Mildred Turner

30 September 1920 - 6 October 2016

Under: Obituary
Mildred Turner

Mildred Turner (nee Cox) died peacefully on October 6, 2016, one week following her 96th birthday. Born September 30, 1920, Mildred was raised on a farm in Downing, Missouri, the younger of two daughters of Christopher Columbus and Mabel Iva Cox. Following her 1938 graduation from Lancaster High School, Mildred attended Culver Stockton College, but left school after one and one-half years for lack of money. She joined her sister and brother-in-law in Kansas City, Missouri in 1940, where she honed her secretarial skills working for Phil Ward, the owner of Great Lakes Pipeline. She was a skilled typist, and excelled at Palmer shorthand. Mildred's adventurous spirit and curiosity about the world, the increased job openings for women (because so many men were away at war), and the promise of financial opportunity after long years of scraping by during the Great Depression, led her to obtain employment in Central America beginning in 1944. She first worked for the United States Army in Quito, Ecuador. A year later, she went to work for the U.S. Navy in the Panama Canal Zone. She didn't know it at the time, but one ship coming through the Canal - the USS Pringle -- carried an officer who would later become her husband. Mildred returned stateside to Los Angeles, California in 1946 and stayed with her sister, daily scouring the L.A. Times Help Wanted ads for another overseas job. She hoped to go to the Far East, but ultimately responded to a listing by the Arabian American Oil Company seeking stenographers to work in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. In the Spring of 1949, following the completion of her two-year contract with ARAMCO in Dhahran, she returned to the United States by way of Europe, and settled in New York City to study fashion design and clothing construction. She had learned to sew as a young girl, first creating clothes for her dolls and later for herself -- when she ventured to Saudi Arabia, her luggage included a sewing machine and fabric stash. It was at ARAMCO that she met Wallace Turner, the Naval officer whose ship passed through the Panama Canal while she worked there. They were married in New York City, in November 1949, soon after his return to the U.S. The couple settled in Ontario, Oregon where Wallace and a high school friend purchased an automotive parts store, and Mildred worked for a local attorney. In 1952, Wallace took a job with the United Nations, based in Beirut, Lebanon. Mildred followed him there and worked for the Ford Foundation. Two years later, they relocated to Everett, Washington, where Wallace bought Everett Auto Parts. Mildred worked for local attorney Jasper Rucker until her first child was born. Then she traded her Executive Secretary position for that of Executive Homemaker, raising three kids, and supporting her husband's business and community activities -- no more globetrotting, but she put plenty of miles on her pink '54 Plymouth Belvedere. After her youngest son started college, she went to work for Sanford Wright, M.D. What started as a temporary job lasted for years. Mildred had a gentle and generous spirit. She loved a good joke. She earned her husband Wally's highest accolade: she was "a good worker." A talented seamstress, tailor, and hatmaker, she sewed blazers for the boys; dresses for her daughter and herself; costumes for Halloween and for the Seattle Opera Guild; and even regally outfitted the Three Wisemen in the church Christmas pageant. She baked delicious birthday cakes and brownies. Each year at Christmastime, she partnered with Wally to make 80 lbs. of fudge for the customers of Everett Auto Parts to enjoy. The cookie jar at her house was almost always stocked with homemade cookies, earning her the moniker "Grammy Cookie." She considered herself a poor housekeeper because, she claimed, she started too late in life and got distracted by the contents of magazines lying around the house. Sewing, not cooking, was her passion. Thus, as long as there was enough food in the house for another meal, it was not time to go to the grocery store. Concerned about the spiritual life of her children, she changed churches in the mid-1970's and began attending First Baptist Church of Everett because of its active youth program. It was a decision that bore fruit in each of their lives. A fitting scripture for our mother Mildred -- who loved to sew, and sowed love -- is Colossians 3:12-14: "So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it." Mildred was preceded in death by her parents, sister and husband. She is survived by her children, Sara Jane Turner of Portland, Oregon; Kevin Turner (Natalie) and Kyle Turner (Jill) of Everett; and four beloved grandchildren, Ellen, Jensen, Lydia, and Harry Turner. A celebration of Mildred's life will be held November 13, 2016, beginning 2:00 p.m. at Our Savior's Lutheran Church, 215 Mukilteo Blvd, Everett, WA 98203. She loved color and would not want us to mourn her in garments of black. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Volunteers of America.

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