Mary Emilie Ervin Powell, age 80, a Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) retiree and a lifelong writer, died Sunday, November 16, 2014.
A native of Bedford County, Tennessee, she was the daughter of the late Claude John and Susie Kimery Ervin. She was married to Sam H. Powell, who survives her, for 62 years.
Emilie began writing a column for the Bedford County News while a student in high school. Upon graduation, she became the women’s editor of the newspaper for two years. Then she worked briefly on the Augusta Herald in Augusta, Georgia as a society editor. Moving to Knoxville, Tennessee, she was a reporter on the Knoxville Journal fulltime for four years while attending the University of Tennessee part-time.
She moved to Chattanooga in 1959 and became an editor of publications at Provident Life and Accident Insurance Company. After six years, she became a freelance writer and edited a quarterly publication for Dixie Yarns, Inc. for 12 years. During this period she wrote a novel, Aquila’s Nest and Gracie and the Mountain, the biography of Grace McNicol who climbed Mount LeConte in the Great Smoky Mountains 249 times. The biography is published by Overmountain Press.
In 1980 she joined TVA and worked in public relations for 14 years. During this period, she edited TVA’s Industrial Energy Digest newsletter which was distributed to all manufacturing companies in the seven state TVA areas.
During the years she worked in business communications, she was a director of the International Association of Business Communicators and president of the Chattanooga Chapter of Business Communicators. She was director of the Chattanooga Audubon Society for several years. Both she and her husband, Sam, were very active members of the Tennessee River Gorge Trust and the Cumberland Trail Conference. She was awarded a badge for working on the Cumberland Trail, of which Sam was a founder. She was president of the Evening Garden Club of Signal Mountain twice.
She is also survived by her daughter, Julia Powell Rafter, her husband Michael and grandson, Jaden Powell Rafter of Atlanta, Georgia. Other survivors include sisters, Nancy Powell of Wartrace, TN and Susan Callis of Carey, Ohio; brother, Nat Ervin of Ashland City, TN; and a number of nieces and nephews.
She has one other brother, the late Claude Kimery Ervin of Columbia, TN.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Tennessee River Gorge Trust, www.trgt.org, or a favorite charity.
Funeral services will be held 1:00 p.m. Saturday, November 22, 2014 at Lane Funeral Home, 601 Ashland Terrace, with Reverend Mickey Whitmire officiating. Visitation is 5:00-8:00 p.m. Friday, November 21, 2014 and 12:00-1:00 p.m. Saturday at Lane Funeral Home, 601 Ashland Terrace, 877-3524.