Pearl Elizabeth Powell, the daughter of Virgil and Ada (McAfee) Branstetter, was born December 19, 1921 in Marshalltown, Iowa. Her childhood years were spent in Steamboat Rock, Eagle Grove, and Sutherland, Iowa. Pearl graduated from Sutherland High School in 1939 and loved music at an early age as evidenced in her participation in choir, band, and church choir. She frequently led the family sing-a-long around the piano after supper.
Pearl married James "Mike" Powell on September 6, 1942 in Kansas City, MO. Mike was serving in the military and during those early years of their marriage, Pearl moved to Detroit, MI and was a "Rosie the Riveter" working at Hudson Motor Manufacturing, inspecting piston engine parts for aircraft for the war effort from 1942-1945.
After WWll Pearl and Mike returned to Sutherland, IA to raise a family and established Powell Brothers Welding with his brother John and later Mike's Pump Sales & Service until retirement. Summers were spent swimming, tent camping with friends, and mending while listening to Tom Schumate read stories on KICD Radio. They would plant a big garden and Pearl did the canning, pickling, and freezing of the harvest. Evenings were spent as a family on the large front porch. Winters were for taking kids sledding and ice skating, making cinnamon bread and rolls, Christmas candy and cookies. Pearl was an excellent seamstress making baby clothes, dolly clothes, kid’s clothes, can-cans, prom dresses, a wedding gown, a man’s suit, and a man’s long overcoat. Pearl loved playing cards. Many Saturday nights were spent at card club or just a friendly game of cribbage. She continued playing it well into her 90’s.
Pearl and Mike spent 25 years wintering in Arizona. They were members of the Good Sam Camper Club and camped with friends in various campgrounds around Iowa. Pearl was a convert into the Catholic faith and was a member of St. Ann's Guild. She taught catechism, served as a volunteer with the youth group, sang daily high masses in Latin, and participated in the church choir. She was active in Women’s Home and Hobby Club, a Campfire Girl leader, and a member of American Legion Auxiliary Post 152.
Family was the highest priority for Pearl. She was a mother to 6 children. She was full of love and poured it out generously. She hosted huge family gatherings at her home and was happiest when surrounded by her children and her many grandchildren. She spent countless hours attending sporting events, concerts, plays, grandparent days at school, and babysitting her grandchildren. Rarely did a month pass without a birthday, graduation, or a wedding to celebrate. Pearl also enjoyed cooking for her big family. Her specialties were roast beef with carrots, potatoes, onions and gravy, cherry bars, “whacky” cake, and her beloved peanut cookies, which she kept stocked and ready to share with all. Having popcorn for supper (dinner) was a long-standing Sunday night tradition for Pearl and Mike. Coffee was her drug of choice. Pearl was a prolific letter writer, and wrote hundreds of heartfelt letters to her children, grandchildren, and friends. She loved to read and could often be found with her nose buried in a good book. Additionally, she dedicated many hours for several years on end making “scrubbies” and handmade Christmas ornaments for all her children and grandchildren. She was also loyal, persistent, strong, and stubborn as evidence by her ability to stay married to tough-as-nails Mike for 67 years.
Pearl passed away at the Community Health Center in Hartley, IA on Thursday, April 7, 2022 at the age of 100 years and 109 days. Pearl was preceded in death by her parents; her husband Mike (2009), a son Ted Powell (2021), son-in-law Daryl Einerwold (1988), 2 grandsons Chad Einerwold (2014), and Zachary Einerwold (2020), 7 siblings and their spouses; 4 brothers - Robert (Ellene) Branstetter, her twin brother Merle (Betty) Branstetter, Leonard (Carolynn) Branstetter and Charles (Betty) Branstetter; 3 sisters - Helen (Art) Johnson, Rose (Henry) Blum and Ruth (Dick) Fitzpatrick.
Pearl is survived by her five children; Patricia Nelson of Alta, IA, Elizabeth Einerwold (Bruce Matthew) of Alta, IA, son-in law Stephen (Joel) Holzworth of Phoenix, AZ, Ellen (Dennis) Grant of Sutherland, IA, Jill Powell of Jamul, CA and Virgil (Angela) Powell of Sutherland, IA, 13 grandchildren, 9 step grandchildren, and numerous other relatives and friends.