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Emeritus historian James M. Powell dies

February 03, 2011

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James M. Powell succumbed after a courageous battle for life following a car accident. He was professor emeritus of medieval history in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, where he taught for more than 30 years.

“Jim Powell was a wonderful colleague as well as a distinguished historian of medieval Europe. He will be deeply missed,” says Carol Faulkner, associate professor and chair of the history department in the Maxwell School.

He was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, N.J., and a corresponding fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He was a founding member of the Midwest Medieval History Conference, as well as an attendee and contributor to the international Congress on Medieval Studies. He wrote and co-authored a multitude of publications in his field.

Powell contributed to several books, including “Leopold von Ranke and the Shaping of the Historical Discipline” (Syracuse University Press, 1989), which he co-edited and wrote the introduction for. He authored “Anatomy of a Crusade, 1213-1221” (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986), which won the John Gilmary Shea Prize from the American Catholic Historical Association.

He is survived by six children; seven grandchildren; one great-grandson; he was predeceased by his wife, Judy, in February of 1992.

A Mass of Christian burial will be Saturday, Feb. 5, at 10 a.m. at All Saints Church, 1340 Lancaster Ave., Syracuse. Calling hours will be on both Friday from 4:30 to 7 p.m at the Burns-Garfield Funeral Home, and from 9-10 a.m. Saturday at All Saints Church. Powell will be buried next to his wife at St. Mary’s Cemetery in DeWitt following the service.

Donations can be made to the Salvation Army or Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

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