Calgarians remember Bill and Donna Lee Powers
Published Thursday, July 18, 2013 10:32AM MDT Last Updated Thursday, July 18, 2013 6:46PM MDT
A memorial service was held on Thursday to remember veteran broadcaster Bill Powers and his wife Donna Lee.
The Powers were found murdered in their Braeside home on July 4.
Power’s stepson, Derek Puffer, 35, has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder in connection with their deaths.
Bill Powers spent years as a radio sportscaster for CKXL and CHQR radio and is also remembered by Calgarians as the “Voice of the Stampeders”.
Donna Lee was an active member in the community and friends say she was the power behind the Powers.
It was a packed house at the Red & White Club of Calgary on Thursday afternoon as family, friends and fans gathered to remember the couple.
The memorial began with a touching rendition of “Danny Boy” and was emceed by Tony Spoletini.
Nomi Whalen spoke at the memorial and led the congregation in an aboriginal prayer.
Whalen married the Powers and said that they touched many lives.
“As soon as I heard the tragic news I went to look up their marriage date in an old government register and the very moment I found it, my phone rang. On the phone? A family member asking me to have the honour to participate in the celebration of their lives,” said Whalen.
Bill’s daughter-in-law Barb also did a reading and wore a team Canada jersey that was given to her by Bill.
She asked for forgiveness for Derek Puffer.
“We and myself, must face each coming day to forgive our brother Derek,” said Barb. “We can’t and won’t forget that Derek is our brother. We loved him before and we love him still and we are and have forgiven him.”
Lorne Powers, Bill’s brother, reminisced about their childhood in Edmonton and put the crowd at ease with stories of their adventures.
“Bill was my only brother and boy did I ever admire him,” said Lorne. “Bill would always walk down to the meat shop, was about four doors down 97 street there, and the owner would always give Billy a few slices of bologna. Bill got hooked. Bill loved bologna for the rest of his life.”
Lorne said he was a natural broadcaster and it was his passion.
“When Bill found sports radio he knew he had connected the dots. His talent a voice and his unique perspective had found its perfect medium. He knew he would soar and soar he did,” said Lorne.
Donna Lee was the office manager and executive assistant at the Calgary Jewish Federation with Executive Director, Drew Staffenberg who said her death was like losing a family member.
“I had the honour and esteemed privilege of working with Donna Lee,’ said Staffenberg. “Everyone knew if they needed advise or help that she was the go to person.”
Staffenberg said Donna Lee had a huge impact on all those she met and that she never said no to anyone.
“I often heard from others, do you have anyone like Donna Lee? Does she have a twin? I need a Donna Lee for my organization. You can’t have her,” said Staffenberg.
Staffenberg says her motto was Live, Love and Laugh and the JCC has created a new fund and award to honour her.
Fellow former broadcaster and Calgary Stampeder Herm Harrison worked with Powers at CKXL and gave the last book that Bill ever signed to his daughter, Deb.
“He had a list of about 500 jokes and he knew at least 150 off the top of his head,” said Harrison. “He just had the knack to pick up anything and work it. He was something else.”
Harrison worked with Powers for over 18 years.
Janene and Justine Puffer, spoke about their mom, Donna Lee, and said she never failed to find the good in people.
"I miss being able to call you and cry. Mom I promise, I promise you will never have to worry again," said Justine. "We will treasure every moment."
"Mom you gave me the best hugs, you gave the best hugs," said Janene. "I feel you all around me now and know you are the one giving me strength."
The memorial included Elvis Presley's "My Way", which many said was exactly the way Powers did things and would have wanted to be remembered.
Power's daughter Debbie gave the final tribute.
"He was a great dude as you know but him and I shared a very special bond," said Debbie. "He loved the Flames, I loved the Flames. He loved the Stamps and I love the Stamps.
Debbie said she also had a few things in common with Donna Lee."Her favourite colour is pink and my favourite coulour is pink too. Donna Lee screamed class and I wish I had an eighth of her classiness and she loved my daddy very, very much and so did I."
Debbie ended her speech by leading the crowd in an toast from an imaginary mug of Molsen's.
Bill Powers was 71 and Donna Lee Powers was 64.