Member Spotlight

Nancy Turner
Member Spotlight
April 2019
by Robin McKinley

The first thing you notice about Nancy Turner is her sparkling blue eyes and her smile that lights up a room.  Her cheery personality is a pleasure to be around.  She was born in Taylor, Texas in Stromberg Hospital.  She was raised in Lawrence Chapel – a bump in the road which boasted a school and a Methodist church.  She went to school there until they closed the school, and then finished in Thrall.

Her father was a farmer, and her mother farmed and kept house.  She has one brother, Kenneth, and one sister, Carolyn.  Nancy was in the middle. Carolyn passed away in 2001 from cancer.  Kenneth has two children (Nancy’s niece and nephew).  Her nephew, his wife (who is expecting a baby any day) and their two sons (4 and 6 years old) live in India doing missionary work.  Her niece and her husband sadly had two miscarriages, and then lost their first baby.  Last July, they were blessed with a healthy baby boy last July, named Hudson Lee.  Nancy is completely smitten with Hudson Lee (and for good reason!)

As a child, Nancy was sick with asthma, but she chuckles as she reports it didn’t lighten her chores.  She pulled corn, held the cow’s tail so it wouldn’t swish in the milk while they were milked, fed chickens, washed and hung out tow sacks that were used put under the baby chicks, cut maize heads to feed the chickens and sharpened hoes.  “I did the whole nine yards,” Nancy says.  “Whatever I was told, I did.  I never said no.  I didn’t ask why or how. I did what I was told.”

In school, she says, she was shy and bashful.  “My mama sent a note that I couldn’t do PE.” She had asthma which got worse when she ran.  “But,” Nancy says with a laugh, “I could pick cotton, go in a chicken house, chase cows, and they never told me I couldn’t do that.”  So, in school, she sat on the sidelines while the other kids did their PE.

After high school, Nancy went to Austin, and worked at the state comptroller for ten years in the mail room.  She says she shouldn’t have left, but she decided to get married.  She and her husband lived in McDade.  Her husband had an auto parts store, and she worked there for 16 years as well as doing farm and ranch work, keeping a big garden and doing canning.  After 16 years, they divorced.

Single again, she worked many odd jobs as a cashier and as a waitress at the Barn Yard in Elgin.  After four years of being single, she met her second husband.  They married and lived in Blue for sixteen years.  With him, she did all kinds of farm and ranch work, as well as gardening and canning until, in 2006 after 8 months of illness and the age of 86, her husband passed away from emphysema and lung cancer. 

“His illness was very hard, and losing him was hard.  When my husband passed away, I had to make my own decisions.  That made me a stronger person,” Nancy says.  She continued to live in Blue and continued to be active in many different clubs, including the Home Extension Club.  In this club, the county agent would come and put on programs about how to do things in the home and how to cook.  It was a fun thing for Nancy and she misses it here in Taylor.  The club had food and Christmas parties where they played games.

One day, she was sick and couldn’t find a doctor close by.  She drove 30 miles to get help.  Her doctor told her she needed to move closer, and so she moved to Taylor.  She found an opening at Grace Place within two weeks.

That was 7 ½ years ago and she started coming to Taylor First United Methodist Church.  While she lived in McDade, Nancy had attended Faith Lutheran Church.  In Blue, she had become a Methodist because Blue United Methodist Church was one mile away from her house.  She immediately felt right at home at Taylor First United Methodist Church because it reminded her of her beloved Blue UMC church.

Vesta Ryan and many others greeted her warmly when she came to Taylor FUMC.  “Everyone comes and greets you.  Everyone is glad to have you here.  The people remind me of Blue because both congregations are so friendly,” Nancy says.  She loves how people don’t mingle in groups, but talk and speak to everyone.  It makes you feel good for everyone to be friendly and give you hugs.

Her favorite hymn is “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” It is her favorite because that was the first song she sang at Sunday School and it stuck with her all her life.

Nancy obviously enjoys her relationships and, and you can tell from all her farm and ranch work, she loves the outdoors.  She says she used to love to have company and play with the kids, eating outside and playing croquet.  She also enjoys crocheting and embroidery, and going out to eat.  If she were to travel, she would like to go to Germany and Czechoslovakia.  “I have German and Bohemian in me and I always thought about traveling to do that,” she says.

Be sure to give Nancy a big hug when you see her, and invite her to go out to eat so you can hear firsthand the great stories of her interesting life.

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