Dorothy R. Turner nee Murray, wife, mother, friend, and advocate for children’s causes, died on October 15, 2021 in Rochester, NY. She was born on April 11, 1929 in Buffalo, NY. She was predeceased by husband George P. Turner and son David Turner. She is survived by son Jay Turner of Webster, son John Turner & daughter-in-law Diane Annese of Boston, and daughter-in-law Suzanne States of Ontario.
Dorothy, affectionally known as Dottie, often joked that she was born the first day of the great depression. Her family lived in Lackawanna where her father worked at Bethlehem Steel. She attended Buffalo State Teachers College where she met her future husband George Turner. She graduated with a degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Buffalo. Dorothy and George married in 1951, right before he enlisted in the Marines and left to fight in the Korean War.
After George returned from Korea, they made a home in many upstate New York cities, such Binghamton & Woodstock. They lived for a time in Syracuse, where she worked as the Program director for the Jewish Community Center. In the late 60’s the family settled in Webster, NY. While George worked as a Director of Education for Xerox, Dorothy raised their three boys: Jay, John and David. One of the first organizations she joined in the local area was the PTA. They petitioned the town of Webster to put in sidewalks so children could walk safely to school, but this was one of the few causes that Dorothy was unable to bring about.
Dorothy served as secretary to the Webster Republican Party, taking notes at the meetings and publishing the party newsletter. Her friends and family found this amusing, since Dorothy herself was a lifelong Democrat. In the 70’s, Dorothy opened Crossroads Nursery School in Brighton, with fellow teacher and longtime friend Dorothy St. Alban. It was during this period that she became involved with the Rochester Area Children’s Collaborative, which was a group of organizations that worked together to lobby the state and federal governments on early childhood issues. Dorothy singlehandedly published the RACC newsletter as well.
In the 80’s Dorothy undertook a brand new project with her usual enthusiasm; with her son Jay, George, and Jay’s fellow chef Robert Murphy, they opened The Royal Biscuit restaurant in Brighton. For 3 years, she worked as the breakfast shift manager, and managed the bookkeeping and procurement.
When Dorothy’s friend Cora Beebee decided to run for the Monroe County Legislature, Dorothy was part the campaign team and speech writer for Cora. Also in the late 80’s Dorothy worked part-time for the Rochester Head Start Program and was a volunteer for Planned Parenthood of Rochester for many years.
Dorothy was practical, kind, and witty. Very talented, she was an accomplished piano player and singer who could perform many musical genres, from jazz to classical. She would frequently sponteneously break into a show tune anywhere, including the dinner table. As a child of the depression, she remained individually frugal, but was generous with her time and talent. Any friend of Dorothy’s knew they could count on her to assist with whatever practical or emotional help they needed. Those of us who knew and loved her feel we’ve lost our best friend.
On Thursday 10/28/21 at 5pm, Dorothy’s family will host a Celebration of Life at the American Legion, 818 Ridge Rd. Webster. In lieu of flowers, any donations can be made to the Rochester Planned Parenthood or the Monroe Community Hospital.
I remember Dorothy well and with a smile. She was a wonderful friend to my mother and always there for her.