Cover photo for Bessie Johnson Turner's Obituary
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1918 Bessie 2021

Bessie Johnson Turner

October 19, 1918 — October 22, 2021

Bessie Johnson Turner passed away Friday, October 22, 2021 at 103 years of age.   She was born in Monroe County to Dozier and Pearl Johnson, the 4th of 8 children.  On April 22, 1939, she married Alfred Turner and they had 6 children.

Bessie was preceded in death by her husband, Alfred, oldest daughter, Erlene, youngest son, Fred and daughter in law Karen. 

Survivors include her children, Mildred (Bobby) Aldridge, Edith (Jimmy) Brown, David, and John (Mary Jo), all live in Forsyth, 10 grandchildren, and 18 great grandchildren, one sister, Sue Johnson Rigsby, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Having been born in 1918, Bessie has seen much change in her life.  Although she spent quite a few years raising 6 children, she found time to be involved in the community and was featured in The Advertiser and The Reporter numerous times for her accomplishments.

She was featured in “Know Your Neighbor” in The Reporter twice; March 1990 and again in 2008. 

Bessie was president of the Monroe County Extension Homemakers Council and a member since 1950.  In 1974, she helped raise funds to build the first Monroe County Clubhouse.  She was voted “Homemaker of the Year” in 1969 and was the last of the original member, being president of the trustee board until July 2017.  She was in charge of renting the Clubhouse until she was 98 years old.

She was president of the United Transportation Union Ladies Auxiliary; a member since 1972; treasurer of the Pride of Southland Railroad Club, a member since 1942; sec/treas. of the Retired Railroad Club.  Her husband, Alfred, was a railroad engineer which led to these clubs and to the family’s large collection of trains.

She was the first female to be accepted into The Exchange Club when it became open for women to join.

Probably her greatest love was The Order of Eastern Star, of which she was a member over 53 years, receiving her 50-year pin in 2015 and only missed 5 meetings.  She was Worthy Matron 7 times and at some point, held all offices of which females are allowed.  She was a member of Annie W. Smith, Chapter #350 until it closed in 2004 and then she joined the Lizella Chapter #390 until it closed August 2017.   She served as District Grand Deputy in 1998-1999 and received the Gold Proficiency Certification in 1973.

She served as president of AARP and did their newsletter.  She was a member of the American Cancer Society and helped raise funds for them and for The March of Dimes.  She worked as the poll manager for elections for over 50 years.

She was a member of Russellville Baptist Church and worked in Sunday school, Training Union, Vacation Bible School and was active in WMU.  Her faith has always been important to her.

In Bessie’s later years, as clubs ceased because of lack of membership, she needed something more to do and became interested in doing jigsaw puzzles.  There was never one she could not complete.

In March 2019, she fell and broke her hip.  She went to a nursing home for therapy but never managed to walk again.  However, she didn’t complain but tried to make the best of the situation.  In late May 2020, at the age of 101 she was diagnosed with having COVID-19. However, she overcame that and was written up in the newspaper once again.

Graveside services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, October 30, 2021, at Forsyth City Cemetery.  Rev. Raymond Steinkcamp will officiate.  The family will greet friends following the service.  There will not be a formal visitation due to COVID-19.  Friends are welcome to  visit the funeral home to sign the guestbook.

Monroe County Memorial Chapel has charge of arrangements.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Bessie Johnson Turner, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Graveside Service

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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