Rob Powers, former Las Vegas communications specialist, dies at 61

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Rob Powers, a former Las Vegas reporter and communications specialist, died Wednesday night. He was 61.

Powers started his career at the Las Vegas Sun in the 1980s, later working at the Review-Journal where he became an assistant features editor.

“Rob had the gift of gab and a disarming personality,” said Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German, a longtime friend. “He could talk about anything, especially politics and sports.”

Powers pivoted to public relations, becoming a vice president at R&R Partners and then vice president of community relations for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Powers also worked as a spokesman for the Agassi Foundation.

“He just met so many people through the years here,” said his daughter, Emily Powers. “I have fond memories of him being able to walk in a room and talk to anyone. He had a lot of friends across the city.”

Powers also wrote campaign speeches and worked as press secretary for former Nevada Gov. Bob Miller, who served from 1989 to 1999.

“In a world where politics can sometimes be very divisive, he was the person who was a unifier, who didn’t try to divide things,” Miller said. “He just tried to present things as they were.”

Miller called Powers a “credit to the community.” Powers’ position with Miller was the pinnacle of all the things he loved, said R&R Partners CEO Billy Vassiliadis.

“That was the most energized, and focused, and excited and fulfilled that I’ve seen him,” Vassiliadis said. “He liked policy, and world events, and politics and liked writing speeches.”

Vassiliadis said he and Powers played golf together, though Powers “loved tennis as much as anything.”

Powers was born March 1, 1958, in Merrick, New York, but lived in big cities across the county during his father’s tenure with the FBI. Jim Powers moved the family to Las Vegas to become special agent in charge in 1977, when his son Rob was 19.

Rob Powers attended UNLV and graduated with a degree in communications. During his time at UNLV, he also met his wife of nearly 20 years, Becky Boulton.

“UNLV is a huge part of our family,” his daughter said. Powers religiously followed the basketball team, and both of his children attended the university.

Emily Powers said her family took frequent road trips, camping in Navajo Lake, Utah, and finding their way to the beach as often as possible.

“We loved the nature of road trips as a bonding opportunity,” she said. “We loved the beach and loved the nature.”

“Life sometimes wasn’t kind to Rob, but he always maintained his sense of humor and was fun to be around,” German said. “He was a good person, a loyal and caring friend and a terrific father.”

Powers is survived by two younger sisters, Melinda Poloquin and Arline Powers; older brother Mark Powers; and his two children Emily, 33, and Sam, 30. The family believes the death was natural, but are awaiting an autopsy from the Clark County coroner’s office.

Services will be held at Palm Mortuary Downtown, but a date has not been set.

Contact Sabrina Schnur at sschnur@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.