Conroe Mayor Toby Powell dies of cancer; name to remain on November ballot

Conroe Mayor Toby Powell was sworn in to office by Sen. Brandon Creighton on July 6, 2016. His term was to expire this November. (Community Impact Staff)
Conroe Mayor Toby Powell was sworn in to office by Sen. Brandon Creighton on July 6, 2016. His term was to expire this November. (Community Impact Staff)

Conroe Mayor Toby Powell was sworn in to office by Sen. Brandon Creighton on July 6, 2016. His term was to expire this November. (Community Impact Staff)

Editor's note: A previous version of this story referred to Steve Williams as city administrator. He is the assistant city administrator.

Updated 1: 30 p.m. Sept. 14: This story has been updated to include comments from other city officials.

Conroe Mayor Toby Powell, who was running for re-election, died late Sept. 12 due to cancer, according to the city. Powell was elected as mayor in 2016 and was to face Council Member Jody Czajkoski in November.

A lifelong resident of Conroe, Powell graduated from Conroe High School in 1959 and attended Sam Houston State University. He worked as a builder/developer for more than 50 years and was married to Vanessa Powell. They have four sons and a daughter, according to a city news release

Powell served on City Council in 1977 and 1978, and again in 2008-12. He served as mayor pro tem from 2010-12 and was a director on the Conroe Industrial Development Corp. from 2008 until his death.

He also served as a director on the Houston Galveston Area Council from 2008-10 and served four years as director and vice chairman of the Lone Star Family Health Clinic.

"He was a rock for our city and loved by people not just in Conroe but everywhere [he] went," Council Member Raymond McDonald said. "He was highly esteemed in municipal circles and a father figure in my life."

McDonald recalled regular visits to Powell's office, where he would mentor him as a council member. They would even pray together.

"His faith in Christ was powerful," McDonald said.

Mayor Pro Tem Duke Coon, who said he knew Powell most of his life, said he considered him a very close friend and mentor.

"I'm so blessed that I was able to serve by his side," he said. "Our focus is now to honor the mayor."

On Sept. 14, the city lowered its flags in remembrance of Powell. The flags will remain at half-staff until the mayor's interment, according to the city news release.

Assistant City Administrator Steve Williams said he worked with Powell over the last 12 years and believed he led with Christian values.

"It's a big loss for the city of Conroe," Williams said. "He was a good man, he was a good friend."

Powell's name will remain posthumously on the November ballot, McDonald said. A special election would need to be called should Powell garner the most votes, he said.

Coon is serving as interim mayor.
By Eva Vigh
Eva Vigh joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2018 as a reporter for Spring and Klein. Prior to this position, she covered upstream oil and gas news for a drilling contractors' association.


Dr. Sam Rolon is a physician for Baylor St. Luke's Medical Group Creekside Family Medicine in The Woodlands. (Courtesy St. Luke's Health)
Q&A: St. Luke's physician shares advice on flu season, vaccine and prevention

The influenza vaccine is recommended for nearly all patients of all ages ahead of this year's flu season, Dr. Sam Rolon said.

student in mask
TEA launches statewide COVID-19 dashboard for public schools

The Texas Education Agency, in collaboration with the Texas Department of State Health Services, has launched its latest COVID-19 dashboard for positive cases in Texas public schools.

The space is furnished and decorated. (Courtesy She Shack)
She Shack, a party and event venue, now open in Conroe

Looking to host your next luncheon, bridal shower or small corporate gathering? Check out this "chic space."

The Houston Food Bank is looking for more volunteers as it handles increased food distribution during COVID-19. (Courtesy Houston Food Bank)
Houston Food Bank: COVID-19 pandemic amplifies already-high food insecurity rates across region

Before COVID-19, the Houston Food Bank distributed about 400,000 pounds of food daily. That number has since increased to about 1 million pounds a day.

Gov. Greg Abbott said Sept. 17 that data from Texas' 22 hospital regions will dictate when certain businesses can reopen at 75% capacity. (Screenshot of Sept. 17 press conference)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott: Retail stores, restaurants, office buildings, gyms can reopen at 75% capacity as early as Sept. 21

Nursing home and long-term care facilities will also be allowed to reopen for visitation as early as Sept. 24.

(Courtesy Curry Masala)
Curry Masala opens in The Woodlands and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from Greater Houston.

Conroe ISD's board of trustees met for a regular meeting Sept. 15. (Screenshot via Conroe ISD YouTube)
Conroe ISD trustees approve remote learning plan, 2020-21 tax rate

Conroe ISD's fiscal year 2020-21 tax rate, which represents a 1.42% decrease over the district's current rate, was unanimously approved by the board of trustees during its regular meeting Sept. 15.

One in five children and adults have a learning disability, according to statistics from the National Center for Learning Disabilities. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Q&A: National Center for Learning Disabilities expert discusses challenges of special education, remote learning during pandemic

The NCLD's director of policy and advocacy spoke about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on special education students and their development in and out of the classroom.

The Montgomery ISD board of trustees met Sept. 15. (Eva Vigh/Community Impact Newspaper)
Montgomery ISD brings $2.8 million budget deficit to surplus for FY 2020-21, sets lower tax rate

Trustees said their goal was to achieve a balanced budget, but they went a step further when approving a budget with a slight surplus.

2020 Nutcracker Market
Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market 2020 moves fall event fully online

Last year's event drew over 100,000 shoppers.

The store sells shakes and teas. (Courtesy Tiger Den Nutrition)
Tiger Den Nutrition now open in Conroe serving teas, shakes

The store provides healthy teas that pack vitamins, collagen, biotin and protein, and no sugar.

A breakdown of data and demographics for students and teachers in Conroe ISD

The Texas Education Agency compiles information about campuses in each public school district each academic year, including enrollment and demographics. Normally, it also includes results from the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness tests, but those were not held this year due to the coronavirus outbreak.