Ralph Wilson Powers, 89, a retired Maryland Circuit Court judge who served in Prince George's County from 1960 until he retired in 1976, died of cancer Jan. 21 at Ginger Cove retirement facility in Annapolis.
At his retirement, Judge Powers was also chief judge of Maryland's 7th Judicial Circuit, which includes Prince George's, Charles, St. Mary's and Calvert counties.
Before becoming a judge, he had practiced law in Prince George's County for 27 years and had twice served as president of the Prince George's Chamber of Commerce, initially in 1935 and 1936 and then 20 years later.
From 1936 to 1942, Judge Powers served as a Democratic member of the Maryland House of Delegates. He was a member of the House Judiciary Committee in Annapolis and chairman of the Prince George's legislative delegation.
During World War II, he was a counterintelligence officer in the Army, and he served in North Africa, Italy, France and Austria. He was discharged as a lieutenant colonel and received a Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster.
In 1949 and 1950, he was president of the Prince George's County Bar Association, and he also had served on the executive council of the Maryland State Bar Association. He had served in the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association.
In 1967, he was a delegate to Maryland's Constitutional Convention.
During his years on the bench, Judge Powers presided over a variety of cases. They ranged from civil lawsuits over zoning and land-use matters to criminal cases, including the 1972 trial of Arthur H. Bremer, who was convicted of shooting Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace at a Laurel shopping Center. Wallace, who was campaigning in the Maryland Democratic presidential primary that year, was paralyzed from the waist down by the gunshot wounds. Bremer was convicted in a trial before Judge Powers that lasted one week.
Judge Powers was born in Texas and moved to Prince George's County as a child. He graduated from Hyattsville High School and the University of Maryland, and he received his law degree from George Washington University Law School.
He had been senior warden and a vestryman of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Upper Marlboro and associate chancellor of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington. He was vice president of the Episcopal Church Home in Washington.
He had served on Maryland's Thoroughbred Racing Commission and was president of the Vansville Farmers Club and the Marlborough Hunt Club. He was a member of the Maryland Club and the Southern Maryland Society, a trustee of Prince George's Hospital Endowment Fund and chairman of the board of overseers of Queen Anne School in Upper Marlboro.
He was a director of Prince George's Federal Savings Bank.
A longtime resident of Drumsheugh Farm in Upper Marlboro, Judge Powers moved to Annapolis after the death of his first wife, Penelope LeClair Powers, in 1979.
Survivors include his wife, Eleanor Calvert Powers of Annapolis; two children from his first marriage, Beryl Powers Robison of Vancouver, Wash., and Ralph W. Powers of Fair Haven; a sister, Elizabeth P. Barnes of Northridge, Calif.; and six grandchildren.
A daughter, LeClair Pitrof, died in 1991. CHARLES CHICK' WOOD FBI Special Agent
Charles L. "Chick" Wood, 72, a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation for 27 years before retiring in 1978, died of a heart ailment Jan. 20 at his home in Wheaton.
He spent the bulk of his career in the Washington area and retired from the FBI's Washington field office. Mr. Wood, a native of Houtzdale, Pa., served in the Marine Corps in the Pacific during World War II. He graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 1949. He then moved to Towson, Md., where he lived until moving to Wheaton in 1951.
He was a member of Oakdale-Emory United Methodist Church in Olney, Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Elks, Fraternal Order of Police, National Rifle Association, Ducks Unlimited, Izaak Walton League and Masonic groups.
Survivors include his wife of 49 years, Ann, of Wheaton; a son, David, of Christianburg, Md.; two daughters, Sherry Owens of Derwood and Cindy Odom of Olney; a brother, Harry, of Indiana, Pa.; and five grandchildren.