Dot Powell was born and raised in Spartanburg, S.C. After high school, she attended Converse College, a small college for women, in Spartanburg. She met her husband, Gordon, on a blind date while he was training to be a fighter pilot for the war. The army sent men to Wofford College, an all-male college in Spartanburg, to equalize their education before classifying them for duty. Dot graduated in May 1945 with a degree in social work. Gordon returned from the war in June 1945, after participating in 73 combat missions.
He proposed to Dot in July, and they married in August. They moved to Farmingdale on Long Island when Gordon, an engineer, went to work for Republic Aviation Corporation, a company that made P47s. They loved living in New York City – it was the big band era and they loved music and the theatre district. They also loved learning how to ski. While he was a student at Purdue, Gordon played saxophone and earned extra money playing in a band.
After two years, the couple moved to South Bend, Ind., when Gordon began working for Bendix Aviation. They set roots there, buying land and building their first home. Dot went to work for the Welfare Department until she became a full-time mom to daughters Barbara, Janet, Julia and Elizabeth. She was a Girl Scout leader and kept busy with all the activities that go along with raising girls.
Gordon transferred to Houston in 1963 to head up a new project with WKM Division of ACF Industries. He and Dot settled in the Memorial area, and joined Memorial Drive Methodist Church. Dot helped start a preschool there and taught for three years until she became a grandmother. Her family enjoyed traveling around the country together. Dot also traveled to Italy, England and Hawaii. She visited the Austrian Alps in 1980, and again in 2000, to attend the Passion Play, performed every 20 years.
Gordon passed away in 1983. Dot remained in their home until 1994 when she built a patio home near Barbara Bush Elementary School. She enjoyed 19 years there before choosing Parkway Place as her newest home in May 2013. She was happy to remain in her neighborhood and enjoys not having to worry about home responsibilities and chores. She still sees all of her church friends and has enjoyed meeting many new friends. All four daughters live in Texas and Dot feels especially blessed to spend time with them, her 11 grandchildren and her 12 great grandchildren.
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