In Memoriam: Morey X. Powell, OD ‘36

Morey-Powell-yearbook-photo.jpgIt is with great sadness that Salus announces the recent passing of Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) alumnus Dr. Morey Powell. He passed away on June 13, 2019, at the age of 104.

Dr. Powell personified the definition of a “Renaissance Man”. Following his graduation from PCO in 1936, Dr. Powell became an innovator and master clinician, becoming a pioneer in early contact lens technology as well as clinical practice. He served in World War II and following the war he raced cars professionally in addition to practicing optometry. He also had a stint as a professional baseball player!

Throughout the years, Dr. Powell remained a very active alumnus, getting involved in clubs, serving as president of his class and later as president of the Alumni Association and chairman of the Planned Giving Committee.

He was also an active member of the American Optometric Association’s Social and Health Care Trends Committee for ten years and is a past president of the Pennsylvania Optometric Association (POA) and the Central Pennsylvania Optometric Society. In 1977, he was the recipient of the POA’s Optometrist of the Year award.

Morey-Powell-October-2018-(2).jpgMorey was a notable health enthusiast (as evidenced by his longevity), was well respected among his peers, patients and the community at large during his nearly 70 years of dedication to the optometric profession.

“Morey fully embraced and always encouraged me to ensure PCO continued to lead the way in developing an increasing scope of practice for optometry,” said Dr. Michael Mittelman, president of Salus. “He understood the importance of leveraging technology both in the classroom and in practice.”

In recognition and appreciation for Dr. Powell’s dedication and generosity, in 1967 PCO named one of the dormitory buildings on the Oak Lane Campus in his honor. Ten years later, he was honored with the Alumni Association’s Albert Fitch Memorial Alumnus of the Year award.

Morey-Powell-(1).jpgIn 1998, when PCO moved from the Oak Lane campus to Elkins Park, Pa., the first level of the South Wing in the main building was dedicated in appreciation for his many contributions to the life and the vitality of PCO. Next to his plaque is a portrait of him and his late wife, Dorothy. We also recently dedicated the Powell Classroom on the second floor of the Elkins Park campus in honor of his generosity.

Dr. Powell lived his life to the fullest – fully engaging and excelling in whatever activity he embraced. “I always enjoyed my time with him hearing his stories about the war, his racecar driving and his ideas about optometry and where he thought the profession should be headed,” Dr. Mittelman said. “Dr. Powell’s 70-plus years of professional experience and wisdom will be impossible to duplicate.  I always left our conversations much more enlightened and energized. I will miss him.”

Dr. Powell left a lasting mark on Salus, PCO and the optometric profession.