John L. Powell II ’64

Dr. John L. Powell II, 81, departed this life on Friday, Oct. 20, 2023, at Lower Cape Fear LifeCare, Wilmington, N.C.

Dr. Powell was the first born of Dr. J.B. and Jean Powell. Raised in Clinton, N.C., Powell graduated from Clinton High School, Davidson College and U.N.C. School of Medicine. Dr. Powell had an exemplary career in medicine for which he was recognized in 2023 with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the U.N.C. School of Medicine and was also named a Healthcare Hero in Southeast N.C. He was a board-certified Fellow of the College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a board-certified Gynecologic Oncologist and was also certified by the American Board of Laser Surgery.

He served eight years in the U.S. Army Medical Corps delivering over 5,000 babies and reaching the rank of Major. He completed a fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology in Atlanta and was later recruited to be the Director of Gynecologic Oncology at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass. While there, he rose from Assistant to Full Professor at Tufts Medical Center, training thousands of medical students and residents.

Dr. Powell also served on the Board of Directors of the American Cancer Society. Powell was a pioneer of laser surgery, lecturing on the use of lasers in 26 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and 8 foreign countries. He also designed 2 surgical instruments which are now widely used by Gynecologists. Powell authored over 200 articles which were published in peer-reviewed medical journals and 13 book chapters. He also wrote 140 articles known as “Powell’s Pearls” which focused on famous names in medical and surgical history, many of which were published in medical journals. Dr. Powell gave more than 300 presentations at regional, national and international medical meetings.

In 1994, Dr. Powell was recruited to join the A.H.E.C. teaching program at New Hanover Regional Medical Center, not only as the sole Gynecologic Oncologist but also to help design and start up the Zimmer Cancer Center. After retirement, Dr. Powell served 7 1/2 years as Coordinator of the Retired Physicians Section of the local medical society.

Dr. Powell dedicated his life to the practice of medicine, giving his patients the best care possible and inspiring other doctors to do likewise.

A memorial service will be held at Andrews Mortuary Chapel, 1617 Market St., Wilmington, N.C. at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023. In lieu of flowers, please consider giving a memorial gift in memory of Dr. Powell to either: Lower Cape Fear LifeCare Foundation, 1414 Physicians Drive, Wilmington, N.C. 28401 U.N.C. Health Foundation, 123 West Franklin St., Suite 150, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27516 Condolences may be shared with the family at