Ocean Beach 05

Frances Norma Yokum Rourke Powell

October 24, 1940 ~ November 28, 2021 (age 81)


Frances Norma Yokum Rourke Powell passed away Sunday morning, November 28, 2021, at the age of 81.  Born on Galveston Island, the 24th of October in 1940, Frances immediately captured the adoration and love of her parents and all blessed to peer into her big, brown, beautiful eyes. She was raised on The Island in the Buest Family’s Victorian home on Broadway.  With Survivors of the 1900 Storm, the gentleness of great aunt Edith (Edie) Loretta Buest, the strength and dignity of grandparents, Captain John and Fannie Fisher, and the unconditional love of her devoted mother, Martha Elizabeth Fisher Yokum, Frances enjoyed a childhood with a built in audience. Her love of stories, adventure, and play fueled the imagination of this little girl born on her own island playground.

Frances’ Great Aunt Gertie Buest, Sister Rose, along with generations of Ursuline nuns, provided her academic, spiritual, and social foundation. Those kindergarten girls quite literally became lifelong friends.

The only time Frances moved from the island was to attend Sam Houston State University. A Kirwin High boy, Melnotte Rourke, caught her eye during the Christmas break of 1958. 

Her lifelong wish of becoming a mother was fulfilled with the birth of her son, Melnotte (Mel) Rourke, Jr, and shortly thereafter, her precious in pink baby girl, Kathryn Elizabeth. The difficult season beared down on the little family at the loss of her  stillborn baby, Stephen, followed a year later with the loss of another full term stillborn son, Edward. In 1970, the miracle of  healthy Andrew Gerard, answered the prayers of the whole community and healed her broken heart. The stage call of this season presented the baby girl of the family. Little Miss Stephanie Marie, Frances’ own look-alike.   

With strength and grace, Frances navigated the blessings and adversities of raising her family alongside the loving, watchful, and nourishing eyes of the Ursulines and the families of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish.  

Galveston’s spotlight found Frances during her life’s second act. As she devoted her time to the arts, she shined as an accomplished actress. Frances mesmerized audiences from the stages of The Strand Street Theater aka Island ETC: East-end theater, The College of the Mainland Theater, Pasadena Little Theater, and the epitome of grand venues, Galveston’s 1894 Grand. 

The perfect combination of acting while growing Galveston businesses raising their profiles through advertising sales led to the most colorful times in her life. Friendships, stories, and laughter beyond the telling emerged from what others might call “work” at In Between Magazine, KGBC Radio, Galveston Little Theater, The 1894 Grand and the DivaFav‘s Living Magazine. 

One spring evening in 1992, Frances almost sent regrets to an invitation for a gathering at the home of Dr. Tom and Mary Louise Daniels.  With encouragement from her daughter, Stephanie, she changed her mind.  Frances was introduced to Dr. Don W. Powell, UTMB’s recently named Chairman of Medicine As usual, Frances’ stories and clever wit entertained her friends and captured the attention of the good doctor.  

The dynamic between Don and Frances was obvious. They married in January of 1995.  

In Frances’ own words, her favorite role in life was that of being Mrs. Don W. Powell.  Together they loved life, their children and grandchildren. Well known as The Doc and the Diva, they infused Galveston society with flair, intellect, and humor.  

They traveled the world to collaborate and connect with the finest minds in medicine, politics, and the arts, always returning to Galveston ~ the most wonderful place in the world, their home. 

In addition to those mentioned above, she was preceded in death by her two infant sons, Stephen and Edward Rourke; her great ancestors of the Beust family: Gertie, Edie, George, John, Fannie, Eileen; Her uncles and aunts John and Mary Fisher, Luke and Mary Frances Rossi, Bernie and Pat Fisher, Kathryn Elizabeth (Miss Kitty) Viets. 

Survivors include her beloved, Dr. Don W Powell. Her children  Mel (and wife, Cathy) Rourke, Kathryn (and husband, James) Cox, Andrew (and Wife, Donel) Rourke, and daughter, Stephanie Marie Rourke. Her stepchildren, Dr. Paige Powell, Drew Powell with Tana Bratton, and Shawne McDaniels. Her treasured grandchildren, Faith, Grace, and Charity Cox; Barbie and Jeff Gallier, Trinity and Tristan Rourke; Kaiya and Ellie Rourke, Carleigh and Tess McDaniel. She is also survived by her sister-in-law Nancy Bryant.

Visitation will be held at J. Levy & Termini Funeral Home,  2128 Broadway, on Friday, December 3rd, 2021 from 5:00-7:00 pm with the rosary to begin at 6:30pm with Deacon Sam Dell'Olio officiating. 

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica, 2011 Church, on Saturday, December 4th, 2021 at 11:00am with Father Jude Ezuma officiating. 

Pallbearers will be Mel Rourke, Jr., Andrew Rourke, Tristan Rourke,  James Cox, David O’Donohoe, and Gavin Shirley. 

Honorary Pallbearers will be and Dr. Lindsey Sonstein, Sean McNaughton, John “Rusty” Eversberg and Monica O’Donohoe PA.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The 1894 Grand Opera House, 2020 Post Office Street, Galveston, Texas 77550, The American Heart Association, The American Liver Foundation or the charity of one's choice.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Frances Norma Yokum Rourke Powell, please visit our floral store.

Memorial Tree
A Memorial Tree was planted for Frances

We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at J. Levy & Termini Funeral Home

Join in honoring their life - plant a memorial tree


December 3, 2021

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
J. Levy & Termini Funeral Home
2128 Broadway Avenue J
Galveston, TX 77550

Funeral Service
December 4, 2021

11:00 AM
St. Marys Cathedral Basilica
2011 Church Street
Galveston, TX 77550

© 2022 J. Levy & Termini Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Accessibility