Powell, Sam H.

Well-Known Conservationist Retired From TVA After 40 Years And Was Founding Member Of The Cumberland Trail

Saturday, February 9, 2019
Sam Powell
Sam Powell

Sam H. Powell, 86, of Signal Mountain, who devoted his whole life to the building of hiking trails, conservation and improvement of the environment, died on February 8, 2019.

He was married to the late Emilie Ervin Powell for 61 years.

A native of Tarpon Springs, Fl., he was the son of the late William Marshall Powell and Margaret Harvey Bomar Powell. He grew up in Florida and Haley, Tn., and served in the U.S. Army from 1953-54 during the Korean War. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville (UTK) in 1958. He worked his entire life in the electric utility industry, starting as a lineman with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in West Tennessee and Kentucky in 1951. Following graduation from UTK, he came to Chattanooga in 1959 to join TVA where he worked 40 years, retiring in 1994 as manager of co-generation and small power production.

He was active in the UT Alumni Association for many years, serving as president of the Hamilton County Chapter, was a two-term member of the General Alumni Board of Governors and in the 1960s led a group of UT Alumni in Hamilton County to contact Dr. Andrew Holt, president of the University of Tennessee (UT), to ask that UT establish a campus in Chattanooga. Working with Third District legislators and Paul Kinser, the governor’s representative in Hamilton County, the group was able to get the University of Chattanooga to become the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 1968. Sam served a term on the UTC Chancellor’s Roundtable.

Sam was a member of the Tennessee Conservation Commission for five terms (15 years), he was a founding member of the Cumberland Trail, which runs from Signal Mountain 300 miles across the state to Cumberland Gap. This trail continues to grow with additional parts that spin off to connect various parks. In addition, he was chairman of the Cumberland Trail Conference, and was a founding member and longtime director of the Tennessee River Gorge Trust.

Preservation of the environment was very important to Sam and in addition to the many other groups he was active in he served on the Tennessee State Committee on Off-Highway Vehicles and the Tennessee Riverpark Advisory Committee which oversaw Hamilton County Parks for many years.

On Signal Mountain he served as chairman of the Parks Board, was an environmental monitor for the construction of Shackleford Ridge Recreational Park, obtained grants and led development of four miles of hiking trails within Shackleford Ridge and directed the building of a trail system connecting Green Gorge with Rainbow Lake and the Cumberland Trail. Sam spearheaded the building of two bridges in the Green Gorge section of the Mountain.

Other groups Sam was active in included: the Chattanooga Engineers Club, the Association of Energy Engineers (International) and the International Cogeneration Society. He served as president of the Chattanooga Audubon Society for two years and for 16 years was Scoutmaster to Boy Scout Troop 130 on Signal Mountain. He even assisted the Signal Mountain Police department as an auxiliary officer for many years.

Awards given to Sam included: the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Lifetime Environment/Conservation Achievement Award for 2002, the Tennessee Governor’s Greenways and Trails Award for 1999, the Cumberland Trail Award for 1998, the Chattanooga Engineers Club People-To-People Award for 1990, the Tennessee Division of Forestry Friend of Forestry Award for 1986, the Signal Mountain Junior High Father-of-the-Year Award for 1982, the Tennessee Trails Association Trails award for 1980 and the Boy Scouts of America Award of Merit and Eagle Scout.

In honor of Sam’s dedication to his community, the town of Signal Mountain dedicated “Sam Powell Trail” as a new road through Shackleford Ridge Park. It is now the official address for Signal Mountain Middle High School.  

He is survived by his daughter Julia Powell Rafter, her husband Michael and son Jaden Powell Rafter of Milton, Georgia; sisters-in-law Nancy Ervin Powell, Wartrace, TN, and Susan Ervin Callis, Findlay, Ohio; brother-in-law Nat Ervin and his wife Bonnie of Ashland City, TN; and Judy Ervin (wife of brother-in-law Kimery Ervin), Columbia, TN. He is predeceased by sisters Marie Powell Bragg, Tullahoma, TN, and Rose Powell Clinard, Shelbyville, TN; brother Robert Stone Powell; and brothers-in-law Larry Callis, Carey, Ohio and Kimery Ervin, Columbia, TN.

