Friends, family and colleagues gathered on the lawn near Frog Baby to remember a Ball State employee and dedicate a plaque in his honor.
David Powell, 52, died March 6 at Indiana University Ball Memorial Hospital. David graduated from Ball State in 1990 with a bachelor's degree in information system management and worked at the university for nearly 30 years.
“He always shared his knowledge with people,” said Wendy Powell, his wife of 28 years. “There was never a stupid question. If you asked him something, he answered you as honestly and as well as he could with the intent of teaching you something.”
David’s friends and colleagues raised funds for a tree that was planted on June 27 near Bracken Library. On Aug. 6 a plaque was placed in front of the tree to in his memory.
During her speech, Wendy Powell read out a message sent to him by one of his online gamer friends, Travis Combs.
“David, it’s weird typing your real name. You helped bring together people from all over the world — the U.K., Canada and even as far as Australia — with just the charismatic sound of your voice. Most of us in our group never got to meet you in person, but no, we didn’t need to. I’m not the only one who smiled every time we saw you log on under one of your characters and it brightened our day when we got to talk to you and hear your voice. You have a massive family of people who haven’t had the pleasure of shaking your hand or giving you a hug but are all here by your side.”
“It just makes me happy because after I lost him, I did think about it, that we didn’t have that connection to Ball State anymore,” said Wendy who met David when they were students at Ball State in 1986. “To have this here forever is important to me.”
In her dedication speech, Wendy noted that David was an avid video game player, particularly of World of Warcraft (WoW). She said he was called Anj by the people he played with because all his characters began with Anj.
“He had this whole group of friends that never met him, but were still good friends,” Wendy said. “He just wanted to have a good time. He just wanted to meet people, relax and enjoy himself.”
His daughter Emily Powell, will be joining Ball State in the fall to study computer technology. She will also be working in the same location, with some of the same people that he worked with in Bracken Library.
“I’m being inducted into the Ball State family. It feels very good to have the knowledge that these people cared about my dad as much as I did,” Emily said.
Like her father, Emily too enjoyed playing WoW.
“It just a way that we bonded,” she said. “If I was ever stressed out as a little kid I knew that I could just go into the computer room and watch him play World of Warcraft, relax and just completely destress.”
Emily said her father treated people with respect and was cordial with everyone.
“He just wanted to treat everybody with kindness and just implanted that seed into people’s minds to just be as nice to people as you possibly can,” she said. “I feel like I’m trying to carry on that demeanor.”
She said having a memorial of her dad right next to where she will be working and being able to tell people that it is for her dad was “monumental” for her.
Wendy said the most important thing for David was people. She said he would advise them to have a good attitude when responding to people or situations.
“Either you can help the situation or you hurt it and he was always one to help and wanted to help people get along and excel at what they did,” she said.
Emily shared an advise her father would give to Ball State students today.
“Just do your best and know your worth. If you know you are good at something then fight to make people know that you are worth everything that can be given to you,” she said. “If you are being treated less than that, then you need to find some way around that or find a different place to go to be valued.”
Contact Rohith Rao with comments at email@example.com or on Twitter @RaoReports.