Bernice B. Turnage ’42

Bernice B. Turnage ’42 died October 9 in Farmville, N.C. He was born November 1, 1921, the youngest son of Cora Payne Moore Turnage and Theodore Carlyle Turnage, Sr. He was educated in the public schools of Farmville, and graduated from Farmville High School in 1938. He graduated from Davidson College in 1942. While at Davidson, he played a variety of intramural sports, was on the wrestling team, and was a member of the Kappa Alpha Order.After graduation from Davidson, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and attended Naval Pre-Flight School at The University of North Carolina. He served as a fighter pilot with Marine Squadron VMF 217 in the Pacific. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for valor in combat, and remained, for his entire life, a Marine at heart. When the war ended, he returned to Farmville where he took an active role in running The Turnage Company, Turnage Implement Company and, later, Turnage Farms. His civic activities included decades of service as a volunteer firefighter with the Farmville Fire Department, service as secretary/treasurer of the Rural Fire Association, several terms as a commissioner for the town of Farmville, and chairmanship of both the Centennial Parade and the inaugural Farmer’s Day Parade. From 1982 to 1988, Bernice was a member of the Pitt County Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees. He served as treasurer to the Board from 1984–1987. Turnage maintained a lifelong membership in and commitment to Farmville Presbyterian Church, a church his mother had been instrumental in founding. He served the church as a deacon, an elder, and as clerk of the Session. He was a member of Committee on Ministry and occasionally served as a lay preacher to congregations with no full-time minister. B.B. was a Trustee for the Davis Trust Fund, and served as a director for, in succession, The Bank of Farmville, First Union National Bank, and Southern Bank. His wisdom and measured judgment in matters financial were highly valued by those who knew him. Bernice enjoyed, and was skilled at, things that involved tools, patience, and manual dexterity. He was active in the Amateur Radio Relay League and enjoyed teaching young Boy Scouts about ham radio. He is survived by his wife of fifty-nine years, Rosemary Holmes Turnage, 4336 W. Church St., Farmville, N.C. 27828; his three children, Laura Lee Turnage McNair (Frank), T. Carl Turnage III, and Beth Turnage Biesel (Bill); and three grandchildren, Laura Elizabeth Biesel, William H. Biesel III, and Emily Carlyle Biesel. He was preceded in death by his brother, T. Carl Turnage, Jr., and his sister, Serene Turnage McLean.