After 84 voyages around these earthly seas, John Turner, surrounded by his family, boarded his boat and set forth on one last voyage on October 16, 2023.
John was born on January 25, 1939, the only child of Leo and Anne Turner, and nephew to Dorothy “Dot” McMaster. He spent his younger days in Valley Stream, New York, where he grew to love electronics, chemistry, classical music, musicals, ham radio, boats, and fixing things. These interests led him to Purdue University, where he was President of Alpha Chi Sigma, a fraternity devoted to the advancement of chemistry as a science and profession.
With degree in hand, John went home to Southampton, New York, where, at his father’s funeral, he met his future wife, Kathleen “Kaddy” (Bennett) Turner (the nurse, not the actress). After their wedding they honeymooned in the Bermuda Triangle, and when they didn’t disappear, set their sails toward starting a family in the Hamptons of Delaware – Wilmington, specifically the neighborhood of Fairfax.
John was a career DuPont employee, spending 30 years as a chemist at the Experimental Station, where he was awarded numerous patents for his experiments that became some of DuPont’s most recognized products. However, his greatest patent will always be the five children he raised with Kaddy: Kevin, Amy, Brian, Chris, and Lynn. After Kevin’s birth, Kaddy and John took in two adult Vietnamese refugees, Bao and Yen, who had escaped Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War. Their stories, along with news footage of the hundreds children left behind in Saigon, convinced Kaddy and John to explore adopting children. In 1974 they adopted their eldest daughter, Amy, from South Korea and two years later adopted twins, Brian and Chris, from South Korea as well. For many years the three joked that they were a “buy one get two free” deal. This wasn’t true, but it made for a good story. In October 1978, Kaddy and John realized that five is always better than four and welcomed their daughter, Lynn, into the world.
John spent the next 45 plus years in Brandywood, living and loving Kaddy and their kids, passing on to them everything that made him “John”. His knowledge and appreciation of science is instilled in Kevin, who is a doctor in Ohio, and Amy, who spent years as a chef in New York and California and has continued to create amazing meals for families and friends in Delaware. His love of movies, musicals, and music is seen in Brian and Chris, who took their dad to every Star Wars and Indiana Jones film. Brian now uses computers and analytics, two of John’s favorite things, in his job at Nemours and continues to play the guitar that his dad bought him back in 1996 whenever he performs. Chris took his dad’s love of history, storytelling, and musicals and uses that as the Drama Director at Mount Pleasant High School, while Lynn uses her father’s endless ability to love everyone and his appreciation of lighthouses as a way of aiding the lost in her work in patient care at Christiana Care.
John’s legacy will live on through Kaddy and their five children and 10 grandchildren: Kevin (wife: Karen; children: Amanda, Madeline, Brendan, and Bridget); Amy (husband: Josh; children: Makena and Lyla); Brian (children: Milo and Felix); Chris (wife: Kim, children: Lexi and Alison); and Lynn (husband: Josh). The family wishes to thank the caring professional at Christiana Hospital (including our own special Josh Rolph), Caida Rehab, and Bayada, especially Linda who “loved Mr. John” and Sandy, who was with the family even on her days off.
Visitation will take place on Saturday, October 28, from 10:00am – 12 noon at McCrery and Harra Funeral Home (3924 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE 19803). A Memorial Service celebrating John’s life will be held on October 29 at 2:00pm at St. David’s Episcopal Church (2320 Grubb Road, Wilmington, DE 19810). In lieu of flowers please send donations to A Better Chance for Our Children (1307 Philadelphia Pike, Wilmington, DE 19809), an agency who specializes in supporting children and families in foster and adoption.