Jean L. Turner, dubbed "The Lady of the Lodge" in a feature article about the Strawberry Lodge in The Arizona Republic on Nov. 23, 2002, died Dec. 20, 2006, in Albuquerque, N.M.
Born Jean Laverne Antletz on May 27, 1918, in Washington, D.C., to Edward L. and Majora Barrett Antletz, she spent her infancy out of the country in Guadalajara, where her father served as Vice Consul to Mexico. After the family returned to the United States, they settled in Minneapolis, Minn., where Jean graduated from North High School and attended the University of Minnesota.
As a young woman, Jean returned to Washington, her birthplace, where she worked as a telephone operator during the day and in the evenings taught dance at the local USO to World War II soldiers. She met the love of her life, future husband Richard Perry Turner, when he "cut in" at one such military dance. They were married on New Year's Eve, 1945, in Minneapolis.
The Turners spent the first 19 years of their life together in California, the bulk of it near Los Angeles, where all four of their children were born. In 1964, the family moved to Barrington, Ill., near Chicago, to follow Dick's job.
Fed up with the rat race, Dick resigned from the corporate world and moved the family to Strawberry in 1967, where the Turners had purchased Strawberry Lodge. Jean and Dick, with help from the kids, transformed the small café, gas station and four-room motel into the welcoming place it is today -- with a full-service restaurant and bar and 12 motel rooms. Jean became famous for her homemade pies and her sweet and caring nature.
Though Dick died in 1987, Jean continued to run the Lodge through 2002 when, at age 84, she retired and moved to Albuquerque to be near her oldest daughter. She made a difference in the many lives she touched. Jean was a true practitioner of the power of positive thinking, and her unfailing optimism and good humor brightened everyone's days.
Jean Turner is survived by her four children: Pam (Trent) Tyler of Albuquerque; Debbie Smith of St. Helens, Ore.; Cindy (Roi) Armstrong of Sedona; and Richard Turner, and partner Frank Gerber, of Seattle, Wash.; four grandchildren: Laurie (Dillon) McDaniel, Florence, Ala.; Aimee Herd, Vancouver, Wash.; Jessica (Rory) McGuire, Albuquerque; and Amanda Armstrong, Tucson; and three-and-one-half great-grandchildren.
Friends and family are invited to a celebration of Jean's life, to be held in Strawberry in late spring or early summer.