Cover photo for Matthew Shawn Powell's Obituary
Matthew Shawn Powell Profile Photo
1985 Matthew Shawn Powell 2024

Matthew Shawn Powell

September 22, 1985 — March 9, 2024

Thompson’s Station

Matthew Shawn Powell, Executive Director of Autism Career Training (ACT), died on March 9, 2024, at age 38 in Thompson’s Station, TN. He was preceded in death by his grandparents: Colonel Alfred J. and Florence Powell, Nancy and Daniel Olphie, and Milt and Audrey Servais. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth E. Powell; son, Walker Shawn Powell; daughter, Lucy Pearl Powell; mother, Nancy A. Powell; and father, A. J. Jim Powell.


Funeral services will be conducted Friday, March 15, 2024, at 2:00 p.m. (visitation 10-1:00 p.m.) at Brentwood Baptist Church, 7777 Concord Road, by Reverend Justin Johnson—internment: Williamson Memorial Gardens.


Pallbearers: Ricky Cantrell, Josh Borders, Tyler Blalock, Shawn Wells, Jordan Ray, Brandon Brodkin, Kyle Booten, and Joel Powell.


Honorary Pallbearers: Daniel Olphie, Richard Olphie, Ronald Olphie, and Michael Olphie.


From his beloved F3 community:


Matthew Shawn Powell passed away after a heroic battle with gastric cancer. If the totality of his life were summed up in one word, it would be IMPACT! Matt made a significant impact in every aspect, every chapter, and every moment of his beautiful life here on earth. His jubilant presence made every single person he interacted with – better! Matt is an alumnus of Trevecca Nazarene University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in special education and teaching, as well as a master’s degree in educational leadership and administration. Matthew was an Adjunct Professor at Trevecca and served on the Advisory Board at the School of Education.


Matt began his career at High Hopes Development Center as a teacher and sports coordinator. He went on to work within the Williamson County School District, serving as the department head of Special Education and the assistant coach for the Independence Eagles Varsity Football team, which won the state championship in 2015. He later served the Maury County School District as Special Education Coordinator.


Matt had a love for the overlooked and underserved population. In the spring of 2020, he championed the opening of Autism Career Training (ACT), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that has become the premier provider of center-based Applied Behavioral Analysis Therapy in Middle Tennessee. ACT provides center-based vocational training and prevocational training for individuals on the autism spectrum. 


His work with ACT was indicative of his heart and servant leadership, which translated into his participation in F3 Nation (Fitness, Fellowship, and Faith – Spring Hill, TN). Matt’s presence within the group encouraged all of us with every breath! To his F3 family, Matt was known as “Nancy.” As a group of brothers, we bore witness daily to the inconceivable dedication, grit, and determination this man fought with – strength and grace at every turn. 

While Matt’s work accomplishments were many and represent his character – nothing was more important to him or more evident of the man he was than his deep love of his family and friends. Matt’s love for Elizabeth was apparent at every moment. This kind of love is difficult to capture in words and will transcend time on this earth. His love for her will continue to inspire those fortunate enough to observe it every day of their fifteen years together. It will continue to be a beacon and noble example for Walker and Lucy Pearl as they move on into their future relationships.


Matt’s love for his twins was palpable in his pride as their father. We watched him intentionally create opportunities for them to grow, build positive habits, and have deeply meaningful relationships with one another and the world around them. The foundation he has provided will carry them through every chapter to come.  


The memory of Matthew “Nancy” Powell will be that of impact, love, grit, and fortitude. It will “no doubt” shape generations we cannot yet see. We thank God for this man whose life was a gift to all. MSP would say to everyone reading this: “It’ll be all right.”

*To honor Matt, we encourage everyone to bring a sticker that makes you think of Matt to place on his casket.

In lieu of flowers, please contribute to the Walker & Lucy Pearl Powell Educational Fund, see the link below

Service Schedule

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Friday, March 15, 2024

10:00am - 1:00 pm (Central time)

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Funeral Service

Friday, March 15, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

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