Father Jerome Powers dies at age 89

COLUMBIA — Father Jerome Powers, a retired priest of the Diocese of Charleston, died May 1. He was 89.

A Christian wake service will be held at 7:30 p.m. May 6 at St. Joseph Church, and the Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 a.m. May 7, also at St. Joseph. Burial will be at St. Peter’s Cemetery in Elmwood.

Father Powers was born Nov. 17, 1917, in Columbia. He was a son of the late Calvin I. and Ruth Grimsley Powers.

He attended Blossom Street and McMaster grammar schools, and Wardlaw Junior High School. He was a graduate of Columbia High School, Belmont Abbey in Belmont, N.C., and St. Mary Seminary in Baltimore, Md., where he received a doctorate in sacred theology.

He was ordained in 1947 by Bishop Emmet M. Walsh at St. Peter Church in Columbia.

Father Powers taught at Bishop England High School in Charleston from 1947 to 1956. During that time he also served assignments as an associate pastor at St. Patrick and St. Joseph churches in Charleston, and St. John Church in North Charleston.

He was assigned by Bishop John J. Russell as the founding pastor of Divine Redeemer in Hanahan in 1956.

He went on to serve as pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Camden; St. Augustine, Union; and Our Lady of the Valley, Gloverville. He retired from active ministry in 1993 after serving a second assignment at Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

Father Powers also served as chaplain of the Newman Club at the College of Charleston. He was on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Commission on Church Music and consultor of the Committee on Liturgy. Powers was also dean of the Columbia Deanery and a member of the board of directors of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.

Father Powers is survived by a sister, Nell Eleazer, of Columbia; a niece Kathy Kotelis and nephew, Jean Powers, both of Columbia; and several great nieces and nephews.