Beveley Jo Sumrall Powers was born January 20th, 1933, the third and last child of Wilbur Robert Sumrall and Lucy Charles Prewitt Sumrall of Crystal Springs, Mississippi. As an infant she slept in a basket fashioned by her father because her sister and life-long best friend was just fourteen months older and still sleeping in the only crib the family owned. For reasons that will remain a mystery, she was affectionately nicknamed “Bunk” by the older brother she worshipped. The Depression and WWII hit her hometown as hard as every other small town in America and required sacrifices that few understand today. Like so many of that generation, those years left Bev with a lingering desire for simpler times and a longing for meaningful community. The faster the world moved, the more she missed the days of poverty and war. Such is the irony of life.
Beveley graduated from Crystal Springs Consolidated High School and later Mississippi College where she was the contralto soloist in the traveling choir. She completed graduate work to become a medical records librarian and worked most notably at Baptist Hospital in Jackson, MS, where she felt like a trailblazer in an era when careers for women were so very limited. Those were probably the happiest years of her life. She later went to work in the Auburn University archives where her ability to recall the existence and location of the most obscure pieces of material was renowned. But much about the second half of her life was hard. Marriage and children turned out to be equal measures of lost and found. Dementia stole much of Bev in her last years, but not all. She could still bake the world’s best pound cake and size up the extent of your hair loss or weight gain with astonishing accuracy. She wished she could selectively delete memory of the “sorry bits” but we all know that’s not how it works.
Beveley lost her battle against lung cancer, a brief but valiant fight, on December 26, 2021. She was preceded in death by her parents (aforementioned), her son, John Sumrall Powers, two granddaughters, Ayla Elizabeth Powers and Olivia Grace Thrasher, and her brother, Wilbur Robert Sumrall, Jr. She is survived by her daughter, Lucy Powers Thrasher (Dennis), her sister, Martha Sumrall Schultz of Dayton, Ohio, two grandchildren, John Birchfield Powers (Chloe) and Megan Elizabeth Thrasher, and an assortment of nieces and nephews. She lives on through them.
A memorial service will be held 10:00am, Friday, December 31, 2021 at Oak Park Parlor, 1365 Gatewood Drive, Auburn, Alabama, with Dr. Jeff Redman officiating.
In lieu of flowers please consider volunteering at a nursing home or assisted living facility. The auxiliary at her retirement community made her life immeasurably better.