The Town of Fort Mill fondly remembers one of its most influential residents, and former Mayor, Charles “Charlie” Powers, who died Thursday, March 11, 2021.
Powers served the Town of Fort Mill in various capacities for 30 years, including six years as Town Councilman and 24 years as Mayor.
Born in Great Falls, Powers lived in Rock Hill as a child and later married Fort Mill native Peggy Gibson. He worked in machinery maintenance at Everlock for 31 years and then later at PPM, a power plant maintenance contractor at AbitibiBowater plant in Rock Hill.
Known by most as “Charlie,” Powers began his tenure first as councilman in January 1978 until January 1984 when he was sworn in as Mayor.
He is well remembered as a community man- one who rode in the Christmas parade with his grandson, shared news at the Main Street barbershop and was a “hands on” Mayor who always found time to help his residents.
In 2008 the S.C. General Assembly honored Powers with a formal resolution for his “outstanding achievements as mayor of Fort Mill, his commitment to the citizens of Fort Mill, and his support of the business community. ” The resolution recognized Powers for helping guide the Town through “unparalleled growth,” and spotlighted his support of commercial and corporate growth as a means of expanding the town's tax base. It was noted that he spearheaded efforts to secure funding for several projects, including Doby's Bridge Park and the Northern Bypass. He was noted as an avid promoter of the Town's signature events, including its annual Christmas parade and the former Fest-I-Fun festival.
“Mr. Powers faithfully conducted all his civic duties in light of his motto, ‘...for the good of the citizens of Fort Mill,’" the resolution stated. “The General Assembly takes great pleasure in recognizing the dedicated labors of such public servants as Charles Powers, and the members extend grateful appreciation and best wishes for the future as he continues to serve the citizens of Fort Mill."
During his tenure, Powers was named the Fort Mill Chamber of Commerce 1981 Citizen of the Year, Fort Mill 1982 Lion of the Year, and Jaycee of the Year, and received the Order of the Palmetto (the state’s highest civilian honor) from Gov. David Beasley in 1996. He also had an interchange off I-77‘s Exit 83 named after him.
Powers told The Herald in 2007 that he had a passion for helping the residents of Fort Mill. As he was leaving office in 2007, Powers mentioned that being Mayor was something he would “miss for awhile” but was looking forward to more time with his family. "Then I'll sort of ease out," he told The Herald before stepping down. "I'll not look over their shoulder, but I'll be available if anybody needs me.”
Powers and his wife have two children and four grandchildren.
The Town has lowered flags half staff in memory of the former Mayor. In addition, the Town has placed a flower memorial in downtown Fort Mill’s bandstand for the public to visit.