In Memory of Zane Powell

I went to elementary school with Zane. We graduated from high school together and worked together for most of our adult lives. Zane was born June 21, 1958 to Bill and Donna Powell. He had an older brother, Brian, and two younger sisters, Gail and Deanna. He graduated from Whiteland High School in 1977 and married Becky Engleking on April 7, 1978. They had two children, Justin and Leslie and six grandchildren. Zane and Becky were active members of the Indianapolis Church of Christ where Zane was the drummer in the worship band. He loved camping, fishing and was a true master woodworker.

In August of 2018, at the encouragement of Doug, Zane went to a clinic to find out why his stomach hurt so bad. Tests show that his liver enzymes were off the charts. On Friday August 10, he had a scan. On Monday August 13, I had just started a Joinery class when Susie came to the class and mentioned that she needed to talk to me in five minutes. I thought that was odd, but five minutes later, she pulled me to the side and told me the scans showed Zane had liver cancer. Becky was on her way to tell him, and she wanted us to be with her.

It was on our property, just outside the kitchen door, that we told him the life changing news. It ended up Becky, Susie and I couldn’t control our emotion, yet Zane seemed unphased and was ready to go back to work, as though nothing was wrong. He came back to work the next day, even though he felt terrible. Zane refused to listen to Doug when he told him to go home and get some rest, instead he pushed his way through the pain to finish what would be his last full day at MASW. Before he left, we had our first talk about cancer. Although he had not met with the doctor yet to find out exactly what the future held, he did tell me that he was unsure of having any treatments or procedures. He left that day at 6:00 pm and by 8:00 pm that evening, he was in the hospital on morphine for the pain and immediate radiation treatments.

It turned out that the cancer was inoperable, and the best hope was that chemo would add months to his life, not years. Becky and Zane made the decision to start chemo but after his first two treatments it became clear that he wouldn’t survive a third. By September he was bed ridden, in terrible pain with tubes to drain his liver and a feeding tube for nourishment.

As the community of MASW found out, a GoFundMe page was set up to help offset the mounting medical bills. Letters and financial help poured in by the droves. At first Zane tried to write thank you letters to everyone, but he just didn’t have the energy. He did ask me to make sure I told everyone how thankful he was for the incredible love shown by so many friends and the support given to Becky.

On April 9, 2019 Zane went to heaven.

His Celebration of Life service was on April 15, 2019 at MASW. There were several hundred relatives, friends and church family members in attendance. By the middle of the summer we did a second Celebration of Life for the MASW community. Between the two events there were over 400 people who attended, and I was given the honor of sharing Zane’s story at both events.

I started with the statement that the day Zane was born, God broke his mold into a thousand pieces because there has never been, nor will there ever be, another Zane. I mentioned that Zane was always the funniest person in the room, even though he never told a joke. I went on to talk about how envious I was of him, not the cancer, but his character. He was sound in his faith, a loving husband, great father, loyal friend, brilliant craftsman, generous, humble and he always put the needs of others before his own. I mentioned that it’s sad when the people who give us the best memories become a memory.

I finished by reminding people about the mold that God broke into a thousand pieces, but how everyone of us has one of those pieces. A part of his life became a part of ours. Today when I look back on the tears, I was hoping to laugh, but as I think about the laughs, it brings back tears. The MASW community is thankful for Zane’s life and his contribution to making each of our lives just a little better.

A Charity Event in Memory of Zane Powell: Carving Wood into Movement (Alongside the Spirit) with Christopher White June 1-5, 2020

This summer the school will offer a workshop taught by Christopher White with all the proceeds going to the Roger Cliffe Memorial Foundation in honor of Zane. Christopher had an incredible impact on Zane’s personal work, both Spiritually and artistically.

The staff of MASW commissioned Christopher to make a sculptural cross made from beautiful Texas Juniper. That cross was presented to Zane’s wife Becky at his memorial service in April of 2019.

During this special week, Christopher will help those who attend to have a greater awareness and command of lines, planes, and forms, expressed through the simple principles of movement. While at the same time showing them how to gain the awareness that our Creator desires to live in His creations and aid them in their creative endeavors.