; six grandchildren, Matthew McGuire and Christopher McGuire of Calabasas, CA, Stephen Dauchert of Raleigh, Jonathan Dauchert of Atlanta, Ashley Kelly of Salt Lake City and Katherine Berlyn of Woodland Hills, CA; his sisters, Josephine Rankin of Charlotte and Mary Louise Gardner of Durham; four step-daughters, Lucia Claire Peel, Mimi Roughton, Sydney Woodside and Elizabeth Peel; and step-grandchildren, Lily Elkins, and Stewart and Joey Woodside. He was predeceased in 1990 by his first wife, Sibyl Goerch Powe.
Friends will be received 7-9 PM Tuesday at Hall-Wynne Funeral Service. A Service of Prayer & Thanksgiving will be held at 2:00 PM Wednesday at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, 403 E. Main St. Durham. Private burial will be in Maplewood Cemetery.
Contributions in E.K.’s memory may be made to St. Philip’s Episcopal Church or to the E.K. Powe Memorial Fund at the Triangle Community Foundation, 324 Blackwell St., Suite 1220, Durham, 27701. Email condolences to hallwynne.com. Select Obits.