MISSOULA – Ward H. Powell, 95, of Missoula, passed away Friday, Jan. 25, 2013. Powell was born in Minden, Neb., to Dr. Ward H. Powell and his wife Gerda Hasselbalch Powell.
His career as a teacher of German began with a quirk of fate. The Latin/Spanish teacher in Minden High School decided to marry in the summer of 1933 and had to retire. (In those days married women were not allowed to teach in public schools.) She was replaced by a woman named Elsa Stimbert, and her language was not Spanish but German, which had been dropped from the curriculum during World War I. Two years in Miss Stimbert's classes inspired Powell to continue the study of German and ultimately teach it himself.
After graduation from the University of Nebraska, Powell spent the academic year of 1938-39 as an exchange student at the University of Jena, Germany, returning home just before the outbreak of war in Europe. He then completed an M.A. at Nebraska and began teaching German at Illinois Wesleyan in 1940.
In early 1942 he joined the army and was assigned to the Counter-Intelligence Corps. Upon completion of training in the States, he went to Europe with Headquarters 1st U.S. Army and took part in the campaigns from Normandy on. He was discharged in the rank of first lieutenant at the end of 1945.
Powell then returned to Illinois Wesleyan, taught at the University of Denver for four years, completed a doctorate at the University of Colorado (the first in German since World War I) and came to the University of Montana in 1955.
After retiring in 1979 he volunteered with the Radio Reading Service and also taught English to some of the Hmong refugees in Missoula.
He is survived by nine nieces and nephews in Nevada, Montana, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Kansas and South Carolina.
At his request there will be no services, and inumment will take place at the family plot in Minden.
Arrangements are under the care of Cremation & Burial Society of the Rockies.
Read Ward Powell's Obituary and Guestbook on www.missoulafuneralhomes.com.