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Samuel Benjamin Powell
Viewing: None are scheduled.
Service: Saturday, February 13, 2016 at 11:00 a.m.
Location: Unity Church of Gaithersburg, 111 Central Avenue, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Sam Powell died suddenly, at home with his wife Elaine by his side.  He was 70 years old.

Born in Independence, Missouri, to Valti and Edrie Lee Powell, Sam moved to the Washington D.C. area as an infant.  The family later moved to Beltsville, where Sam attended Prince George�s County Schools.   A 1963 graduate of High Point High School, he was active in band and theater.  Sam began playing piano at 12 and tuning pianos at 15 because he wanted the pianos he was playing to �sound right�.  He graduated from the University of Maryland in 1968 with a degree in Music Education.  Piano and French horn were his principal instruments. 

Sam was a music teacher at Greenbelt Junior High for five years.  Upon leaving teaching, he started his piano tuning business in 1974.  But in many ways, Sam remained a teacher all his life, sharing his knowledge and love of new ideas. He and Elaine moved to Gaithersburg in 1976, where he grew his business and raised his family.  He was president and owner of Sam Powell Piano Care and in 2001 co-founded PianoCraft where he headed the rebuilding shop until 2012.  Over his career, Sam trained and mentored numerous piano technicians.  He served four years as president of the DC Chapter of the Piano Technicians Guild and for 20 years was an examiner for candidates for Piano Technician Certification.  He tuned pianos many places, including the Kennedy Center and Peabody Conservatory.

Sam had boundless energy which sustained his many varied interests, community connections, and relationships.  He was a talented and recognized model railroader.  He was a long-time classic car enthusiast and a very skilled craftsman who built plank-on-frame model ships, a nationally recognized train layout, and wrote numerous �how to� journal articles.  Sam and his wife Elaine have been active members of Unity Church of Gaithersburg, where he had a long tenure as choir and music director.  He played French horn in the Montgomery Village Community Band.  Closer to home, Sam also helped provide daycare for his two young granddaughters.  Sam loved dogs, and the family pets were a cherished part of their life.

An avid life-long learner, Sam spent hours reading, discussing many topics, and learning new things.  He could do almost anything, and if he didn�t know how, he would learn.  He was interested in the world around him and people and their lives.  One of the joys of his career as a piano-tuner was the opportunity to travel around the DC and Baltimore areas, where he could meet and connect with so many people.  He was happy and full of life, and his passing will leave an emptiness in our lives.

Sam is survived by his beloved wife of 47 years, Elaine Jones Powell, his daughters Christine Powell Gy�rffy and Katherine Powell Shine; granddaughters, Emese and Ildik� Gy�rffy;  and sons-in-law, Viktor Gy�rffy and John Shine.  He also leaves behind his brother David W. Powell and sister Nanette Powell Strauss.

A celebration of Life will be held at Unity Church of Gaithersburg, 111 Central Avenue, Gaithersburg, MD 20877 on Saturday, February 13, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. Interment will be held at privately at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in his name to Unity Church or to Montgomery County Humane Society Attn: Memorials Department, 601 South Stonestreet Avenue, Rockville, MD 20850.


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Sam is now making music in heaven,

as he did for all of us here on earth.

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