A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. We honor Barbara Gayle Powell for all that her devoted hands have done. She passed from this life on Tuesday, July 25, 2023, and it is with grateful hearts that her life is celebrated. She was born November 3, 1947, to Samuel Hayden and Etta Marie (Phelps) Knighton in Douglass, Texas. She married Tommy Dean Powell on December 31, 1970, in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.
Barbara grew up in Douglass, was the proud Valedictorian of her graduating class and attended Stephen F. Austin University. Douglass is where her life’s love story began fifty-four years ago. Tommy says he fell in love with her the first time he saw her. Her “Tommy Dean” was truly the love of her life. Barbara and Tommy lived on at least fifteen different ranches over the years and moved a total of 32 times. She loved people and viewed each move as an adventure to see new places and meet new people.
They and the kids adventured through life and ultimately found the place they loved and considered their true home at Sweetwater (near Cimarron) in the beautiful mountains of New Mexico on the UU Bar Ranch. The wife of a cowboy, her days there were spent near things that gave her great joy. She loved watching the elk and deer that graced her yard every morning & evening as well as God’s handiwork in the sunrises and sunsets from her kitchen windows. She kept hummingbird feeders and hundreds would come to feed every year. Her favorite pastime was being outdoors hunting for arrowheads and Indian artifacts with Tommy. She loved feeding others and cooked many years for working cowboys during brandings. She made sure no one left hungry and took great pride in seeing that everyone at the table was well taken care of. She loved the ranch life and enjoyed sharing that lifestyle with family and friends who came to visit. She had a beautiful smile, an infectious laugh and a real knack for making everyone feel welcome. She always modeled unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.
At other times, Barbara was a medical transcriptionist, caretaker, and bank teller, but the most important job of her life was that of a wife and mother. Barbara was the best mom on Earth. She raised three children, never missed a sporting event or extracurricular activity, and was their biggest cheerleader. She selflessly drove many miles back and forth from the ranch to town, meeting kids’ schedules for wherever they needed to go. She always had a positive attitude and truly instilled in her children a belief that anything is possible. She also took them to church every Sunday. She was quite a skilled pianist and played by ear. She loved to put melodies together and always played interesting renditions of songs, giving them her own special flair. She played for many different churches over the years and would play for children’s choir, VBS, and especially enjoyed accompanying her kids and best friend, Betty Palmer while singing.
Barbara was creative and had a remarkable way with words – Her thoughtfulness was a gift that spoke love and encouragement to all those she knew. She penned beautiful greetings, and always at the right moment for her children and others. It was said, “One of the things I always loved… was receiving a card from her that she had written in and encouraged me, praised me, or just told me that she loved me in her own words, underlining the things she wanted me to pay attention to.” If you have a memento from Barbara, you know the love of her heart was in it.
She is survived by her husband Tommy of Cimarron, NM. A legacy of beloved children, Felicia Powell of Portales, NM, Tameisha (Rowdy) Bolen of Smyer, TX, and Bucky (Nira) Powell of Amistad, NM, and grandchildren who gave her great joy, Alyssa Bolen, Reese Bolen, Gatlin Bolen, Amy Powell and Tyler Powell. She is also survived by sisters, Marjorie Littleton of Stephenville, TX, Janelle Garrett of Douglass, TX, and a sister-in-law, Peggy Powell of San Saba, TX and many nieces and nephews and lifelong friends who will see her again someday.
Barbara is preceded in death by her parents, Samuel Hayden, and Etta Marie Knighton. Siblings gone before her are brothers Samuel Hayden Knighton Jr. and Stephen Leonard Knighton, and sister Marlene Sue Tarrant.
A graveside service celebrating her 75 years of life is scheduled for 1 o’clock Mountain Time, on Saturday, July 29, 2023, at the Miami Cemetery in Miami, NM. She will be laid to rest there, the home of her heart.