Melva R. Turpin


The Washington Post Sunday - - LOCAL OPINIONS - — Adam Bern­stein

Melva R. Turpin, 92, a church or­gan­ist in the Washington area for 50 years, died Jan. 1 at Brooke Grove Nurs­ing Home in Sandy Spring. She had heart dis­ease.

In 1961, Mrs. Turpin started as or­gan­ist and choir di­rec­tor for the Epis­co­pal Church of the Trans­fig­u­ra­tion in Sil­ver Spring.

In 1977, she be­came mu­sic di­rec­tor for St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Washington’s Ge­orge­town neigh­bor­hood. At St. Luke’s, she was or­gan­ist and di­rected a choir with paid soloists.

She left St. Luke’s in 1992 and con­tin­ued to work as a sub­sti­tute or­gan­ist at churches across the re­gion for many years.

For the past 10 years, she had been or­gan­ist at Holy Fam­ily Angli­can Church in Hy­atts town.

Melva Ruth Pet­tit was born in Fair­mont, Minn., and set­tled in the Washington area in 1941. She was a Sil­ver Spring res­i­dent.

She was of­fice man­ager for her hus­band’s busi­ness, Turpin’s Nurs­ery near Bur­tonsville, from the late 1950s to the late 1970s.

She was a mem­ber of the Amer­i­can Guild of Or­gan­ists. In 2005, she was elected hon­orary dean of the group’s lo­cal chap­ter.

Her hus­band of 66 years, Jean M. Turpin, died in 2008.

Sur­vivors in­clude three chil­dren, Toby Turpin of Sil­ver Spring, Lois Land­voigt of Sav­age and Jan­ina Plant of Lau­rel; five grand­chil­dren; and two great-grand­chil­dren.

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