A Celebration of Life service will be held at 12 p.m. (noon) on Tuesday, Feb. 12, in the chapel of Hamilton Funeral Home with Brother Richard Floyd officiating.  Military honors will conclude the service.

His family will receive friends from 4–7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 11, and from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. (noon) on Tuesday, Feb. 12, at the funeral home prior to the service.

In lieu of flowers, please consider contributions to one of these charities that were all very important to Sam: Cumberland Trails Conference, The Land Trust for Tennessee or the Tennessee River Gorge Trust. You can learn more about these organizations, and where to donate, through their websites.

We invite you to send a message of condolence and view the Powell family guestbook at www.HamiltonFuneralOptions.com.

Arrangements are by Hamilton Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 4506 Hixson Pike, Hixson, 423 531-3975.


Smith, Edward Lebron

Griggs, Edward, Jr.

Marsh, Esther Reviere


Edward Lebron Smith, 63, passed away on January 26, 2019. A graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, February 19, 2019, at Highland Memorial Gardens. Arrangements are ... (click for more)

Edward Griggs, Jr., 64, of Rossville, Georgia, passed away on Monday, February 4, 2019. He grew up in Toledo, Ohio where he attended Pickett Elementary and Scott High School. He was a veteran ... (click for more)

Esther Reviere Marsh, 95, passed away on February 9, 2019. She was a graduate of Howard High School. She was a former employee of Zikers Cleaners and French Room specialist of 30 years. She ... (click for more)


Obituaries

Smith, Edward Lebron

Edward Lebron Smith, 63, passed away on January 26, 2019. A graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, February 19, 2019, at Highland Memorial Gardens. Arrangements are by John P. Franklin Funeral Home, 1101 Dodds Ave., 622-9995. (click for more)

Griggs, Edward, Jr.

Edward Griggs, Jr., 64, of Rossville, Georgia, passed away on Monday, February 4, 2019. He grew up in Toledo, Ohio where he attended Pickett Elementary and Scott High School. He was a veteran of the U.S Marine Corps. Edward was preceded in death by his parents, Edward and Virginia Griggs, Sr. Survivors include his wife, Sherri Griggs; son, Anthony (Crystal) Griggs; five ... (click for more)

Area Obituaries

Dockins, Billy Ray (Cleveland)

Billy Ray Dockins, 76, a lifelong resident of the Bradley County area, passed away on Wednesday, February 13, 2019, at a local health care facility. Billy had a number of different jobs throughout the years a few of which being, a bus contractor for Bradley County, he worked at Charleston Hardware, worked at the post office, refereed ballgames, and was also a little league coach ... (click for more)

Barfield, Edith Patricia "Pat" (LaFayette)

Edith Patricia “Pat” Barfield, 73, of LaFayette, Ga., passed away on Tuesday, February 12, 2019. She is survived by her daughter, Brandy Murphy of LaFayette; sons, Chip Crowe, Wayne Crowe, Robbie Williams, and Allan Williams all of LaFayette; brother, Wendall York of Atlanta; nine grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Sanford Found Innocent Of 2000 Strangulation Murder In East Ridge

A Criminal Court jury on Friday night found Jason Sanford not guilty in the 2000 strangulation death of an East Ridge woman. The defense put on no proof. Sanford spent two and a half years in jail awaiting trial in the Cold Case. Earlier on Friday, a Michigan man gave a deathbed statement that his first cousin had admitted killing Sarah Davis Perry. The jury heard ... (click for more)

Trio Charged In Armed Robbery Of Dunkin Doughnuts On Highway 58

Three men have been charged with the robbery of the Dunkin Doughnuts on Highway 58 on Wednesday night. Charged with aggravated robbery were Justin Marcus Brakefield, 29, of 7310 Standifer Gap Road, Demarketh King, 30, of 4613 Locksley Lane, and Xavior Travon Robinson, 18, of 3606 Locksley Lane. An employee said three males walked into the business through a back door that ... (click for more)