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Cornelius Odell “CO” Powell Jr.

Cornelius Odell “CO” Powell Jr.

Cornelius Odell “CO” Powell Jr., 63, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his loving family, at the Sanford Hospice Cottage, after a 15-month battle with Stage IV Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.

Cornelius was born on December 31, 1954, to Cornelius and Wilma Jenkins Powell in Richmond. He grew up in the segregated South in Middlesex County. He attended the black school in his county, where his mother was principal of grades 1-8. In 1969, the State of Virginia School Systems were integrated. CO was a sophomore at Middlesex County High School at the time of integration. This experience shaped the man he would become. He never forgot from where he came.  CO excelled athletically in football, basketball and track. He was being recruited to play football at several Ivy League colleges when a devastating knee injury ended his dream of playing college football.

After graduation, CO moved to Northfield, Minn., where he graduated from St. Olaf College in 1977, with degrees in Speech, Political Science and African-American Studies. It was there, he met the love of his life, Mary Hennessy. They were married on August 14, 1981, in Bloomington, Minn.

CO began his career at Ford Motor Tractor in 1977.  In 1981, he started his sales career at Xerox Corp. In 1992, Xerox moved CO, Mary and the family to Sioux Falls, S.D., where they raised their four children, Cornelius III , Sean, William and Maria. In 2001, motivated by a passion to assist others in becoming financially secure, CO made a career shift and entered the financial services industry. He worked as a financial advisor for Morgan Stanley, First National Bank of Sioux Falls, LPL Financial (Independent), and the Security Savings Bank. CO’s commitment to always go the extra mile for his clients resulted in many close friendships

Above all, CO loved God and his family with all his heart.

CO had many passions. First, was coaching youth sports. He started coaching in Sioux Falls in 1992, first with SEBA baseball, then YMCA Basketball. He coached all four of his children, from 1992-2007. Although he loved coaching the boys, he really enjoyed the girls, coaching Maria’s team from 2nd through 8th grades. He was a tough coach, but always added fun and CO’s life lessons to each practice. He supported the Sioux Falls Catholic Schools and was an avid Knights fan, as well as a member of the Dakota Bowl Committee for many years. When Will played football for USD, although not an alumnus, CO became one of the Coyotes’ biggest fans. CO loved hosting his tailgate parties at Yotes’ home games.

As CO was born and raised in Virginia near the Chesapeake Bay, he had a natural love for fishing and being on the water. CO always carried his fishing gear in his car. Whether it was a trout stream, lake, river or the sea, CO was in heaven on earth when he was near the water. He shared this love of fishing with everyone.

CO is survived by his wife, Mary, and children, Cornelius III (Elisabeth) of Charlotte, N.C.; Sean (Andrea), Sioux Falls, William, Sioux Falls, and Maria, Los Angeles; brother, Barry (Sherrita; brothers-in-law Jon Hennessy (Pat), Jay Hennessy (Jacquie), Jeff Hennessy, and Joel Hennessy (Jodi); sister-in-law Julie Hennessy; father and mother-in-law, Thomas and Cynthia Hennessy; and 17 nieces and nephews. Preceding CO in death were his mother and father, and brother, William.

The wake was held at St. Mary Catholic Church on September 10, concluding with a prayer service and celebration of CO’s life. A Mass of Christian Burial was held on September 11, also at St. Mary. A reception was held in the church hall after Mass. CO was buried at St. Rose of Lima Church in Lewiston, Minn., with a graveside service. Heritage Funeral Home, Sioux Falls, is in charge of the arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a memorial to either the Crossings Center, in Lewiston, Minn., or the Special Forces Warrior Foundation.

posted 09.07.2018

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