Luralynn "Lolly" Powell flew to Phoenix the Saturday before Father's Day to be with her dad, who had just been diagnosed with cancer.
It was the last holiday she would spend with him.
The 50-year-old Alaska resident drowned in a hotel pool at the San Marcos Resort in downtown Chandler early the next day. The Medical Examiner's office has declared her death an accident, although a full report has not been completed.
Powell's mother described her, through tears, as an excellent cook who loved her husband and two sons.
"She was very effervescent and bubbly," said Gloria Inman, of Chandler.
She said Lolly, from Wasilla, Alaska, came to be with her father, who is going through radiation treatment for esophageal cancer. She was staying at the hotel alone, and it's unclear why she was in the pool at 5:30 that morning. Her mother said she didn't use a pool regularly and couldn't swim well.
Guests saw her floating in her swimsuit and pulled her out, police said. She was blue and unresponsive. Police officers who responded to the 911 call started CPR before medics arrived and took her to Chandler Regional Medical Center.
Inman said she had taken her husband for a radiation treatment around 7 a.m. When she called the hotel's front desk three hours later to tell her daughter she was coming to pick her up, an employee handed the phone to a detective.
The hospital kept Powell on life support long enough for her husband of 20 years, Carl, to arrive.
"He spent probably 12 hours with her," Inman said. "They couldn't keep her on any longer."
Her sons, 25 and 16, arrived Tuesday.
Powell is originally from Washington State, her mother said. They moved to Alaska to be with Powell's grandmother who worked as a cook on the railroad.
In 1987, the same year she married Carl, the rest of the family left for Arizona.
Powell has a sister who lives in Arizona City and a brother in Mexico.
In 1999, her mother said, she went into a coma, though doctors were never able to explain why. She woke up two months later but never fully recovered from the episode.
"Her personality changed and she wasn't able, physically, to do much," Inman said. "Her vision was poor - she was legally blind - and couldn't get around."
Powell had neuropathy, a condition that causes pain and numbness in the hands and feet, making it difficult for her to get around.
Inman said her family took her ashes back to Alaska.
Reproduced with permission from:
The Arizona Republic
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