W. I. Juretzko
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This page was established 11-15-2000

 

Memo to all my friends.
 
Sad news has reached me!
Gary's mother, Mrs.( Sue) Francis Gary Powers passed away last Thursday.
 She was a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada.
Gary and his sister Dee were at her bed side, when she passed away after days in a coma.
"Sue" will be flown to Virginia and be laid to rest with her husband "Frank", at the Arlington National Cemetary.
She will rest with him in a common grave and they will share together the rest of eternity.
With Sue, I have lost an unreplaceable friend and confidant. Our bonds were forged, before I even met her or her husband Francis Gary Powers. It was thousends of miles away, while I vegetated in a dank prison cell inside of a communist dungeon.
The downing of the U2 Spy Plane, impacted the course of the Cold War dramaticially and shaped it  for years to come.
But for us, men and women in chains, this incident was a ray of hope, inner strength to re-kindle the little flame of resistance and resolve,left in our bodies. --- We political prisoners, inside the Gulags of the "EVIL EMPIRE" relized, the Western World was fighting back.
I like to share with you my friends, a photo from the last time I been together with Sue.It was Easter in Las Vegas.We spent the morning together at the Nevada Atomic Test Site Museum, where during the last year, Sue was volunteering every Friday, guiding visitors thru the
Cold War exhibit. Afterwards we went for a snack. Michael R. Iwanicki accompanied us.
The next photo will point to the final resting place of "Sue" and "Frank".
It's Gary's dad grave site, I visited last fall while in Washington D.C..
 
My thoughts and prayers --- and I am sure that yours will be too -- go out to Gary, his sister Dee and their families.
God Bless!
Werner

Memo an meine Freunde:

Eine traurige Nachricht erreichte mich !
Vergangenen Donnerstag verstarb Garys Mutter, Frau “Sue” Francis Gary Powers.
Ihren Wohnsitz hatte sie in Las Vegas, im Bundesstaat Nevada.
Sie unterlag nach mehreren Tagen einer Bewusstlosigkeit. In den letzten Stunden standen Gary und seine Schwester Dee, am Totenbett ihr zur Seite. Sie wird nach Virginia überführt, wo sie im National Friedhof Arlington, neben ihrem Ehemann “Frank” zu Ruhe gelegt wird. In einem gemeinsamen Grab, werden sie zusammen den restlichen Teil der Ewigkeit finden.
Mit ihrem Ableben, habe ich in Sue einen unersetzlichen Freund und Vertrauten verloren. Die Bande unserer Verbundenheit waren lange bevor, ehe ich Sue oder ihren Ehemann Francis Gary Powers getroffen habe, geschmiedet. Dieses geschah als ich Tausende Kilometer entfernt, in einer grässlichen Gefängniszelle eines kommunistischen Kerkers dahin vegetierte.
Der Abschuss des U2 Spionageflugzeuges, hat den Kurs des Kalten Krieges in den kommenden Jahren dramatisch beeinflusst. Für uns, den Männern und Frauen in dem Joch der Ketten, erneuerte dieses Ereignis wieder einen Schimmer der Hoffnung. Es entfachte wieder die kleine Flamme des Widerstandes und Überzeugung, welche uns noch im Körper übrig geblieben war. Denn wir, die politischen Gefangenen in den Gulags des “Teuflischen Reiches”, waren überzeugt das die westliche Welt , zurückschlägt.
Meinen Freunden sende ich ein Foto unserer letzten Begegnung. Es war Ostern in Las Vegas. Den Tag verbrachten wir im Nevada Atom Versuchsanlage Museum. Jeden Freitag führte Sue, Besucher durch die “Austellung des Kalten Krieges”. Anschließend gingen wir zum Essen. Michael R. Iwanicki begleitete uns.
Das folgende Foto weist auf die letzte Ruhestätte für “Sue’ und “Frank” hin. Es zeigt Gary Vaters Grab während meines Besuches im letzten Herbst in Washington.
Meine Gedanken und Gebete und ich bin überzeugt, diese werden  auch eurerseits, Gary, seiner Schwester Dee und deren Familien, gewidmet sein.
Mit Gottes Segen !
Werner

 


 

Wednesday, June 23,  2004
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal

Widow of famed pilot dies at 68

Couple met at CIA after Soviets  traded U-2 flier in 1962

By KEITH ROGERS
REVIEW-JOURNAL



Sue Powers
The  widow of U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers died on Thursday in Las Vegas


Francis Gary Powers' U-2 flight suit, helmet and other memorabilia are on exhibit at the Atomic Test  Museum, 755 E. Flamingo Road.
Photo by
Craig L. Moran.


