Cover photo for Walter "Bob" Powell's Obituary
Walter "Bob" Powell Profile Photo
1930 Walter 2019

Walter "Bob" Powell

May 24, 1930 — June 26, 2019

Bob Powell was born May 24, 1930 in Yreka, California. He passed away on June 26, 2019 in the presence of his family. He was 89 years old.  He had been lovingly cared for in his final days at the Carlton Senior Living Facility.

He grew up in Pinnacles National Monument and later Oakland California. Education was very important to his family and he graduated from Oakland Technical High School in 1948. He then attended the University of California Berkeley and graduated in 1952 with a BS in Forestry.  While a student at Berkeley he was a member of the Glee club and the Men’s Octet. For the two years following his graduation from college he was a soldier in the US Army.

He worked for the University of California Davis for 35 years as an agronomy and range science research specialist. He played a key role in the US Geological Soil Vegetation Survey identifying and mapping the soils and plants of California by county.

His lifelong interest in plants went beyond his work at UCD. He was an active member of the California Native Plant Society and was instrumental in helping to identify and catalog rare plant species. He is author of the publication “Inventory of Rare and Endangered Vascular Plants of California” which is available for viewing online as a PDF at: file:///C:/Users/hm/Downloads/Inventory%20of%20Rare%20and%20Endangered%20Vascular%20Plants%20of%20CA.pdf

As a longtime resident of Davis Bob took great interest in the promotion of bicycle transportation and was a member of the grassroots committee that helped to ensure the installment of the first bike lanes on our city streets.  He himself rode his bike to work at UCD.

Bob was an avid tennis fan as both a player and spectator. He enjoyed international travel with his family. He and his wife, Mary Lou, took their grandchildren on multiple international trips.  He very much enjoyed the outdoors and often went camping and hiking, Yosemite being his favorite. He enjoyed singing and participated in many city musical productions including the The HMS Pinafore and The Fantastiks. He also frequently attended the Messiah production.

Bob was active on the board of Longview Elementary School where his children attended school during the 1960’s and early 1970’s. His tireless efforts in helping with management, maintenance and fund raising for the school were essential to its operation.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Mary Louise Powell, who he met at a folk dance festival and fell madly in love with. He is also survived by daughter Heidi McNulty, son John Powell and grandchildren Amanda McNulty, William McNulty, James McNulty, Joseph McNulty and Paul McNulty.

Services will be held at Smith Funeral Home in Davis Saturday, July 6, 2019 at 10 AM, followed by burial at Davis Cemetery and at noon there will be light refreshments at the Powell home at 1306 Toyon Place in Davis.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to Davis Community Meals:

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Walter "Bob" Powell, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

Smith Funeral Home

116 D St, Davis, CA 95616

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 1

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree