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Mary Jane's Story

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Mary Jane (Malicki) Powell, best known as “MJ," passed away peacefully at age 81 under hospice care, at her son, Andrew’s home on August 21. MJ was an ardent feminist, political catalyst, entrepreneur, adoring grandmother, and lover of dogs and donkeys.
A passionate Democrat born to Republicans in Chicago, young MJ Malicki met naval officer Henry Powell while attending Marquette University. Hank, a native of Lowell, Mass., ferried her east to Andover, where they raised four children and co-founded Powell Corporation, a non-woven manufacturing company in Haverhill.
A longtime political activist, MJ became a lifetime member of the Democratic State Committee and served as Treasurer of the Massachusetts Democratic Party. As a fundraiser for many Democratic candidates on the local, state and national level, MJ sought to elect candidates of integrity. In recognition for her work, she was honored to receive the Agenda Latina, Profiles in Courage Award, and the Eleanor Roosevelt Award. Electing Democratic women to political office was her primary goal. She would often remark, “I’m doing this for my grandchildren.” Her memberships included various Democratic groups, Emily's List, GEM, Mass Coalition of Democratic Women, Mass Women's Political Caucus, Women's Statewide Legislative Network, League of Women Voters, Agenda Latina, Andover Democratic Town Committee, among others.
Her various outside board positions tended to be business focused, such as the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Mass Co-Chair White House Conference on Small Business, where she received the Tribute to Women in Industry Award. MJ used those channels to promote other special interests, which included money management and pension equity for under-served women.
As a University of Lowell Trustee, and later as Trustee of the Powell Family Scholarships at UMass Lowell, MJ vigorously supported access to college education for students from Lawrence and Lowell. She served as Board Chair, Advisory Council Chair, and promoted the Leadership Givers Group of her favorite charity, The YWCA of Greater Lawrence.
MJ is survived by her beloved husband, Hank; daughters, Maren and Jenna; daughter-in-law, Lisa; her sons, Andrew and Jason; son-in-law, John; and her five grandchildren, Nora, Burgess, Jake, Ella, and Max.
Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend her Funeral Mass of Christian Burial on Saturday, Sept. 16, at 10 a.m. in Sacred Hearts Church, 165 So. Main St. (Route 125), Bradford, MA. Interment will be private in the Lowell Cemetery. Arrangements are by H.L. Farmer & Sons Funeral Homes and Cremation Service, Bradford - Haverhill.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the YWCA of Greater Lawrence (ywcalawrence.org), 38 Lawrence St., Lawrence, MA 01840; Southern Poverty Law Center (splcenter.org), 400 Washington Ave., Montgomery, AL 36104; Planned Parenthood Federation of America (plannedparenthood.org), 123 Williams St. 10th Floor, New York, NY 10038; or to the Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org), 309 Waverley Oaks Rd., Waltham, MA 02452.
To share a memory or for more information, please visit www.farmerfuneralhomes.com.
Published on  August 29, 2017
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