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{ Local Heritage }

Francis Gary Powers and, opposite, the Newnan home where his first wedding was held.

Famous U-2 pilot had Newnan wedding in 1955 By W. Winston Skinner

here is no historical marker at 129 East Broad St. The frame house was for years the parsonage of Lovejoy Memorial United Methodist Church. On April 2, 1955 a wedding took place there. Francis Gary Powers, a native Kentuckian who apparently was an air traffic controller then, married Barbara Gay Moore, whose brother, Jack Moore, was Lovejoy’s pastor. The bride, her mother and sister came from their hometown of Albany for the wedding. The bride wore a navy blue ensemble, a white 78 | NEWNAN – COWETA MAGAZINE

hat with netting and a white orchid corsage. The couple left Newnan for a Miami honeymoon. They set up housekeeping in Albany and – according to some accounts – moved to California. By 1960, the Powers had moved to Pound, Va., but he was often away – far away. Powers had become a U-2 pilot, flying over the Soviet Union and taking pictures of airfields, planes, missiles and military sites. He was a spy. Pilots were expected to hit a self destruct button if their plane was downed in enemy territory. Pilots were uncertain, however, of how long they had to get away from a plane in

such an event. When Powers’ plane was shot down over Sverdlovsk on May 1, 1960, Pres. Dwight Eisenhower said the U-2 was a weather plane that had drifted off course. Nikita Khrushchev soon announced both plane and pilot were in Soviet hands, and Eisenhower admitted the plane was a spy plane. In early 1962, the Kennedy administration reached an agreement to exchange Powers for Russian spy Rudolph Abel. Barbara Powers and her husband were reunited in February 1962, but their marriage lasted only a short time. In October 1963, Powers married Claudia Sue Edwards Downey, a CIA psychologist.

Newnan-Coweta Magazine, September/October 2011  

The 2011 issue features Coweta Artists.

Newnan-Coweta Magazine, September/October 2011  

The 2011 issue features Coweta Artists.

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