Lucius Powers succumbs to cancer

A Fortson man whose story of inoperable brain cancer ran in the Ledger-Enquirer on Father's Day 2007 has died. Lucius Powers, 47, and an 18-year TSYS employee, passed away Sunday morning at his home.

"Lucius Powers is one of the finest men I have ever had the privilege of knowing. He is so loved," said Barbara Hanes, his boss at TSYS. "He will be greatly missed."

In June, Lucius celebrated his 25th wedding anniversary to Lisa Bradfield Powers. In addition to his wife, he is survived by their two daughters, Mary Casey, 12, and Isabelle, 7; parents Lamar and Ruth Ann Powers of Phenix City; and one sibling, Stephen Powers of Phenix City.

In recent weeks, Lamar Powers, a past president of Litho-Krome in Columbus, helped re-paint Lucius' home and do other repairs along with son Stephen.

Both the visitation and a memorial service will be at First Presbyterian Church, 1100 First Ave. The visitation will be 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, and the service will be 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Powers grew up in Phenix City. Doctors told him he had an inoperable brain tumor on Aug. 18, 2006, after various symptoms landed him in the hospital.

The malignant tumor is called a glioblastoma multiforme, or GBM. Since 2006, he received treatments both at the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at the Duke University Medical Center, and at the John B. Amos Cancer Center in Columbus.

In July, the tumor began to spread. Lisa Powers, who shares the same December birthday as her husband, kept people updated on Lucius' condition almost daily for two years through a Web site called Carepages.com.

Lucius always seemed to take his illness in stride, and accepted discouraging news as it came. "I think about my mortality a lot more than I did before. I was on the young side. I was invincible," Lucius Powers told the Ledger-Enquirer for the profile. "And it forced me to realize that I have limitations. It makes me more appreciative of what I do have and the good things we have had inlife. My children, my wife.

"I guess I've learned that I am not afraid of dying. I don't want to. I want to see them grow up and all that, but I have not been fearful. It's been real odd."

Despite his illness and after-effects of treatment, Powers went to work most days until early July. Barbara Hanes said he boosted company morale before his illness, and especially after he got sick; his determination made people second-guess calling in for a routine cold, she said.

On July 9, he made one last visit to TSYS, to say good-bye to co-workers at the main campus downtown. Hanes said the department treated him that day like a rock star.

"He was my go-to person," Hanes said. "I knew that I could drop anything on him at any time. If Lucius was involved, I never had to worry about a job getting done and done right the first time. Due to the nature of our jobs, we and many other team members would spend many weeknights and weekends together working on one conversion after another. We were and still are a very close family. We all feel like we are losing a sibling. It will not be the same without him."

Many of Powers' co-workers rooted for him through the months not only on Carepages, but when Lisa drove him to his last radiation treatment Oct. 9, 2006. The co-workers wore maroon T-shirts that read "Team Lucius" and they lined the sidewalk next to the Amos center with other friends, and family members, as Lisa drove him to treatment.

A more recent celebration was in June at the farm of friends who commissioned an oil painting by local artist Booth Malone. Many of the Powers' family and friends contributed to the work, which is of the family and their two dogs, Simone and Sport. (Sport has since died, and a new dognamed Betty has joined the family.) A picnic, which included the painting's unveiling, contained about 100 people.

A GBM is the most aggressive form of brain cancer. Statistically, children and the elderly are most often stricken. Males get these tumors more than females. Exact causes of the disease are unknown.

The Rev. Jones Doughton, associate pastor of First Presbyterian, hailed Lucius and Lisa as people of solid character. He called Lisa "a pillar of strength. Vulnerable and yet strong, she has watered her roots deeply when things were going well, and so she has the strength to endure when there is heat."

Following the diagnosis, the Powers family visited Sequoia National Park in California, a place on Lucius' wish list. Their last trip together was earlier this summer to Sea Island, Ga.

A 1983 graduate of the University of Alabama, Powers not only was a football fan but enjoyed spending time with his family, woodworking, juggling and doing home repairs. He graduated in 1979 from Central High School in Phenix City.

Mary Casey is a rising seventh-grader at St. Luke School, and Isabelle will go to the downtown school for the first time. She will be in the second grade.