Donald Powelson (Graveside)

We gather here today to lay to rest the earthly body of Donald L. Powelson. We do so with great sadness and a desire to honor his life of service and love.

The Bible tells us,

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.

This is where we turn today for meaning and for hope. Please pray with me.

Our father we stand here today still numb from the shock of loss. One minute life is good, the next it is changed forever. Help us to remember today. Help us to gain perspective. Help us to hope in You. We ask in Jesus name. Amen

Donald L. Powelson was born on July 18, 1938 in La Harpe to Roy and Anna Williams Powelson. On March 1, 1958 he married Frances Joan Hoskins in Biggsville, IL. The two of them met when Don follow Joan home one day after seeing her in town. (It’s not as creepy as it sounds). He drove by the house several times before working up the nerve to come to the door and ask her out. They would have been married for 53 years March 1. They were best friends and did everything together.

Mr. Powelson was blessed with four children. He worked hard to provide for them and they knew he was always in their corner. He considered himself to be a blessed man because of them.

Don Powelson retired as a diesel mechanic. He worked for Robnett-Jurgens in Carthage for over 20 years and later worked at Bedwell’s in Bushnell, Il, He retired in 2002. He had great skill with all kinds of motors and enjoyed working on tractors and lawn mowers. He rebuilt a tractor at his home and had all the parts to start working on another.

Don loved the outdoors. He liked camping and fishing and just sitting in the backyard. He liked flowers, always planted a garden, and enjoyed watching the animal life in his yard.

Everyone you talk to says the same thing: He waa good neighbor who was a kind and unassuming man. If he could help you in any way he was always glad to do so.

Mr. Powelson died suddenly on Wednesday February 2nd. He is survived by

  • His wife
  • One daughter, Deana Sutton of Ft. Madison
  • Three sons: Lynn Powelson of Durham, IL, Timothy Powelson of Oelwein, IA and Jamey Powelson of La Harpe
  • 13 grandchildren
  • 17 great-grandchildren
  • And 1 great-great grandson.

He was preceded in death by his parents and 3 brothers, Ronald, Fredrick, and Gale Powelson.

Just this week I finished reading an interesting and wonderfully encouraging book titled, Heaven is Real. It is the story of a four year old boy who was desperately sick and apparently went to Heaven and then came back. There are lots of stories about near death encounters but this one has a ring of truth about it. First, it came from the lips of a four-year old, and second, it was perfectly consistent with everything you read in the Bible.

The little boy told his parents about meeting a miscarried child he never knew about, a Grandfather he had never met, and Biblical images he had never learned. Some might call is spooky. I think it is a comforting verification of what the Bible says is true.

One of my favorite stories was when little Colton and his dad went to visit a man named Harold in the hospital. Harold was in the last hours of life and Colton’s dad (a pastor) said a prayer for him. A little while later,

As we watched, Colton reached up and grabbed Harold’s hand. It was an E. F. Hutton moment. Everyone watched intently, listening. Colton peered earnestly up into Harold’s face and said, “It’s going to be okay. The first person you’re going to see is Jesus

I share this with you because I’d like to pull back the dark curtain of death for just a minute and let you see what is on the other side.

Jesus said, “I Am the resurrection and the life, He who believes in me will live even though he dies” (John 11) Jesus points to life beyond the grave for all who have put their faith and trust in Him.

His promise carries weight because He himself rose from the dead. The Bible says clearly that not everyone goes to Heaven, only those who have put their trust and confidence in Christ.

I can’t know what was in the depth of Don’s heart but I know he went to church at one time. It is my hope that he made a commitment to Christ at that time. I like to think that his kind and warm heart and his appreciation of nature are the consequence of a simple yet real faith in Christ. If so, this promise applies to him. The Bible teaches us that death is not the end . . . in some ways it is only the beginning.

The book Heaven is Real shows us a glimpse of a place where loved ones are reunited, where youth is restored to bodies, and where the wonder of being with the Lord is a blessing that fills our heart with joy.

Your sadness today is real and appropriate. My point is this: your sadness is for YOUR loss. . . . not Don’s.  So in the really hard times try to look at things from the other side of the curtain of death. Think about how wonderful it is for everyone who puts their hope in the Lord. Then, back on this side of the curtain make every effort to learn some of the lessons of Don Powelson’s life.

  • Nothing is more respected than a man of integrity
  • It is a rich blessing to be able to travel through life with a partner whom you cherish
  • Rich blessings can be observed if we just stop and watch nature around us
  • One of God’s greatest gifts is family and we should cherish that blessing
  • Love is less about the words we say and more about the support we show.
  • Life is unpredictable, we need to be ready to go whenever God calls our name
  • Trust in Christ is the requirement for Heaven so it needs to be the first thing on our “to do” list.

You have suffered a great loss this week. It is a loss that will grow in intensity in the weeks ahead. In those times of sadness, I pray that God would comfort you with the hope of His promise.

We lay to rest the body of Don Powelson in the hope of a future day when we will be reunited again.


Our Father, I ask you to open your loving arms to Donald Powelson. Welcome him into your Heavenly home by your grace and mercy. Thank you for the blessing of his life that is seen in the lives of all who are gathered here today.

Lord, I ask that you help Joan and the kids as they move forward with a giant hole in their lives. Be their comfort and their strength. Help them as they seek to establish their own faith and trust in You. We ask this all in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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