May 18, 1948 – May 17, 2022
A day shy of her 74th birthday, Judy Theresa Turner passed away at Vancouver General Hospital due to complications of pneumonia. She left this world too early for all of us who loved her, but surrounded by deep love and sorrow, with her husband Richard Turner, son David Turner, and daughter-in-law, Darcie Emerson by her side.
Judy leaves behind her devoted husband and best friend, Richard, whom she shared nearly 51 happy years of marriage and a joyful life with. She also leaves behind her two sons R.T. (Stephanie) and David (Darcie), and beloved grandchildren Burwyn, Iris, Forrest, and Reuben. Her large extended family also feel the huge hole left by Judy’s passing, including her mother Claire McNeill, brothers Kevin (Debbie), Joe (Cheryl), Patrick (Raymond), Jim and sisters Jean, Wendy (Peter), Linda (Paul), Maggie (Wes), and many cherished nieces and nephews. Judy is predeceased by her sister Claire (Joe) and her father, James McNeill. Also shedding tears of heartbreak, are Judy’s dear friends (Marie and Melinda especially), who loved her like a sister and who will miss her wit, warm smile, and open-hearted soul.
Judy was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Perhaps because she was one of the oldest in a large military family, Judy developed the ability to be the foundation to others, providing those around her with laughter, kindness, patience, and a solid person to count on.
In her early life, Judy’s path and interests led her to a degree in Home Economics. She had a keen interest in textiles and was a skilled but humble seamstress. After university, Judy worked as a librarian, sold sewing machines and taught sewing classes, and helped support immigrants from Africa to navigate the often-confusing systems of their new country. When she and Richard settled in Vernon, Judy managed the finances and organizational aspects of their family business. She also established the “A to Zebra” store with her sister Claire. It was a fun dream that with Judy’s determination and confidence, was made a reality and brought smiles to many people’s faces.
Throughout her life, Judy was often the backbone of what she was involved with. She was sharp minded and moved through life with confidence, decisiveness, and a forward-facing, positive mindset. Those around her were offered a foundation of trust, predictability, and assurance—or at least were kept on track and on time! If something needed to be done, Judy was either the one to do it, or just as easily, delegate it. She was organized, but warm, assertive, but fair, a natural leader and an easy-going friend. You could always count on Judy for a game of cards, an interesting debate, or a good yack with a glass of wine.
Judy was passionate about history and very community minded. Because of this, she kept very busy during her “retirement.” She volunteered at the Vernon museum and contributed greatly to the Mackie Lake House Foundation for nearly 2 decades. She carried out many executive roles for MLHF, and spent countless hours creating an invaluable archival system, establishing a mainstay of order that will be relied on for years to come. Always willing to share her knowledge, Judy also mentored many lucky volunteers and employees, inspiring people with her abundant enthusiasm for tracking the details of history. Never to leave fun out of the equation, those who worked with Judy were blessed with her warm nature, good sense of humour and a laugh that softened the world around her.
Most of all, Judy was a lover of life and family. She loved unconditionally and there was nothing that she would not have done to support those closest to her. The centre of her world was Richard, her “Dicky bird,” with whom she shared a deep and rare bond of understanding and care. She and Dick’s common interest was striving to always bring each other happiness—being together was each of their “happy places.” She was intensely proud of her two sons and loved and admired them for who they were as individuals. As a grandma, Judy was beyond amazing. She gave (and received) so much joy from the simple moments she shared with the little people lucky enough to have her in their lives—reading endless stories, playing boardgames, letting her feet be stilts to walk upon, and marvelling at how soon she was to be outgrown. While it never quite happened, she will always be remembered for a presence than was much larger than her size.
Judy’s premature departure leaves many plans and dreams unfinished. Despite this, her life was full, happy, and led with an unpretentious grace. She would encourage us not to dwell on something we can’t fix… and so, we will do our very best to fill the huge hole she has left behind with the overflowing cup of good memories and lasting love she had for everyone who knew her.
The family sends out much gratitude to the doctors and nurses at both the Vernon Jubilee and Vancouver General Hospitals. Their compassion, care, and sensitivity were sincerely appreciated.
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