For most of her life, Janice Dieckow never thought about her grandfather.
Howard Cameron Powers, her father Richard’s father, had died several years before Dieckow was even born, and he wasn’t a topic of conversation in the household.
But recently, Dieckow, who lives near Peoria, has been on a personal quest to learn more about him.
Dieckow’s children are grown, and when Dieckow wanted to share their family’s past with them, they asked their mother to put it on the computer.
“So I’m doing a PowerPoint presentation for them, and I decided to make a small family tree,” she said.
When Dieckow started assembling photos, she discovered she didn’t have any of her grandfather. She called her six siblings and discovered that any photos that might have once existed had left the family after a divorce.
“That’s when I found out nobody had a photo of him,” she said. “So I became obsessed.”
There was no other family to ask. Her father was an only child. Howard Powers had had a brother, Floyd, but Dieckow said she understood the brothers were estranged, and she didn’t know of the relatives.
It seemed to be a dead end, but Dieckow recently made a discovery that brought her search back to life.
The glass broke on a photograph she had of her grandmother on the other side of the family, her mother’s mother. When Dieckow took the picture out to reframe it, she found a photograph of a man she’d never seen before.
Dieckow looked at the solemn, unsmiling face, and she wondered.
“I hope it’s Howard Powers,” she said.
There was no name — only the number “43” — on the back of the photo. On the lower right-hand corner are the words “by bill.”
Dieckow said the photo doesn’t look like her father.
“I don’t see any family resemblance,” she said. “But I don’t think I look like my father or mother, either.”
According to the obituary, Howard Powers was born Oct. 21, 1887, on the William Powers farm south of Providence. He was educated in the rural schools, the grade schools of Princeton, the township high school, Givler’s Business College of Princeton and the University of Illinois.
On Dec. 29, 1909, he was married to Edna Cushing of Providence. He was an electrician, employed by Princeton Automotive Electric shop. For a number of years he also operated his own radio and electric shop, Powers Radio Service.
Powers lived in Princeton from 1921 until his death, Nov. 15, 1941, in his Princeton home, located at 442 Lincoln St. The pallbearers were W.A. Lambert, Perry Cater, Glenn Bradley, Harry Bradley, Arthur Kann and Horace Kann. He was buried in Mount Bloom Cemetery, at Tiskilwa.
Dieckow said it’s important to her to find out about her grandfather.
“Where I come from is important, and Princeton and Tiskilwa are a big part of my past,” she said. “I want a picture of my grandfather.”
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If you have any information about Howard Powers or the man in this picture, contact Janice Dieckow at 309-657-0053.