William F. Turner, chemical firm executive
William F. Turner, a retired chemical company executive who was a highly decorated World War II veteran and an artist whose pen-and-ink drawings chronicled Harford County scenes, died Thursday of heart failure at his Churchville home. He was 91. The son of William F. Turner Jr., a Con Edison personnel worker, and Sarah Beverley Turner, a homemaker, William Fisher Turner was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he graduated in 1942 from Erasmus Hall High School.
He studied for one semester at Clemson University before enlisting in the Army. After studying at The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, he joined the 95th Infantry Division of Gen. George S. Patton Jr.’s 3rd Army.
As a combat infantryman, Mr. Turner fought in the Battle of Metz, France. His decorations included the Silver Star for gallantry in action, three Bronze Stars and the Combat Infantry Badge.
“He was a bazookman who stood 6 feet 4,” said his wife of 38 years, Patricia Richards, a retired Baltimore County public schools psychologist.
“He received the Silver Star after he dragged a wounded buddy to safety while under fire.”
After being discharged at war’s end, Mr. Turner enrolled at Rutgers University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in agronomy in 1949.
Mr. Turner worked in sales and management for Kerr-McGee Corp. and retired after a 35-year career in 1987 from successor Agrico Co.
In 1987 he began drawing Harford County scenes that were published in The Baltimore Sun’s old Harford County zone edition until its discontinuation in 1995.
He compiled a folio of more than 375 drawings that were exhibited in art shows as far west as Chicago and in Germany. His work was also featured in exhibitions at Baltimore’s World Trade Center, the State House in Annapolis and at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
A highlight, family members said, was when prints of his work were presented to President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore when they visited Havre de Grace on Earth Day in 1995.
Mr. Turner and his wife collaborated on the publication in 1997 of “Picturesque Harford County.” She wrote the text.
He was a member of the Harford Artists’ Association, Maryland Art League and the Cecil County Arts Council.
Mr. Turner was a member of the Rolling Green Community Association and the Churchville Ruritan Club, and for 25 years produced calendars for the club featuring his prints of Harford County.
Money raised from sales of the calendars supported a number of county organizations.
He was a member of the Churchville Presbyterian Church, where he taught Sunday school and was a trustee and elder. He also established the Peace and Justice Committee at the church and chaired the committee at the presbytery level.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. today at his church, 2844 Churchville Road.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Turner is survived by his son, James A. Turner of Ellicott City; three daughters, Michelle Garren of Hyattsville, Karen Welch of Birmingham, Ala., and Jane B. Turner of Glenview, Ill.; a sister, Beverley Plyer of Guilford, Conn.; and four grandchildren.