Jerry M. Turner—A Remembrance
By Bill Bingham
Longtime CJC member Jerry M. Turner (1935-2020) passed away at his home in Highland Beach, Florida, on July 21, 2020. He is survived by his wife, Mary M. Turner, three children, four grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.
Jerry was born in Winston Salem, NC. He graduated from North Carolina State University with a degree in Landscape Architecture. In 1969, he founded Jerry Turner and Associates, Landscape Architects and Land Planners. Over the course of his fifty-one year career, he oversaw hundreds of landscape design projects throughout the southeastern United States.
Jerry was a man of varied interests. He liked abstract art and had paintings he created decorating his home; he loved jazz and had an extensive music collection; if you mentioned a best selling novel, chances are he’d read it too; he loved cars, boats, and planes and owned his share of them.
However, Jaguars had a special place in his heart. His family estimates he owned twenty or more over the years. He was a member of the Atlantic Coast Jaguar Club in the nineteen eighties. He served as Vice President of CJC in 1997, 1998, 2004, and 2005, and as Concours Chief Judge in 2005. From the 1990’s on, he was a familiar sight at CJC and neighboring Concours, frequently taking home awards. He and his wife Mary were an instrumental part of the planning and organizing committee when CJC hosted the JCNA Annual General Meeting in Charlotte in 2003.
If you were fortunate enough to attend one of the club events that Jerry and Mary hosted at their home in Cary, NC, you would always make the trip upstairs to Jerry’s man cave (being careful to dodge the three foot tall Jaguar statue lurking on the steps). There you would see his massive collection of Jaguar model cars—over a thousand, maybe close to two—that he had painstakingly tracked down and assembled over the years. Before selling their Cary home, Jerry donated much of his model car collection and Jaguar artwork to the Coventry Foundation where they will be part of the Foundation’s museum.
Jerry and Mary sold their Cary home in 2015 and retired to Highland Beach, Florida. Margaret and I visited them several times over the last few years. Jerry would be ready for our visit with an agenda of activities: an art show, a car show or museum, a visit to a butterfly garden, a boat trip to see the mansions in Ft. Lauderdale, mussels night at the local Irish pub.
We saw Jerry and Mary last in January of this year. Despite his obvious frailty, Jerry was determined to walk around the sidewalk art show in Delray Beach. He couldn’t walk far, but he was still interested in everything around him. He never lost his curiosity in and love for all that life had to offer.