National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial, who heads to Washington, D.C. on Friday for the funeral of former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell, shared a heartfelt tribute to his widow in a personal letter to the Powell family.

“One thing is certain; his family was the focus of his life, and you were the anchor of his heart,” Morial wrote to Gen. Powell’s wife, Alma, and their family. “This has always been clear to me whenever I see photographs of the two of you together.”

Morial included a copy of his syndicated weekly column, To Be Equal, for October 21: National Urban League Mourns Gen. Colin Powell: “A Man Of Principle, Courage And Strength.”

“He was a Black trailblazer who resisted being defined by race, but never forgetting what his achievements and status meant to those who came after him,” Morial wrote in the column. “He will be remembered as a man of principle, courage, and strength, who never wavered in his determination to hold America to the highest standards, and as a role model whose life story will inspire generations of public servants who put the interests of the nation above party affiliation.”

Morial and his wife, CBS News correspondent and CBS Saturday Morning co-anchor Michelle Miller, will attend Gen. Powell’s funeral at Washington National Cathedral on Friday afternoon.

Gen. Powell was a longtime friend and supporter of the National Urban League, receiving the League’s Humanitarian Award in 2009 for his exemplary global leadership during his career as a soldier, statesman and diplomat. A consistent and generous contributor to the National Urban League for many years, he served on the National Urban League’s Honorary Centennial Committee and was a key supporter of “I Am Empowered,” an initiative to eliminate racial gaps in housing, education, employment, and healthcare.