Bethany, Oklahoma, USA: Joseph Dudley Powers, M.D., 87, longtime resident of Bethany, Oklahoma, died Sunday morning, March 22, 2015, in Oklahoma City. He was born April 13, 1927, in Upland, California to Ruby Mae (King) and Rev. Hardy C. Powers.
He attended high school at Olivet Academy from 1943-1945. When he turned 18 he joined the United States Navy where he served from April 1945 through June 1946. Upon his discharge from the Navy he enrolled at Olivet Nazarene College from 1946-48. Due to his father’s heavy travel schedule in his position as General Superintendent in the Church of the Nazarene, Dudley moved back to Dallas to help his mother with the care of his younger twin sisters.
Powers completed his B.S. degree at Southern Methodist University in 1951. Smitten by an Olivet student from Ohio, he made 11 round trips from Dallas to Kankakee, Illinois on two lane highways to court her. On June 8, 1951, he married his wife of 63 years, Mary Joan Clester in Ironton, Ohio. They moved back to Dallas for him to attend dental school. He then received his D.D.S. from Baylor University College of Dentistry in 1956. Following his graduation he served on the Faculty of the Baylor University College of Dentistry before entering medical school. He received his M.D. from the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston in 1962, where he was awarded the Gold-Headed Cane Award, the highest clinical award granted to a graduating senior.
In 1965 he was appointed by the Church of the Nazarene to serve as a medical missionary and the founding administrator of the Nazarene hospital at Kudjip in the Western Highlands of Papua New Guinea. He served there until 1969 when he returned to Bethany, Oklahoma and established a private medical practice. His commitment to serve the Lord Jesus Christ was reflected in the compassionate care he provided to families for three decades in the Bethany community, until his retirement in 1999. His concern for both body and soul was evident. He was a physician with a pastor’s heart.
Dr. Powers was active in the broader medical community in the Oklahoma City area, serving as a Board Member of Deaconess Hospital and Bethany General Hospital. He served terms as the Chief of Staff at both hospitals. He was a lifetime member of the Oklahoma State Medical Association and the Oklahoma County Medical Society, and he received the Governor’s Commendation for 50 years of dedicated service in the medical community.
Raised in a Nazarene parsonage, he was a lifelong churchman. He served the Church of the Nazarene in a variety of capacities: elected for several quadrennium as a member of the General Board of the Church of the Nazarene, serving one term as the board’s president; elected as a lay delegate nine times to the General Assembly; served for more than 20 years on the Board of Trustees of Nazarene Theological Seminary; served on the District Advisory Board of the Northwest Oklahoma District Church of the Nazarene, and as a member of the Church Board at Bethany First Church of the Nazarene.
An avid student of the Bible, he taught the Bethel Bible Series for more than 20 years and was the founding teacher of the Reach Out Sunday School class at Bethany First Church of the Nazarene.
He was listed in Who’s Who in Religion, and Who’s Who in the South and Southwest.
He is survived by his wife, Joan, and their four children and their spouses: Bradford and Debby (Ruggles) Powers; Peter and Shannon (McGowan) Powers; Elizabeth and James Fitzgerald; Stephani and Richard Cochran; nine grandchildren: Joshua Powers and wife Kristina; John Powers and wife Kathryn; Anne Powers; Devon Powers; Colin Powers; Erin Cox and husband Philip; Kaitlyn Fitzgerald; Anna Fitzgerald; Richard Cochran, Jr.; two great-grandchildren: Jane Verity Powers and James Powers; sister, Geneva McCullough and husband Melvin, and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by parents, Reverend Hardy Carrol and Ruby Mae (King) Powers; siblings, Rev. Hardy John Powers, Nona Jane Kelley, and Judy Kaye Cole.
Funeral service will be held on Thursday, March 26, at 2:00 p.m. at Bethany First Church of the Nazarene. Visitation with the family will be Wednesday, March 25, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Mercer-Adams Funeral Home in Bethany, Oklahoma.
Donations in honor of Dr. Powers may be made through Global Missions directed to support the Nazarene Hospital in Kudjip, Papua, New Guinea, or the scholarship established in the name of his father, Rev. Hardy C. Powers at Nazarene Theological Seminary, Kansas City, Missouri.