For John Edward Power, pictures said much more than words.
Born in Yuma, Arizona, on October 31, 1944, John died on July 4, 2016, at 71.
Having served as chief photographer for The Beehive newspaper for many years, John’s images put a “face” to the growth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the activities of its members across Arizona. In addition, his photographic record of the construction of the Gilbert Temple and images of the Phoenix Temple construction, the Mesa Easter Pageant, Mesa Temple Garden Christmas Lights, Tucson Temple groundbreaking and many more have been featured in countless other publications and spread virally across the web.
More than that, his images were a way to serve and lift others and a reflection of his own life—of the strength of his testimony, his never-ending desire to share the gospel, his love for the state of Arizona, his commitment as a husband, father and grandfather and his interest in every individual he ever encountered.
Early in his childhood, this “curiosity and interest in everyone around him kicked in,” said his sister, Elizabeth Nelson, speaking at John’s funeral.
John attended Yuma schools, graduating from Yuma High School in 1962. He served an LDS mission in the Andes Mission of Lima, Peru, from 1964 to 1966, where he learned to love the people and the Spanish language.
He met Sandra Joan Swenson during high school. They wrote to each other while he was in Peru and, after he returned, while he attended Brigham Young University for a time before she began her studies there as well. John and Sandy were sealed in the Mesa Arizona Temple May 26, 1967. They had six children—Camille Miller (Derek), Kent E. Power (Tatia), Travis S. Power (Christi), Corinne Dixon (Chad), Afton Potter (Heath) and Kendall Power (Bekah)—and 18 grandchildren at the time of his death.
“He never took his role as husband, father and member of the Church lightly,” his sister said, and he “had amazing faith in God … and a strong testimony of his Savior.”
Whether in his professional life as a business consultant, his active involvement in the community, his commitment to his family or service in the Church, he selflessly gave of his time and talents.
“Every person mattered; it didn’t matter who you were,” said his daughter Camille.
John served as a bishop and counselor in the stake presidency and, in between, served with the Varsity Scouts in the Chandler Alma Stake. He and Sandy worked tirelessly in the Gila River Prison Ministry in Florence and Eloy. John also was a major contributor to the efforts of the Metro Phoenix Public Affairs Council of the Church and was influential in the rollout and local implementation of the Freedmen’s Bureau Project, which connects African Americans with their Civil War-era ancestors, and in setting the gold standard when the Church launched Just Serve as a pilot in the Phoenix area.
“He was an incredible teacher,” said his oldest son, Kent. “He taught me how to serve and to love service … how to reach out and touch people’s lives. He would just show up to help and knew just what he needed to do,” Kent said.
John also was passionate about Scouting and proudly held the Silver Beaver Award.
“He was a gearhead,” said son Travis, “a huge car guy,” who loved trains, cars, motorcycles and secretly dreamed of being a race-car driver.
John enjoyed nature, especially in the Arizona dessert. It was partly through the many camping and hiking trips she shared with her dad that Corrine, one of John’s daughters, learned how much her father loved her. “He wanted to make sure I knew I was loved as an individual.”
Afton said, “I learned a sense of adventure and fearlessness from my dad,” and Kendall added he learned from his dad how to turn to Heavenly Father in times of need.
“Dad walked by faith. He knew God lived and he took that very seriously,” Camille said.