H.M. Patterson & Son-Oglethorpe Hill Chapel

4550 Peachtree Road Ne, Atlanta, GA


Martha Ross Turner

October 23, 1941March 20, 2020

Born October 23,1941 in Rossville, Georgia to Edward Albert and Anne French Ross, she died at her home on the evening of March 20, 2020 at the age of 78 of complications from ovarian cancer. Martha grew up in the Lakeview Community near Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia and attended the public schools in Lakeview, graduating in 1959. She attended the University of Georgia and graduated from Georgia State University in 1972. She is survived by her husband, Howard E. Turner and son, David H. Turner of Atlanta; sister, Elizabeth Ross Wright of Blue Ridge; grandchild Kristen Turner Lopez of Orlando and a three-month-old great-granddaughter, Margot Elizabeth Lopez.

Always a “word person,” Martha was Georgia High School State Essay Champion in 1959, served as a librarian at Emory University and as an editor at Harrison Publishing Company, retiring in the 1990s. Subsequently, she became editor of the Jaguar Marque, a magazine published by the Atlanta Jaguar Society. There she took what was little more than a club newsletter and transformed it into a glossy magazine, hired the former public relations director of the Jaguar factory as European correspondent and built up a wide circulation accompanied with newsstand sales in New York and other cities. While editing that magazine, she penned an article on the first historic sports car race at Road Atlanta and referred to the mostly amateur drivers she saw there as true Walter Mitties after the Thurber character in the New Yorker. Though tongue-in-cheek, the name stuck and the event held each spring thereafter became the Great Walter Mitty Challenge, or simply the “Mitty.”. An amateur poet, she also authored “The Outer Circle” in 2019, a collection of her poetry and prose composed over the years. Though easily afflicted by mal de mer, Martha nevertheless loved blue water sailing and with her husband chartered yachts sailing among the islands of the Aegean, off Nova Scotia, in the English Channel and in the Caribbean on multiple occasions. She enjoyed traveling widely in Europe as well as to China and Japan. She was especially fond of the UK where she visited friends in London and Dartmouth and frequently attended summer courses at Oxford University.

Given concern with the possible pandemic associated with covid-19, the family has decided to circulate to family and friends a written eulogy and defer any public gathering until a memorial service becomes feasible. Currently, there will be a private graveside service only. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to the American Cancer Society.


  • American Cancer Society


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Martha Ross Turner

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