For more than a quarter of a century, the official face of Fort Mill has been that of Charlie Powers.
Powers served for six years as town councilman and then 24 more as mayor of Fort Mill. He steps down this month after 30 years of service, handing the gavel to Danny Funderburk, who defeated Powers in the recent city elections.
Powers, 68, was born in Great Falls and raised in Rock Hill. But, he confesses, he was drawn to Fort Mill as a teenager by girls.
He married one of them, Peggy Gibson, after a whirlwind romance. They have two children and four grandchildren.
Powers' long service as mayor spans from the days when Fort Mill was just a small town to the booming growth center it is today. Throughout it all, Powers always was known simply as Charlie; he would have none of the "hizzoner" pomp.
His mayoral duties were not his only service to the community. Powers also was a devoted member of the local Jaycees and Lions Club. He was Fort Mill Lion of the year in 1982 and Fort Mill Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year in 1981.
Powers also was an avid promoter of local events such as the annual Christmas parade, which he almost single-handedly brought to life, and the Fest-i-Fun. He has a picture of himself presenting a framed Fest-i-Fun picture to President Bill Clinton.
He also got a lot done as mayor, including securing money for Doby's Bridge Park, working to complete the Northern Bypass, and encouraging commercial and corporate growth to balance the residential tax base. And he did it all without a tax increase over the past decade.
Powers is philosophical about stepping down as mayor. He said he would help where wanted but would not look over the shoulder of his successor.
He said it also dawned on him that he now would have more time to spend with his grandchildren. That, we think, represents a good understanding of priorities.
We join the Fort Mill community in expressing our gratitude for his leadership over the past 30 years. We wish him well as he takes on new challenges.
After 30 years of public service, Fort Mill Mayor Charlie Powers will step down this month.