Lynne Anderson Powell got up at 5 a.m. every day, hitting the trails near her house with her husband and their four border collies. If she wasn’t out training her dogs on agility, she was in her quilting studio or meeting with friends. She stayed busy, even while battling cancer.
“She just thought there wasn’t enough time in life to do the things she wanted to do,” said George Powell, her husband of 33 years.
Lynne Anderson Powell, 72, died hours after the Tubbs fire erupted late Oct. 8. She drove away from their house on Blue Ridge Trail as flames advanced on the area, but missed a sharp left turn not far from home and rolled down an embankment. A detective found her body days later near the car, where her dog, Jemma, also died.
“I think she tried to get her dog out of the back of the car when she was overcome by the fire,” said her husband, 74, who left a few minutes after her that night after gathering their remaining dogs. He nearly missed the same left turn.
“I had no idea I went by her,” he said. “That just tears me up.”
It was the trails and open space that drew the couple to Mark West Meadows a decade ago. They bought a three-bedroom home, where she set up a large quilting room. She liked to listen to Mozart and opera music as she quilted. As a former professional flutist, music was her joy, her husband said.
Born in West Virginia but raised in the Bay Area, she picked up the flute at the age of 7 and continued to play all through primary and secondary school. After high school, she joined the orchestra at her parent’s alma mater, Pittsburg’s Carnegie Institute of Technology, now Carnegie Mellon University, where she graduated with double major in flute performance and teaching in 1968. She later moved to Albuquerque, where she played for the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra for 17 years.
“She was immediately hired as the first chair. That’s how good she was,” said George Powell, who was working as a photojournalist in Los Angeles when he first met his wife at a mutual friend’s dinner party in December 1983.
“We looked at each other and that was it,” he said.
They married two months later, and he joined her in Albuquerque. It was second marriages for both. Powell said he couldn’t have found a better match. She was bright, caring and a go-getter. After the symphony folded, she enrolled in secretarial classes at the local community college and went to work for an attorney. She then got a job at Sandia, one of the National Nuclear Security Administration research and development laboratories, where she worked her way up from a secretary to a human resource program analyst before retiring in 2007.
“She was so incredibly smart,” Powell said. “What I tell people is I married up.”