1921 - 2003


EUGENE M. “GENE” TURNER – 82 – Waverly Citrus Industry
LAKE WALES -- Mr. Eugene M. "Gene" Turner was a hardworking man who worked from the age of 8 to 75, much of the time in the citrus industry.The retired sales manager for Waverly Citrus died of complications of Parkinson's disease Monday (Oct. 20, 2003) at Dove Healthcare. "Although he's always been fairly serious, he has a wonderful sense of humor," said his daughter, Cynthia "Cindy" Turner of Lake Wales."He's never understood why people thought he was so funny," she said. "Dad is also a gentle-natured and private man who spent much of his life working quietly behind the scenes to help or encourage someone, often anonymously.  Born in Blue Mountain, Miss., on July 18, 1921, he lived in Enterprise and Avon Park before coming to Lake Wales where he attended grades 1 through 12.   He bagged groceries, ushered at the Lake Wales State Theater and worked at Western Union delivering telegrams on his bicycle while obtaining his education through the Diversified Cooperative Training program. He graduated in the Class of 1940. He later attended Florida Southern College.
 Mr. Turner served in the Army Signal Corp during World War II, serving as an aide to Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. He was awarded the Bronze Star.   He became assistant sales manager for Waverly Growers Cooperative on Dec. 1, 1945."He was responsible for selling all of Waverly's fruit," said Tom Brandon, former president of Waverly Growers."True, he was a sales manager, but I like to use the term `responsible' for sales because that term describes Gene in a nut shell," Brandon said. "He took his job seriously, and I could always depend on Gene.
 After 47 years in the industry, Mr. Turner retired. He began working in the antique industry and helped convert the Kirhella building into an antique mini-mall. He co-founded Once Upon a Tyme Antiques on North Scenic Highway, working there until his final retirement in 1995. He was a member of numerous civic, business and veterans organizations, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Lake Wales. He was past president of the Lake Wales Chamber of Commerce and the Lake Wales Lions Club. He was a 33-year member of the Florida Tangerine Cooperative, and served on the Florida Citrus Administrative Committee. He was a 56-year member of the Lake Wales Masonic Lodge. He served twice as president of the Florida Citrus Sales Managers Club and as the director of the Florida Citrus Show Case. He was a member of First Presbyterian Church in Lake Wales.  > In addition to his daughter, Mr. Turner is survived by his wife of 57 years, Lovina J. Turner; and daughter, Gail Childs, Pensacola.
 Visitation will be Thursday at First Presbyterian Church in Lake Wales.  Services will follow at the church.
 Burial will be in Lake Wales Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Historic Bok Sanctuary, 1151 Tower Blvd., Lake Wales, FL 33853, or the Lake Wales Care Center, 140 E. Park Ave., Lake Wales, FL 33853-4124. Marion Nelson Funeral Home of Lake Wales. - Ledger, Oct. 21, 2003

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