|Frank Dalton Powell, Sr.|
Frank Dalton Powell, Sr., the man I call "Dad", was born in Marion County, Mississippi, the son of the late Berley Arlo Powell and Letha Marie Bedwell. His earliest childhood years were spent growing up in the "Bedwell Community" in rural Foxworth, Marion County. The family later moved closer to town. After the death of his mother, Frank lived with his grandparents for the most part. There was a brief period of time that he and his siblings lived with their father and stepmother, but his best memories come from those years spent with his grandparents.
Like most young males in that time, Frank gained employment at an early age. One of his first jobs was delivery of newspapers. With the money earned from that job, he purchased his first bicycle. Just before he was of legal age to acquire his drivers license, Frank drove a truck for a local meat/grocer owner, making deliveries and running errands as needed. Eventually, he was hired to butcher meat and it was that training that would lead to his future employment as a meat cutter.
Frank enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1956, serving a period of four years. He states that his stent in the Navy took him places he would have otherwise never had to opportunity to visit. Frank met Lula Sue Simmons while on one of his leaves from service. They promised to keep in touch so when Frank returned to naval service, he and Sue were "pen pals", writing each other as often as possible. I wrote about their relationship in my Sharing Memories posts- see Oceans Apart, Coming Home, Dilemmas, Secret Vows, and Their Secret Revealed. Frank married Lula Sue Simmons on 08 December 1960 in Columbia, Marion County, Mississippi. She was the daughter of Woodrow Wilson Simmons and Susie Johnson. She had previously been married and had a young daughter from that marriage, Susan Gail (me).
During the first few years of their marriage, Frank and Sue resided in the Columbia and Hattiesburg areas in southern Mississippi. Their first child, a son, was born on their first anniversary- Frank Dalton, Jr. Just 18 months later, their daughter was born- Sandra Rennae. Frank and Sue, along with their three children, moved to Jefferson Parish, Louisiana and it was there that their last child was born- a son, Tony Duane. Frank was employed as a meat cutter with the A&P (Atlantic & Pacific) Food Stores for many years. After the children were all in grade school, Sue worked with the same company, but she was a meat wrapper in their packaging plant. Frank and his family resided in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana for several years while working and rearing their children.
After their move back "home" to Columbia, Mississippi in the mid-1970's, Frank managed the meat department at the Real Value Food Store, locally owned and operated by Prentiss and Emma Pritchard, while Sue was employed as a meat wrapper with Jitney Jungle Food Stores. They puchased a house on Lafayette Street in Columbia and resided there for several years.
After 26 years of marriage, Frank and Sue divorced. Their house on Lafayette Street was sold. Frank later married Shirley Swafford on 20 June 1987, but their marriage was brief. On 13 September 1990, Frank married Velma Jean Odom. They remained together until her death on 09 January 1996. After the death of Velma Jean, Frank moved in with his younger brother, Berley, who was also single. They shared the expenses of maintaining a home which benefited each of them. The two brothers spent a lot of time together- traveling, camping and going to church. For ten years, the arrangement worked out well for Frank and Berley, until Berley's death on 28 March 2006.
Though they considered themselves friends after their divorce, Frank and Sue spent more time together after each lost their companions. They often spoke on the phone and occasionally had coffee together. They took a trip together, spending three weeks on the road from Columbia to Canada and back. That was Sue's last "big trip". When Sue's health deteriorated, Frank was a good friend to her, assisting her as much as possible during those last few months of her life. Sue died 14 November 2007.
Frank later moved to Spring, Texas where he currently resides with his youngest son, Tony. He visits back "home" as often as possible and continues to enjoy road trips.