HOPE – Hope Public Schools Superintendent Bobby Hart recalled the impact of long-time Hope High School teacher Mary Nell Turner in a statement issued Tuesday. Turner passed away in Springdale on March 12.
“We thank Mrs. Turner and her family for the many years of service and dedication to our district and community,” Hart said. “She had a tremendous impact on her students and they, in turn, have made an impact on Hope and Hempstead County. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends.”
Turner taught journalism and yearbook publication in the Hope Public Schools for 28 years. She sponsored numerous award-winning student publications throughout her career.
Turner took her journalism education at the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University, and she was inducted into both the Arkansas Press Women and the Society of Professional Journalists. She was a frequent contributor as a feature writer to the Arkansas Gazette and the Hope Star, and she was the long-time editor of the Journal of the Hempstead County Historical Society, where she both researched and edited local history articles.
Turner was named the Hope/Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce “Citizen of the Year” in 1996.
Turner and her husband, the late McDowell “Mac” Turner, were married for 65 years.
She is survived by her daughter, Ellen Turner (Tom McClure); son-in-law Joseph H. Purvis; grandchildren, Paul Neaville (Marisa Luzzatto), Elizabeth Purvis, Benjamin Purvis (Rachel), Emily Neaville, Conner McClure (Hooman Poor) and Scott McClure (Anaia Vestertjele); great-grandchildren Evelyn and Calvin Neaville, Luna McClure, and Ellery Poor; nieces, Mary Browning McKluskey and Joan Turner Hampton; and nephews, James and Bill Browning.
Celebration of life service will be conducted Saturday, March 19, at Concordia Retirement Community in Bella Vista at 10 a.m. A later celebration service will be conducted in Hope at a date to be announced.
Donations may be made to the Mary Nell and McDowell Turner Scholarship Fund at the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana, or to a charity of choice.
Local arrangements are by Herndon-Pharr Funeral Home in Hope.