In 1971, he cofounded American Travellers and became vice president in charge of operations. Ten years later, Mr. Powell was elected president of American Travellers Life Insurance Co., a subsidiary.
Soon afterward, Mr. Powell became chairman of the board and chief executive officer of American Travellers and led the company to its first public offering, giving it a national presence.
In August 1996, after building the firm into a major force in long-term-care insurance through internal growth and acquisitions, Mr. Powell agreed to have the firm acquired by Conseco for $793 million in Conseco common stock.
At the time, American Travellers employed about 400 workers at its headquarters in Bensalem. The corporation held the second-largest national market share in what was then a $3 billion long-term-care industry.
Mr. Powell retired in 1999 after 35 years in business, and moved to Naples with his wife, the former Kathleen A. Fairman, and two of his three daughters.
As a boy, Mr. Powell played sports at the Fishtown Athletic Club and continued to support the club throughout his life. He loved competitive sports, including baseball, hockey, soccer, football, swimming, skiing, tennis, and golf. He followed the Eagles, Phillies, and Flyers.
Civic-minded, he created the John A. Powell Family Foundation, which supports many charities.
Besides his daughter and his wife of 28 years, he is survived by daughters Jennifer and Denise Bizzaro, a brother, and three grandchildren. He was divorced from his first wife, Judith Powell, who also survives.
Friends may call from noon until 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, at the Joseph A. Fluehr Funeral Home, 800 Newtown-Richboro Rd., Richboro. A memorial service is at 2 p.m. Interment will be private.
Contributions may be made to a scholarship fund in memory of Mr. Powell, c/o Fishtown A.C. Alumni Association, 2314 Memphis St., Philadelphia 19125.