Friends and colleagues remembered a local dentist as a kind, compassionate man who loved helping others.
Dr. Hudson John Powell Sr. died April 13 at his home following a battle with cancer. He was 59.
Powell’s generous and loving nature was noted often in his life through such honors as being named 2013 Citizen of the Year by the Statesboro Rotary clubs and receiving a Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Award in 2008.
Powell was known for his involvement in mission trips to care for people in Brazil, for treating dental issues for workers during the annual Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair and for volunteering to provide dental care at the Hearts & Hands Clinic for those without insurance or means to pay.
“You wouldn’t find a finer man anywhere,” said Lindsay Walker, a local business owner who was a friend of Powell’s. “He would do anything for anybody at any time. He never said no and always put others first.”
Dr. Zach Bentley, who partnered with Powell, started his career working in Powell’s office at age 18.
Still in college, Bentley tried several area dentists for work, but “nobody wanted to hire an 18-year-old,” he said. “I told him I’d work for free.”
Powell didn’t take him up on that offer, but did give him a job. Not only did he employ Bentley, but he taught him a great deal.
“Basically, he was a teacher,” Bentley said of Powell. “He was a mentor. The whole time, he was teaching me.”
Tim Marks, a longtime friend, recalled that Powell was more like family than anything.
“When I first met Hudson 34 years ago, I had no idea that he would become as close as a brother to me,” Marks said. “As neighbors Hudson, Hub (his brother) and I shared our families and lives for years. Our kids were in and out of each other’s houses without even knocking. I remember once when my wife, Jo, and I were discussing family members as guardians for our children, (son) Smith, 4, tugged on my arm and said ‘Daddy, just leave me with Hudson and Pam.’”
Dr. Jarrett Walden, who also partnered with Powell, said he would be greatly missed.
“Hudson was always a caring, compassionate, loving person,” he said. “He was easy to work with, and he would go the extra mile to give a helping hand. I never saw him turn anyone down, and he worked long hours (to make sure people received the dental care they needed.)”
Colleague Dr. Richard Marz remembered Powell as “one of the most sincere and down-to-earth dentists I have ever met. He was humble — that was what came to mind when it came to Hudson Powell.”
A native and lifelong resident of Bulloch County, Powell graduated with honors from Statesboro High School in 1972, and graduated magna cum laude from Georgia Southern College in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology.
In 1978, he received his Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry degree from the Medical College of Georgia and was given the International College of Dentistry Award. He practiced dentistry for 35 years in Statesboro before retiring in 2012.
Something many might not have known is that Powell had a strong sense of humor, Walden said.
“He was a very comical character. If something crazy was going to happen, it was going to involve this man,” Walden said. “The world was a better place with Hudson here. He was a very loving person.”
Marks remembered Powell’s zest for life.
“He wanted to experience and taste as much as he could everywhere we went,” Marks said. “And Hudson loved to eat! I could tell you some funny stories for sure … but right now I am just missing his slow, steady ,calm presence in my everyday life and thanking God for giving me such a friend.”
Powell was a member of several professional organizations, which included the Southeastern District Dental Society, the Georgia Dental Association and the American Dental Association.
He was also a member of the Statesboro First United Methodist Church, where he held several offices including chairman of the administrative board. He was a founding director of First Southern National Bank and a member of the Statesboro Rotary Club.
He is survived by his wife, Pam; his children, Alison P. (John) McNeill, John Powell and Will Powell, all of Atlanta and several siblings and cousins.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.