Ronald Gene Powell was born in Flandreau, South Dakota to Everett W. and Inez (Underwood) Powell. Ronald was proud of the fact that he was the seventh son of the seventh son. Shortly after his birth his family moved to Hayden Lake Idaho. In 1948 their family moved to Castle Rock, Washington, where he graduated from Castle Rock High School in 1954.
During Ronnie’s teen years, he used to visit his older brother Duane in the Hoopa and Orleans areas. After High school, at age 18, he moved in with his brother in Hoopa, CA and began working in the mills. Ronnie was intrigued and fascinated by the American Indian culture up and down the Klamath and Trinity Rivers; due to this interest, he would later be known as a local historian.
In 1955, Ronnie married Julia “Judy” Bussell and they had two children, Marilyn Jean and Ronald Dean Powell. He continued working in the mills and he moved around to several mill sites throughout Northern California. He took pride in his skills and always spoke about how he learned from the best. Due to this, he was always more than willing to teach his skills to other new trainees or anyone willing to learn.
After his divorce in 1962, he moved his trailer to a place near the Deep Sleep Inn. Shortly after, he purchased property in Hoopa, on the South end of Highway 96, which to this this day, people reminisce about as the after-hours party spot coming home from the bars.
In 1967, he married Margaret Kane. Margaret had a daughter, Tracey (Moreno) Ramone, whom he raised as his own. They were married for 41 years, until her death in 2008. Together Ronnie and Margaret were entrepreneurs and owned and operated Margaret’s house of Beauty, and Hoopa Wood Products. They were also involved in the Hoopa Rodeo Association, and Norton Field Water District.
Ronnie was a major history buff and a proud participant of the “Adobe House” project and later a member of The Hoopa Historical Alliance. Ronnie worked as a Director of The Hoopa Valley Tribe Public Utilities District, but he spent a majority of his career as a sawyer; It has been said that he was known as one of the top five sawyers in the West Coast. He was offered employment far and wide, which was the catalyst to his travels.
Ronnie was an adventurer, outdoorsman and an enthusiastic storyteller. You could find him hiking and hunting the Marble Mountains, Trinity Alps, and he would even fly in with his brothers and nephews to hunt as far as Idaho. In his retirement years, he enjoyed sharing his koi pond, and love of gardening.
Ronnie found joy in spending time with his siblings, children, nephews and nieces, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He would often laugh and reminisce how as a teen he would babysit, although he would never admit it to his friends, saying he was paid better than his buddies working at the service station.
Ronnie had a story for almost anything, and would often share them at the Powell Family Reunions, or with anyone he crossed paths with. One would never get bored talking to him. He definitely had the gift of gab. Sometimes he was known for stretching the truth to make his stories sound more interesting. He has definitely left a large void in this world and will be dearly missed.
Ronald was preceded in death by his wife, Margaret Louise Powell, parents, Everett W. and Inez Powell, sisters: Delores Dunn, Edith Whisnant, and Maxine Armstrong, brothers: Vernon, Dean, Duane, Ivan, Keith, and Donald Powell, mother-in-law, Iola Moon, brothers-in-law: Carlson Kane, Hugh Moon Jr.; sisters-in-law: Cheryl Rose Moon, Corene Miguelena, grandson, Ronald Dean Powell Jr., his special friends: Virgil “Beebo” Bussell, Lowell Bussell, Vernon “Tootie” Bussell, Louie McConnell and Hank Mosier.
Ronnie is survived by his children: Ronalda Jordan (Danny), Marilyn Powell, Ronald “Dean” Powell Sr., Tracey Ramone, and Lyle Matilton, whom all reside in Hoopa, CA.
Grandchildren: Carmeli Begay (Nolan), Rachell Powell, Jenna Miller (Damon Martin), Jill Mix, Ty Ramone (Chelcee), Eric Phines (Ariel Richards), Leland Jordan, Anna Rose Powell, Melissa Phines (Arlen Doolittle Jr.), Clay Ramone (Kristy Bedoni), Donald Powell, John Acuna, K’ida:y Powell, K’it-Say Powell and Irene Powell.
Great-grandchildren: Nah-Tes “Lil’ Tes” Jackson Jr., Raymond Begay, Alexia “Taryete” Jackson, Helena Begay, Derek Hodge, David Jackson, Dominic Phines, Elayna Miller, Cireyn Phines, Juanita Blake, Tagg Ramone, Melody Phines, Robert Blake Jr., Shayne Ramone, Melia Reeves, Tripp Ramone, Azalea Doolittle, Aaron Phines, Zayne Doolittle, Tuffy Ramone, Perseus Phines, Ivy Martin, Dwayne Acuna and Kane Ryder Ramone.
Ronnie is also survived by his sister-in-law, Beverly Powell, and brother-in-law Denny Kane, and many special nephews, nieces, and friends.
Ronnie’s family would like to express their sincere thanks to Dr. Smith, Susan Walsh, FNP, and Michael Masten, all staff of the K’ima:w Medical Center; the staff at St. Joseph’s PCU unit and the Timber Ridge Senior Living Facility staff. Although Ronnie only stayed for four days at Timber Ridge, the family is very thankful for the warm compassion that was shown to Ronnie in his last days of life.
The family would also like to give special gratitude to Barbara “BR” Beck for going the extra mile and especially for her kind and caring nature.
A viewing was held by Paul’s Chapel on June 16th from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. A celebration of life will be held at his home, “the Powell Ranch” in Hoopa, CA on Saturday, June 26, 2021 at 4:30 p.m. Please bring your favorite stories to share. Social distancing will be practiced.