Cover photo for Gary Powers's Obituary
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1941 Gary 2023

Gary Powers

March 10, 1941 — July 22, 2023

Robert “Gary” Powers, 82, passed away on Saturday, July 22, 2023, at Quinn Meadows Rehabilitation Center in Pocatello, Idaho.


Gary was born on March 10, 1941, in Malta, Idaho to Andrew Robert “Babe” Powers and Bessie Ellen Powers. He spent his first few years growing up in Malta, Idaho riding horses and playing “cowboy” with his beloved uncles. He learned to ride horses at age 2. Gary moved to Poca


tello with his parents in 1945 and went to grade school, junior high, and graduation from Pocatello Senior High in May 1959.

His brother, Ron, and sister, Tammy, were several years younger than him. Being the older brother, they looked up to him as a father figure and mentor.


He entered college at Idaho State University and received his Bachelor of Science Degree on June 6, 1965. He went on a to fulfill his dream of securing a Master’s Degree of Natural Science at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho on May 21, 1972. During the summer breaks, to support the cost of college, he worked on a fire lookout in Oregon with the Forest Service. He shared many bizarre stories from this experience. He also banded doves for the Department of Fish and Game.


Gary went to work for Pocatello School District #25 in September 1965. He started his teaching career at Pocatello Senior High School where he taught Biology. He always waited in anticipation for people to ask him what he taught, and he responded, “Students!” He was a terrific teacher. He was strict, but fair, honest, and respectful of both students and teachers. One year he earned the “Teacher of the Year” award. He finished his teaching career on September 1, 1998, at Franklin Junior High School in Pocatello, Idaho.


He met the love of his life, Sherry Petersen, on a blind date set up by his best friend, Dexter Crane. They went on a double date to the Blackfoot State Fair together. They were married on December 30, 1965, during a huge snowstorm, and people still came from miles around. Cars were sliding off the roads both right and left, so their honeymoon had to be postponed until the following summer. Gary always told people he married Sherry because of the tight white jeans she wore the day they met. Sherry thought it was because of her little red Volkswagen.


Jeffrey Scott, being their first-born child, was born on March 6, 1986, at the Bannock Regional Hospital in Pocatello, Idaho. Four and a half years later their daughter, Stephanie Rae, was born there. Gary was so proud and happy with his family you could almost see the seams of his clothes popping with excitement.


Gary loved to go camping with his family, hunting, and especially fishing. They took many tripes together on the weekends to Twin Lakes, the Little Lost River, Mackay, and Weston to name a few. They finally bought a truck with a camper after baby Stephanie crawled through the ashes left by a campfire. Her clothes never came clean. Gary brough up his kids to love the outdoors, too, and taught them each how to hunt and fish. He tied his own flies, and ended up working for Portneuf River Outfitters fly shop managed by Roger Thompson. He also taught his kids the practical skills of fly tying and reloading. One time he was cleaning and working on his shotgun in the basement when the gun went off. Beebees came up through the floor towards the sofa where Sherry was lying down. He came running up the stairs half hysterical and thought he may have shot his wife. All was well, but she always accused him of trying to kill her.


Gary adored his grandchildren…all five of them…and one great grandson. Jeffrey’s two sons are Bradley (age 23) and Patrick (age 20). Stephanie’s three sons are Daryl, Dillon and Derek. Great grandson, Ashton, lives with his mother in Washington State and is Daryl’s boy. Gary was sad that he didn’t have more time because he wanted to teach his grandkids everything he knew.

He always looked forward to fall bird hunting, which included the wily pheasant, ducks, and geese. Many a time his dog, Boone, would bring a pheasant back to his master that had not been shot. Or a diving duck Gary didn’t want to keep. Fun, fun times on “Duck Point” and one time at Springfield when the weather was 25 degrees below freezing. He and Sherry came back to each lunch at the truck, and all of the food and drink were frozen.


Gary was so creative. He took a watercolor class, and finished several beautiful paintings displayed in the foyer. He also took a drawing class from Edson Fichter and finished an excellent portrait of a ram.


Being so enamored with wildlife, to took up taxidermy and learned from one of the best, Richard Jeppson. How anyone can take a piece of fur and make it look absolutely realistic is amazing. But he did, and opened his own taxidermy business in his home. Sherry remembers helping him try to stretch a buffalo hide over its form, and how much sweat and tears were shed. But it truly looked alive and was magnificent! He gave up taxidermy when he discovered he couldn’t hunt any longer, because he was too busy working on other people’s projects. He still had to drive to bring down a big buck deer or antelope. Never did get an elk.


He was an avid reader, and enjoyed James Patterson’s detective mysteries, Tony Hillerman’s Navajo Tribal police officer stories, and mountain men sagas by William W. Johnstone. He was also a television enthusiast and really liked Blue Bloods with Tom Selleck, and old western movies. Movies he loved were Jeremiah Johnson, Jesse Stones’ the “Lost in Paradise” series, Quigley Down Under, and many more.


Later in life, he started to feed the birds, and loved to sit out on the patio and watch all different varieties come in to the feeders. Hummingbirds were his favorite, but he liked the chickadees, wrens and finches, too.


Gary lived a full life and savored much…good friends, good times, and a loved one’s touch. We will miss him dearly, and take his memories with us wherever we may go. We love you, Dad!


Gary is survived by his loving wife, Sherry; their two children, Jeffrey Powers and Stephanie Downing; his brother, Ron (Carol) Powers; his sister, Tammy (Clark) Kelley; brother-in-law, Jim (Iris) Petersen; sister-in-law, Carol (Bill) Egbert; five grandchildren (all boys); one great-grandson; and several nieces and nephews.


Per his wishes, he was cremated. A Memorial Service is being conducted at the Central Christian Church on the corner of Center Street and 8th Avenue in Pocatello on Saturday, July 29, 2023, at 11:00 am, with Pastor Bruce Carlson officiating. Family will meet with friends one hour prior to the service at the church.


Memories and condolences may be shared by visiting the Tribute Wall tab above.


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gary Powers, please visit our flower store.

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Saturday, July 29, 2023

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Saturday, July 29, 2023

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