Henry W. Powell

Henry Wesley Powell died on July 9, surrounded by his family. Hank was born in New Haven on December 25, 1937, to Charles Wesley Powell and Rose Setian Powell. After receiving a B.A. from Yale in 1959, Hank served for three years in the Army before embarking on a long career of scholarship, teaching, and coaching. He completed master’s degrees from Yale and NYU and a doctorate in English Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he then directed the university’s learning skills program. Hank returned to New Haven and spent over 20 years teaching English, leading a reading program, and coaching the fencing team at his alma mater, Hopkins School.

A lifelong athlete, Hank captained the Yale fencing team, fenced internationally and for the New York Athletic Club, and continued to compete late into life. As a coach, he was immensely proud of his teams at Hopkins, which he led to numerous state championships, and of his many athletes who went on to fulfilling athletic, academic, and professional careers. In his teaching, Hank passed along his deep love of literature to generations of students, who remember his classes as forums for discussion and laughter. He took up other pursuits, from tennis to flyfishing to raising hunting dogs, with the same zeal and eye for detail that he brought to the fencing piste. Hank was predeceased by his brother, James “Jay” Wesley Powell, and is survived by his wife, Margaret Ketchum Powell; his son, John Setian Powell; his daughter-in-law Brittany Elizabeth Powell; and many nieces and nephews.

A service will be held on August 6 at 2:00 PM at Christ Church, New Haven. Donations may be made in Hank’s memory to the Mary Wade Home, Franciscan Home Care and Hospice Care, or Christ Church. The Hawley Lincoln Memorial, 424 Elm St., New Haven is in charge of arrangements.