E.L. Turner served Luverne for many years

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 14, 2005

Small in stature, yet still strong willed and full of determination Edward L. Turner, Jr. was on March 1, 1917 to Edward L Turner, Sr. and Velma (Foster) Turner in their home on what is now the intersection of Woodford Ave. and First Street, Luverne.

His uncle Dr. J. O. Foster who lived next door at that time delivered him. The house his uncle lived in is no longer there. It sat between the Church of Christ and the Turner home. John W Turner, Turner's only brother, is a retired dentist who currently lives in Montgomery.

Turner said his father and two uncles formed several businesses in Luverne; Turner Brothers Funeral Home, Turner Brothers Bakery and Turner Brothers Bottling Company which bottled Lime Cola. He said that Pepsi was not on the market at that time.

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Then there was Turner Brothers Car (Ford) Dealership, Turner Brothers Farm Equipment Dealership and Turner Brothers Appliance Store. He said his family treated their employees very well, offering part ownership with limited conditions.

Turner said he worked for $.50 a day.

"That averaged to about $3 a week and I was either working with the funeral home, the bakery or the bottling company," he said.

He explained that in those days the dead were laid out at home and he would be the one to go to the home and assist in preparation of the body. At the bakery he would help make the bread and the most popular sold for $.5 a loaf. Then he would assist in the delivery.

Turner said that one Sunday a friend of the family, W.L. Swanner and his son, had come to visit the Baptist church. They invited Turner home with after church.

They talked about the new car dealership in town and asked if Turner had met the family that owed it.

"The dealership was owned by S.B. Holland and was Luverne Motor Company which sold Chevrolet and Oldsmobile," said Turner "The Holland's had moved from Greenville."

Turner said the Holland's had three daughters. His interest was on the middle girl, Marjorie. He said he knew she was the one for him.

"We graduated high school and went to college together," said Turner. "When we decided to marry we came home and spoke to the family about it."

Not wanting to wait, they returned to college and married in the meeting room at the First Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa on Feb. 2, 1939 by Pastor Powertan James.

Marjorie was his wife for 70 years until she died July 2, three years ago.

Their first child, a son Edward L Turner III, was born in 1944 around the time Turner had volunteered to join the Navy during World War II. He said he had a time getting accepted into the military, but once he was in, he stayed four years. While he was at war his wife was a schoolteacher in Norfolk, Va.

When he was discharged they returned home to Luverne. They also had a daughter Joy (Turner) Rue born in 1949.

Edward, III a lawyer in Hong Kong, China is married to Mary Lee (Hunter) Turner whom he met at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. They have one daughter, Brantley Turner, who is employed with an international advertising agency working in Shang Hi, China and is currently on leave in New York preparing for an advanced business degree.

Joy is married to Thomas S. Rue who is a lawyer and they live in Mobile. They have two daughters who both live in Birmingham – Sidney Rue and Emily Rue.

Turner has a very long resume and history of service to the City of Luverne.

He held the office of councilmen for two terms and was mayor for two terms, serving a total of 16 years. E.L. Turner Park is named after him.

He is still active driving himself to his office and attends Luverne Rotary meetings when his health will allow.