Margaret Burd Powell

April 24, 1943June 13, 2022
Obituary of Margaret Burd Powell
Dr. Margaret Burd Powell, age 79, of Alton, Illinois passed away on Monday, June 13, 2022. Margaret was born April 24, 1943. Dr. Margaret B. Powell passed away peacefully on Monday, June 13, 2022. She was at her home in Alton, IL with a beloved friend at her side. Born April 24, 1943 in Whiteland, IN, Margaret was raised as an “army brat” following her father’s Army Air Corps assignments. She lived in Indiana, Texas, California, Alaska, and attended high school in Okinawa. However, for Margaret, home was the family farm in Sweet Owen County, Indiana. Margaret graduated from Indiana University with an English major in 1965. She earned a doctorate in education at Northern Illinois University in 1976. She moved to the greater Alton area in 1977 to join the faculty of Principia College, specializing in Reading, Children’s Literature, and teacher education. At the time, Principia was recognized as one of the leading Education programs in the state. As a professor, she inspired countless future educators to teach with equity, high expectations and love. Dr. Powell mentored many of her graduates as they attended graduate school and as they pursued careers in education. Margaret also worked closely with international students providing guidance and support through their college experience and beyond. After 23 years at Principia, Margaret joined the faculty of St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley, from which she retired. Nearly all of Margaret’s retirement years were spent in her beloved community of Alton. She was a feminist and social justice activist. Her commitment to equality for all led her to be actively involved with the Elijah P. Lovejoy Memorial Scholarship Fund; the American Association of University Women; the Alton Race and Justice group; Church Women United; and the Oasis Women’s Center where she served in many capacities including on the Board. Margaret also actively served in her church, the First Church of Christ, Scientist, Alton-Godfrey. In addition to committing her life to service for others, Margaret had a great love for animals and their welfare. Her home was never without at least one rescued animal including dogs; cats; a turtle, Terry, that she and her brother cared for for over 50 years; and chickens. She had a special fondness for pigs, supporting the Ironwood Pig Sanctuary in Mariana, Arizona. Margaret loved taking walks in nature, cheering on her granddaughter in her various school and sporting events, and watching wildlife along the Mississippi River. Margaret’s parents, Anna Mae and Oswald, “Ozzie” Burd, preceded her in death. She is survived by her daughter, Dr. Jill Bryant (Elizabeth) and granddaughter Maya Elizabeth Bryant of Portland, OR; her brother, Alan Frank Burd (Vicki) of New Waverly, TX; nephew Alan Edward Burd (Chanda), great-niece Shai Annamae, and great-nephew Malachi of Fort Collins, CO; cousins Carole Rae Brantley (Richard) of Kokomo, IN; Melanie Rieth of Alton; and Yasha Rieth of Fort Collins, CO. Margaret created a sense of community wherever she lived. Her inclusivity was boundless. Her understanding of family expanded well beyond birth lines. Margaret’s inquisitiveness was insatiable and often answered a question with a bigger question. She was an unselfish and great-hearted woman. Her legacy is found in all whom she touched with her generosity. A celebration of Margaret’s life is planned for October 8th, as autumn was Margaret’s favorite season. The Celebration of Life will be held on October 8th from 1 to 4pm at Lewis and Clark Community College (Godfrey, IL) in the Trimpe ATC room. All are welcome to attend. Please contact Jill Bryant and Melanie Rieth with questions regarding the service: jdbryant24@gmail and Memorial contributions may be made to the Elijah P. Lovejoy Memorial (PO Box 214, Alton, IL 620002); the Ironwood Pig Sanctuary (; and/or the American Indian College Fund (; and/or PFLAG (

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Saturday, October 08, 2022

Celebration of Life

1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Lewis and Clark Community College

Godfrey, IL