Floral 28
Official Obituary of

Charlotte (Masuoka) Powell

July 16, 1946 ~ February 22, 2024 (age 77) 77 Years Old

Charlotte Powell Obituary

Charlotte Ann (Masuoka) Powell was an independent, tough and loving woman who saw the world, worked at NASA, kept an immaculate house and raised independent, tough and loving daughters. She died Feb. 22 after sudden and severe pneumonia. She was 77.


She had a singular personality that family knowingly and simply described as “Charlotte.” She was blunt, funny, smart, old fashioned, ahead of her time, quiet, social, intimidating, warm, strict, loving. By raising one eyebrow, she could say anything she wanted.


A third-generation Japanese American, Charlotte was born in Colorado and raised during early childhood in Japan, where the U.S. Army stationed her father after World War II. She came of age in Northern Virginia with her sister Beverly. She was a great athlete for whom Title IX came too late.


Charlotte majored in computer science at Berkeley. After graduating in 1968, Charlotte traveled around the globe solo, making stops in Japan, Thailand, India, Egypt, Greece and London. In a fledgling field with few women, Charlotte went to work on the Apollo space missions at Goddard, where she met Ronald Powell of Hillcrest Heights. She and Ron worked as telemetry programmers on Apollo 11.


They married in 1970 and settled two years later into a ranch-style house in a brand-new planned community called Columbia. Among the original residents of the Phelps Luck neighborhood, they would live there the rest of Charlotte’s life.


Charlotte paused her career and devoted herself to daughters Camille and Rebecca. She taught Rebecca and Camille’s classmates origami. She attended every soccer match, basketball game and swim meet. She loved watching Camille and Rebecca play soccer and basketball at Howard High and traveled many weekends to see them play soccer at Dartmouth. She was immensely proud of them.


Once the girls reached high school, Charlotte took courses at the community college – computers had changed a bit in 15+ years – and went back to work as a programmer. She built an amazing and vast community of friends in Columbia. She survived breast cancer and after chemotherapy and radiation kept her silver hair short because she liked it better that way.


Charlotte was an avid and fantastic cook. She hosted Thanksgiving dinners for more than 40 years and would permit nobody (except maybe Rebecca) to help clean. Her sticky sweet and sour chicken wings, crispy Mochiko chicken and fried rice won over not only Ron, but also sons-in-law Adam and Eric.


She watched her Washington Nationals win a World Series and did not hesitate to brag to Bev, whose San Francisco Giants fandom during their championship years had been a thorn for Charlotte.


She liked an ice cold beer after mowing the lawn and a strong gin martini. (Ask her daughters about Owl Bar.) She remained physically fit her entire life. She played pickleball with close friends almost daily, golfed with Ron and was relentlessly diligent in housework and yard work. She was remarkably handy with a needle and thread and knit many baby hats and blankets for friends.


In her final years, granddaughters Elena and June turned Charlotte into a softie. She read to them, asked them to draw her pictures and loved them more than anything. She fell hard for Kaya, Rebecca, Eric and Elena’s Bernedoodle puppy.


To be loved by Charlotte was a gift. There was nobody else like her. She is irreplaceable, but the inimitable model of how she lived will stay with us forever.


In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Claudia Mayer/Tina Broccolino Cancer Resource Center, which supported Charlotte during her breast cancer fight.


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Memorial Gathering
February 24, 2024

1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
The Meeting House
5885 Robert Oliver Pl.
Columbia, MD 21045


Claudia Mayer/Tina Broccolino Cancer Research Center
11065 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 150, Columbia MD 21044
Web: https://secure.jhu.edu/form/give


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