Rev. Leon A. Powell
The Rev. Leon Anthony Powell, 81, a Stevens Point native and a Catholic priest for 44 years who served parishes in Portage County, died Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, at Mayo Clinic Health System – Franciscan Healthcare in La Crosse.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 14, at Christ the King Chapel in Holy Cross Diocesan Center in La Crosse. The Most Rev. William Patrick Callahan, Bishop of La Crosse, will be the main celebrant, and the Rev. Monsignor Robert P. Hundt will be the homilist. Burial will be in Guardian Angel Cemetery in Stevens Point at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16.
The rosary will begin at 9:15 a.m. Monday in the chapel, with visitation following until the Mass.
Blaschke & Schneider Funeral Home in La Crosse assisted
with arrangements. Condolences may be offered online at
The Rev. Powell was born Leon Anthony Puwalowski July 26,
1934, in Stevens Point, the only child of the late Leo S. and Bernice T.
(Glowienka) Puwalowski. As an adult, he decided to simplify his last name by
formally changing it to “Powell.” His elementary education was at Saint Peter
Elementary School in Stevens Point. He attended high school at West De Pere
Catholic High School in De Pere.
In 1956 he received a Bachelor of Science degree in history,
with a minor in biology from St. Norbert College in West De Pere.
Beginning in February 1957, he served for two years in
active duty with the U.S. Army in artillery and was discharged as a specialist
For the next several years, he was employed in social
services for Sawyer County in Hayward and as a caseworker in Portage County.
During this time, he was called back to active duty at Fort Lewis, Wash.,
during the Berlin Crisis, and was finally discharged in August of 1962.
After he returned to social work, he contacted Bishop
Frederick Freking about becoming a priest and was accepted as a seminarian. He
was sent to Mount Saint Paul in Oshkosh for courses in philosophy and Latin. He
went on to study theology at St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee from 1967 to 1971.
Rev. Powell was ordained May 29, 1971, at St. Peter Church
in Stevens Point by Bishop Frederick W. Freking.
His first assignment was as associate pastor at St. Anne
Parish in Wausau June 18, 1971. On June 6, 1973, he was appointed associate pastor
at Saints Peter and Paul Parish in Wisconsin Rapids. On Sept. 7, 1976, he was
appointed associate pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Stevens Point. In August
1978 until May 1980, he served as chaplain at St. Joseph’s Home, Bethany-St. Joseph Home and Bethany Lutheran Home in La
He was then assigned as pastor at St. Philip Parish in
Rolling Ground until Sept. 9, 1985, until being appointed pastor of Guardian
Angels Parish in Almond and St. John Parish in Heffron.
In October 1994, he became the pastor of Nativity of the
Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Keyesville, St. Anthony de Padua Parish in
Cazenovia, St. Killian Parish in Bear Valley and Sacred Heart Parish in Lone
In 1996, Rev. Powell became the vice chancellor for the
Diocese of La Crosse. On July 1, 2012, he was granted status of senior priest,
while continuing to serve as vice chancellor until May 1, 2015.
Survivors include cousins.