A snapshot from 1963 shows Sue and Francis Gary Powers.
PHOTO COURTESY OF GARY POWERS JR.


On May 8, 2002, Boy  Scout leader Steve Ririe, left, Sue Powers and video specialist Lane Swainston  examine a propeller from a C-54 transport plane after the blade was recovered  from a Mount Charleston crash site. The plane crashed on the mountain in 1955,  and 14 who were on their way to Area 51 to test the U-2 spy plane were killed.
Photo by
Gary Thompson.

A private memorial service will be held Saturday in Las Vegas for Sue Powers, the widow of Francis Gary Powers, the  famous Cold War U-2 pilot whose plane was shot down on a covert CIA mission over the former Soviet Union in 1960.

Sue Powers died Thursday of  respiratory failure in Las Vegas, a week after she began recovering from a coma that she had slipped into on June 5, said her son, Gary Powers Jr. She was 68.

"Sue Powers, my mom, was a delightful woman with many friends. She loved life to the fullest. ... She was basically loved by all who knew her," he said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

She was an advocate of preserving  Cold War history and had worked as a volunteer at the Atomic Testing Museum on  East Flamingo Road "almost right up to her death," said Troy Wade, who is chairman of the Nevada Test Site Historical Foundation.

"I think she was as much of a Cold War warrior as her husband and believed in him and what he did through the  events in the Soviet Union until his untimely death in the helicopter crash," said Wade, a former Energy Department defense chief.

She was born Claudia Edwards in  Leesburg, Va., on July 23, 1935, and she grew up in Warrenton, Va., and  Washington, D.C., where she graduated from Anacostia High School in 1954.

After high school, she worked for  the Central Intelligence Agency as a psychometrist, testing CIA agents when they  returned from abroad to compile reports for doctors who would determine whether  the agents were still loyal.

She met Francis Gary Powers at the CIA in February 1962 after his release from a Soviet prison.

Powers, a CIA pilot for the  high-flying U-2, was shot down over central Russia by a surface-to-air missile that exploded behind the U-2 close enough to disable it.

President Eisenhower admitted on May 7, 1960, that Powers had been on a spy mission when he bailed out at 30,000 feet  and was captured after surviving the parachute jump.

The capture turned into an international incident that led to his release on Feb. 10, 1962, in exchange for  Soviet KGB spy Rudolph Abel, who had been caught in the United States and  convicted of espionage.

While at the CIA that year, Francis  Gary Powers met his future wife when he ran into her while rounding a corner near their offices.

Coffee was spilled, Gary Powers Jr.  said. That led to buying a cup of coffee, which later led to dinner and  eventually romance, he said.

She left the CIA before their  marriage in November 1963. They then moved from the Washington, D.C., area to  Sun Valley, Calif., where he was a Lockheed test pilot through 1970.

He went on to work for a Los Angeles radio station and in 1976 took a job flying a helicopter for KNBC television. He died when his helicopter crashed on Aug. 1, 1977.

Sue Powers continued to live in the  Los Angeles area until 1994 when she moved to Las Vegas. She had established a  part-time residence in the early 1980s.

The 1994 Northridge earthquake destroyed the family's house in Sherman Oaks and persuaded her to move to Las Vegas permanently, her son said.

Gary Powers Jr., 39, who is founder  of the Cold War Museum, a traveling exhibit that pays tribute to his father, said his mother was a supporter of several charitable organizations and organized book fairs with authors to raise money for cancer research.

"She loved to read books," he said.

She was an honorary chairman of the  Silent Heroes of the Cold War National Memorial Committee.

In an interview two years ago, while helping local Boy Scout leader Steve Ririe's effort to retrieve Cold War artifacts from a plane crash on Mount Charleston, Sue Powers said the experience "brought back a lot of memories with Frank (Gary Powers) and Area 51 because he  was trained there to fly the U-2."

She told the Review-Journal, "I had  goose bumps here and there."

A C-54 transport plane crashed on  the mountain in 1955, and 14 who were on their way to Area 51 to test the U-2 spy plane were killed.

A propeller from the C-54 has been restored and is displayed at the Atomic Test Museum with Powers' flight suit and  helmet and other memorabilia.

Sue Powers will be buried July 13 in the plot with her husband at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Survivors are Gary Powers Jr. of Fairfax, Va., a daughter, Dee Rogers of Eagan, Minn., and two grandchildren. Instead of flowers, the family requests donations be made in her name to the Cold War Museum.

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