OBITUARY

Shirley A. Turner

March 4, 1924March 24, 2019
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Shirley Turner’s life Shirley Anderson Turner was born on March 4, 1924, in Billings, Montana, the daughter of a wheat farmer and a school teacher. She grew up in Billings and its rural surrounds, spending her summers living in a boxcar amidst wheat fields on the farmland her family leased. She loved the outdoors all her life. She was an amateur botanist and birder—it seemed she knew the names of any plant, wildflower, bird or butterfly in the entire Western United States. She was part of the Greatest Generation, growing up during the Great Depression and World War II. Experiencing deprivation during the Depression, she was a lifetime recycler and composter, never throwing out anything that could be recycled or repurposed. She earned a bachelor’s degree in home economics at Montana State University, playing violin in the college orchestra. There she met her future husband, Eugene Turner. When he returned from military service, they married and moved to Michigan, so that Eugene could attend graduate school. Shirley supported the couple working as a home economics teacher and dietician. After Eugene earned a Ph.D in Physics the couple moved to Southern California, first Gardena and then Torrance in 1963. They raised three children, a marine ecologist (Teresa), a lawyer (Margaret) and a musician (Charles). Shirley was a Girl Scout leader, active PTA member, avid bridge player and a great mom. In those days, the 60’s and 70’s, much of Torrance was zoned for industrial use. The landscape was dotted with oil wells. In the 1970’s, when her children were finishing high school, Shirley and other community members learned that developers were asking the City of Torrance to rezone a parcel of industrial land extending from the corner of Sepulveda Boulevard and Madrona. The developers planned to pave the area and construct housing and office/retail space. Shirley and her friends were aware that this parcel included a precious vernal marsh, a critical stopping place for migratory birds on the Pacific Flyway. Shirley became determined to save this natural treasure from loss, and dedicated herself to that goal. She had a wide circle of friends who worked with her and recruited others. They formed the Friends of Madrona Marsh and eventually, after years of hard work and advocacy what is now known as Madrona Marsh was dedicated as a nature preserve. Along with her fellow Marshans, Shirley worked tirelessly to make this happen. She was a regular, outspoken voice at City Council and Park and Recreation meetings. She worked on fundraising, education, collecting signatures for a referendum, producing a newsletter, conducting outreach programs, anything that was needed. She was a member of the board of the Friends for over 25 years. After the Marsh was dedicated, Shirley helped lead efforts to restore the habitat at the March to its native state—replacing invasive weeds with native plants. She worked with countless community groups, Boy/Girl Scouts, Eagle Scouts, YM/YWCA groups on restoration projects on the Marsh. She and her good friend Ruth McConnell organized the popular Tyke Hyke program for pre-schoolers and their parents. Shirley received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Friends of Madrona Marsh in January, 2009. [Charles would know of other awards] Shirley leaves her children, Teresa, Charles and Margaret Turner, and granddaughters Jania and Katerina Turner. Shirley’s life is an example of the lasting good ordinary citizens can accomplish working together, dedicated to a common goal.

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Services

  • Visitation Saturday, April 13, 2019
  • Funeral Service Monday, April 15, 2019
  • Graveside Service Monday, April 15, 2019
REMEMBERING

Shirley A. Turner

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Charles Turner

April 6, 2019

Visitation for our Mother, Shirley A. Turner, will be Saturday April 13th at Halverson Stone and Myers, 1223 Cravens Ave. Torrance CA. 90501, from 2pm to 4pm. Funeral services will be Monday April 15th at the First United Methodist Church of Torrance, 1551 El Prado Ave. Torrance CA. 90501, at 11am. Internment will follow at Green Hills Memorial Park, 27501 South Western Ave. Rancho Palos Verdes CA . 90275

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