Peter Charlesworth Turner of Laurel Springs passed away Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, at Ashe Memorial Hospital. He was 89.
Mr. Turner was born in Baltimore County, Md., to the late Robert Benson Turner and Pauline Antoinette Ritter Turner.
Pete grew up in Washington, D.C., during the Great Depression. Although his family faced great economic hardship, his father’s sense of humor and his mother’s love of life helped the family endure. Pete followed in their footsteps as a great joke- and story-teller with many interests, who never met a stranger. He met and fell in love with his future wife Betty Lou Donovan in high school. He attended Carnegie Tech, (now Carnegie Mellon University), while in the Army Air Corps (now the Air Force) prior to deployment overseas during World War II. He served as a Morse code interpreter and air traffic controller in England and Italy.
Following the war, he returned to Washington and married his sweetheart Betty Lou. They moved the same day to New York City to begin his career as a commercial artist. He worked for several different art studios in Manhattan, living in the New York/New Jersey area for the next 20 years. He became a highly successful and skilled artist. His work appeared in many print publications including magazines, newspapers, catalogs, and books. He provided artwork for the IBM and AT&T pavilions at the New York World’s Fair. In 1965, Pete and Betty Lou and their seven children moved from the New York suburbs to Cary where he became the lead illustrator at Ferree Studios in Raleigh.
Throughout his career, Pete generously shared his time, knowledge and talent as a mentor to other artists, as well as providing artwork for many worthy causes. Pete became a self-employed commercial and fine artist while he lived in Cary. His portraits, landscapes, and tobacco heritage prints are treasured in many homes as well as corporate offices. His artwork also graced the covers of North Carolina Wildlife Magazine, the North Carolina State Magazine, telephone books, and the special North Carolina “Tobacco Heritage” license plates. He did a pen-and-ink illustration of every building for the Official Guide to Colonial Williamsburg, and painted the original architectural rendering for Carter Stadium at N.C. State University.
He tragically lost Betty Lou to cancer in 1984, but continued to live and work in the family home in Cary until 2005. He then moved to Boone and lived at Appalachian Brian Estates, a retirement community. He became active in the art community in Boone and became a member of Mt. Calvary Church. After several bouts with pneumonia in 2011, Pete moved in with his daughter Katy and her husband Kenny in Kernersville. He became a mountain resident again this fall when they moved to Laurel Springs in Ashe County. He died of pneumonia following a brief hospitalization. Although Pete left behind a legacy of beautiful paintings and drawings, he will be remembered most as a loving, patient, generous and funny family man and friend whose life impacted many.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Betty Lou Donovan Turner; and a brother, Robert A. Turner.
Survivors include his sons, Chris Turner and wife Debbie of Banner Elk, Tim Turner and wife Elizabeth Martinez of Carrboro, John A. Turner and wife Patti of Boone, Jeff Turner and wife Anna Lynn of Fort Myers, FL and Patrick Turner and wife Alice of Cary; his daughters, Jeanne McBrayer and husband Charlie of Wake Forest, and Katy Hall and husband Kenny of Laurel Springs; his sisters, Cornelia (Billie) Loftus of Cary, and Jeanne Lupton of Arlington, Va. He is also survived by 14 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren.
A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in Banner Elk. A reception will follow the service at the church. Burial will be in the Mt. Calvary Baptist Church Cemetery. There will be a celebration of his life held in the Raleigh/Cary area, where he lived for 40 years, at a later date, sometime after the holidays.
The family requests that memorials be made to the Hunger and Health Coalition, PO Box 1837, Boone, NC 28607; Watauga Arts Council, PO Box 366, Boone, NC 28607; or Feed the Children World Vision, PO Box 9716, Federal Way, WA 98063.
Pendry’s Lenoir Funeral Home is honored to be serving the family of Peter C. Turner.
Online condolences may be placed at www.pendrysfuneralhome.com.