Edward J. Powers, 91, a retired construction company owner and a World War II prisoner of war, died May 27 at Brandywine Hall Care Center in West Chester after a stroke.

Mr. Powers, a resident of Hershey's Mill in West Chester, was a native of Paterson, N.J., and a graduate of Mercersburg Academy. In 1936 he ran on the Mercersburg team that set a national scholastic record for the two-mile relay at the Penn Relays. He attended the University of Southern California on a track scholarship and hoped to compete in the 1940 Olympics, but they were canceled because of World War II.

While in college, Mr. Powers earned his pilot's license, and after graduating in 1941 he flew for Pan American World Airways, delivering planes to the British Royal Air Force under the lend-lease program.

In December 1941 he was flying reconnaissance aircraft to the Philippines when that country was attacked by the Japanese. He was captured and detained in the Santo Tomas Internment Camp in Manila from 1942 until 1945. While there, he met an Army nurse, Alice Hahn. The couple married and had two daughters before divorcing. He then married Florence Godwin, a widow with three children. They had three children together.

Mr. Powers was a construction supervisor in Upper Saddle River, N.J., and then operated his own company in North Jersey.

After retiring, he moved to West Chester to be closer to family. For 14 years until he turned 90, he was shop manager of Nordic Hardwood Flooring in West Chester. The company is owned by his daughter and son-in-law, Joan and Jim Ryan.

Mr. Powers returned to competitive running in his 60s. He competed in the Pennsylvania Senior Olympics and won silver medals for the half-mile race in the National Senior Olympics when he was 85 and 87. He worked out at the West Chester YMCA and made friends with the regulars, his daughter said.

He loved being around people and shared with them his optimistic outlook on life, she said.

Mr. Powers is also survived by sons James and Edward Jr.; daughters Anne Bosch, Barbara Godwin, Patricia Eder, Dorothy Ray, and Jeanne Walcher; a sister; 19 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; one great-great-granddaughter; and his companion, Jeanne Overton. Alice Powers died in 1987 and Florence Powers in 1983.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. tomorrow at St. Francis-in-the-Field Episcopal Church, 689 Sugartown Rd., Malvern, where friends may call after noon.

Memorial donations may be made to Doctors Without Borders, 333 Seventh Ave., New York, N.Y. 10001.

Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.