Vermillion mayor and USD alumnus Jack Powell passes
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Vermillion mayor and USD alumnus Jack Powell passes

After a five-year battle with cancer, Mayor John E. (Jack) Powell, retired USD professor and Vermillion, passed away on Monday, April 20.

Powell was elected mayor in 2010 after serving three terms on the city council, according to the Vermillion Plain Talk. He was elected again in 2014 and 2018, serving the city for a total of 20 years.

Powell received his master’s degree in mathematics from USD where he taught Operations Management, Production and Operations Management and Management Information Systems at the Business School, according to his obituary in the Plain Talk. Powell taught at USD for 45 years until his retirement in 2007.

Powell advocated for many public works projects in his career, including the construction of power lines to the Spirit Mound power station, a plan to expand the Vermillion public library and a plan to levy a malt beverage tax to help fund the Prentis Plunge swimming pool.

Powell planned to resign as mayor due to his health issues but passed away before he could read his letter of resignation at Monday’s city council meeting. The letter explained Powell’s cancer became incurable and though he would be stepping down as mayor, he and his wife Lisa Ketcham would continue to do all they could to serve the city of Vermillion.