Cover photo for Walter Rupert Turner's Obituary
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Walter Rupert Turner

September 19, 1942 — October 2, 2023

Wadesboro

Walter Rupert Turner

WADESBORO - Walter Rupert Turner, a fifth-generation North Carolinian, died Monday, October 2, 2023 at Matthews Health and Rehab in Matthews at age 81.

During 2000-2005, he served as historian at the North Carolina Transportation Museum at Spencer, NC. He wrote, Paving Tobacco Road, A century of Progress by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, which was published in 2003. He was also the author of Waterways to the World, The Story of the North Carolina State Ports Authority and co-author of Star of the South, The Corbitt Trucking Company Store. In addition, his research papers and published articles included the historic topics of streetcar systems, passenger rail, Piedmont Airlines, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, and Trailways-Greyhound bus companies. He was the consulting historian for the documentary, "Moving North Carolina," which was shown on UNC-TV. He was interviewed for several television programs. Mary Best, former editor of Our State magazine, said that "Walter Turner's vast knowledge of Tar Heel transportation history, told through detailed narrative and with a fluid style, is a gift of lasting merit to the people of our state."

Walter was born on September 19, 1942 in Asheboro, NC to Sarah Marie Terrell Turner, an elementary school teacher, and Reginald Tuner, a principal and school superintendent. His paternal grandfather was Columbus Lafayette Turner, who served in the General Assembly and was president of Monbo Cotton Mill in Catawba County. His maternal grandfather was Rev. James M. Terrell, a native of Haywood County, who served as a Methodist missionary in Brazil.

An article in the Salisbury Post once characterized Walter as a person with a "checkered career life." He grew up in Winston-Salem and graduated from Methodist College, now Methodist University, in Fayetteville, NC with a history degree. He earned a Master of Social Work degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was most proud of his service as a Peace Corps Volunteer living in the worst slum in Manila, Philippines. He worked in anti-poverty programs in Salisbury and Cincinnati, OH, as a travel agent in Chapel Hill and as a Family Service counselor. In Wadesboro, he was a social worker for the Anson County Department of Social Services, including its director from 1989-1992, when he wrote articles advocating welfare reform.

In 1980, Walter married Pamela Ann Huntley, a librarian and the daughter of Col. (retired) and Mrs. William Henry Huntley, Jr. of Wadesboro.

He is survived by his wife, Pamela; his mother-in-law, Ruby W. Huntley; his brother, Wilfred Turner (Elena) of Hendersonville; Turner nieces and nephews, including, Susannah, William, Natalie, Eric, Blythe, Will, and Jack; his sister-in-law, Carolyn Turner Smith of Greensboro; and his brother-in-law, William Henry Huntley, III ( Anne )of Wadesboro.

In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his brothers, James R. Turner of Greensboro and Terrell C. Turner of Kure Beach and his father-in-law.

Walter was a member of the Thomas Wolfe Society, North Caroliniana Society, Democratic Party, Turner Historical Association, Anson County Historical Society and First United Methodist Church, Wadesboro,

There will be a graveside committal service at 10:00 AM Thursday, October 5, 2023 at Eastview Cemetery in Wadesboro with a memorial service following at 11:00 AM at First United Methodist Church, Wadesboro  with Rev. Stacey Lundy officiating.

Walter's family will greet friends following the service in the Narthex of the church.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the North Carolina Transportation Museum Foundation, (NCTMF), P.O, Box 69, Spencer, NC 28159 or to First United Methodist Church, 118 E, Morgan St., Wadesboro, NC 28170.

The arrangements are in care of Leavitt Funeral Home and online condolences may be made at www.leavittfh.com

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Walter Rupert Turner, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Burial

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

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Memorial Service

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

First United Methodist Church

118 E Morgan St, Wadesboro, NC 28170

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Visitation

Thursday, October 5, 2023

First United Methodist Church

118 E Morgan St, Wadesboro, NC 28170

Following the service in the Narthex.

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