In Memory of




Obituary for Richard "Dick" Powell

Richard L. Powell, 87, of Bloomington passed away April 23 at Brookdale in Bloomington. Born January 4, 1936, in St. Louis, Missouri, he was the son of the late Lewis & Mabel (Tatlock) Powell.

Richard enjoyed spelunking, fly fishing, fly tying, rock collecting, whetstone research and traveling to Yellowstone.

His wife, Marion Shirley Sharp Powell, preceded him in death. Survivors include children, Margaret Powell of Bloomington, Elizabeth Piekarczyk (Daniel) of Bloomington, Victoria Powell (Steve) of Sheridan, Arkansas and Richard Powell (Kim) of Bloomington, nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren,

Visitation will be 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM on Saturday, April 29, 2023 at The Funeral Chapel of Powell and Deckard, 3000 E. Third St. in Bloomington. Funeral services will follow with Jules Von Liebig officiating. Burial will follow at Little Union Cemetery in Unionville.

In lieu of flowers the family requests that memorial contributions be made to Yellowstone National Park.

Remembrance from his friends and colleagues.
Dick always was willing to share his knowledge and experience about the many subjects he had enjoyed over his expansive and varied life. Dick earned a Doctorate in Geology. He was particularly interested in what Indiana had to offer in this field. One of his enduring interests was the Karst System here in Indiana. This got Dick involved in Spelunking and through Spelunking Dick met the love of his life, Marion. They shared caving and many other outdoor activities together and made a long and meaningful life together.
Dick was also an author with perhaps the most famous book being the "Caves of Indiana". He also developed a method of mapping caves which has been used around the world. Dick documented and mapped all his findings. One area he had great interest in is the Hindostan Whetstone siltstone layer. This was mined in Southern Indiana and used around the world for sharpening instruments because of its fine grain properties. This whetstone was also used to make grave markers. Dick searched the graveyards and cemeteries finding the headstones made of this siltstone. With this work he also developed an understanding of the carver’s technique and the fonts they used. He mapped where the headstones were and documented what he had found about the carvers. He was even able to identify individual carvers by the ampersand they used. These documents are today housed in the Indiana University Geology Department. Another of the many jobs Dick had as a Geologist was traveling around the country searching for suitable sands used in the foundry processes. They are being used for cores and mold making.
Dick loved fly fishing and fly tying. He was as always, eager to share what he had learned through his many years of experience. Dick was one of the founding fishermen instrumental in starting the Hoosier Fly Fishers Club. He authored most of the original documents of the group and was a constant champion supporting all aspects of fly fishing. He and the HFF have been and remain active in maintaining and improving local outdoor environments. Dick was well known for not being able to past a fly shop without stopping in to investigate new fly-tying materials and perhaps even buy a few feathers.
Dick was well known out on the Yellowstone and acquired a nick name of Geyser Gazer throughout the fly-fishing community in Yellowstone National Park. Many summers Dick and Marion would travel to Yellowstone to work in the park. He did some research on the geological activities and helped some of the staff. When he wasn’t gazing the geysers, he fly fished the many trout streams in the area.
Dick Powell was an engaged human being. Whichever of the many paths of his life he was pursuing, he did so full energy and commitment. This included family and friends, academic and organizational activities, recreational adventures like caving and fly fishing. Dick was a positive role model and a good friend.