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Black golf pioneer Powell dies
Thu Dec 31, 10:23 pm ET
CANTON, Ohio – Bill Powell, the first African American to build, own and operate a golf course, died Thursday. He was 93.
The PGA of America said Powell died at Aultman Hospital in Canton following complications from a stroke.
“Bill Powell will forever be one of golf’s most unforgettable American heroes,” PGA of America president Jim Remy said. “Bill made us appreciate the game and each other that much more by his gentle, yet firm example.
“He was born with a fire within his heart to build on his dream. In the process, he made golf a beacon for people of all color. The PGA of America is better today because of individuals like Bill Powell. We will miss him dearly. We extend our thoughts and prayers to his family as we remember a wonderful man.”
In August, Powell received the PGA Distinguished Service Award, the association’s highest annual honor. In November, he was inducted into the Northern Ohio PGA Hall of Fame and honored as the Person of the Year by the Ohio Golf Course Owners Association.
The Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce also recently presented the Powell family with its Community Salute Award.
“My father made a mark,” said daughter Renee Powell, the second black player to compete on the LPGA Tour. “And, I believe that God wanted people to know the mark that he made on this nation.”
The grandson of Alabama slaves, Powell created Clearview Golf Club after returning home following World War II. While serving in Europe, he earned the rank of Technical Sergeant in the U.S. Eighth Air Force Truck Battalion.
Powell worked 18-hour days to support his family and build Clearview. Denied a GI Loan, he found funding from two African American physicians, and his brother took out a second mortgage on his home.
Powell went on to carve Clearview out of former dairy farmland in 1946, clearing the land himself. In the process, Powell broke down racial barriers without fanfare by developing female and youth golf leagues.
Clearview opened its initial nine holes in 1948. Powell eventually repaid his benefactors to gain full ownership, and nine more holes were completed in 1978. Clearview is on the National Register of Historic Places, and nicknamed “America’s Course.”
Rest of Obituary at link above.
Thank you, Mr. Powell, for taking your passion for Golf and providing a way for numerous young people to see a better way in life.
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