Charlie Powell, the oldest and most renowned member of an iconic San Diego family, passed away Labor Day morning at age 82.
A resident of Altadena, Powell was in San Diego for a family function when he became ill on Friday. He died at Scripps Mercy Hospital.
“He was my big brother and I respected him so much,” said younger brother Jerry. “He was always there for me with an encouraging word, always positive. That’s the kind of man he was.”
The brothers Charlie, Ellsworth, and Art were outstanding athletes at San Diego in the early ‘fifties, and Jerry was a star at Lincoln a decade later.
Charlie was the Southern California player of the year in football in 1950, starred in basketball, held the school track-and-field shot put record for 31 years, and signed as a professional baseball player upon high school graduation in 1951.
His greatest thrill, Powell once said, was when “Duane Maley told me that I would be the only man ever to earn twelve varsity letters at San Diego High.”
Powell did that, lettering all three years in four sports, football, basketball, track, and baseball. Maley was his football coach.
Powell went from one season in the St. Louis Browns’ farm system and signed an NFL contract with the San Francisco 49ers in 1952. He had 10 tackles for loss including quarterback sacks of Bobby Layne against the Detroit Lions in one game his rookie season.
Powell turned to boxing in the mid-fifties and rose to become No. 4 in heavyweight rankings. He returned to pro football with the Oakland Raiders in 1960.