Noel Turner, nicknamed "Rocky" by his grandchildren (short for his beloved Rocky Top), went home to the Lord late in the evening on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017. He was 67 years old. The cardiac event that caused his sudden passing occurred in his Oak Ridge home. He later passed in the emergency room of Methodist Medical Center, surrounded by loved ones.
Noel was son to Noah and Glendora Turner. He was born on Feb. 1, 1950, in Crossville. The second of eight children, he grew up with a strong sense of hard work and love for others. He was quiet as a young man, hesitant to speak publicly. Having Cherokee heritage, he enjoyed reading books about Native Americans and held a deep admiration for the strength, resilience and dignity exemplified in their respective cultures. This affinity for his American Indian brethren persisted throughout his life and ministry. In 1969, he became a United States Marine. Semper Fi, always faithful, was more than just a phrase to Noel. It was a lifestyle. Though he was raised in the pews of Oak Hill Baptist Church (Crossville), it was in a Marine Corps barracks, at 4:44 in the morning, that he completely dedicated his heart and his life to the Lord.
In April 1974, he was ordained in Oak Hill Baptist Church as a minister under the SBC. He obtained a Diploma of Theology in 1980 and a Bachelor of Ministry in Biblical Studies in 1981 from the Baptist Bible Institute. He later continued his theological education at Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY. He went on to pastor churches and youth groups throughout the region in Kentucky, Florida, Indiana and Tennessee. He overcame his youthful fear of public speaking to minister and evangelize to multitudes. In recent years, he co-founded a home-based ministry, Fellowship of the Harvest, that remains active. Like the disciples, he was an avid fisherman as well as a fisher of men. Noel touched the hearts of everyone he met, sharing friendship, wisdom and the love of Jesus Christ as often as he was able.
It is impossible to succinctly summarize Noel Turner. He was a beloved husband, father and brother. He was an accomplished biscuit baker and the king of the grill. He was a creative amateur builder. He was charismatic, resourceful, genuine and
deep-thinking. Among other things, he was a tried and true fan of the UT Vols (yes, even in these rough times). If it's an option, you can bet he's still cheering for the boys from his place in Paradise. Noel's legacy continues in the lives he touched and in the family he loved so well. It is because of his faith, love and guidance that they do not have to mourn like those who have no hope. Death has no victory and these souls will be joined again. Those who knew him long for that day of reunion, even as they rejoice that he is now with the Father he loved above all else.
He is survived by his cherished wife and true partner, Kay Turner of Oak Ridge; son, Shane Turner and wife Lynette (Crossville); two stepsons, Lieutenant Commander Luke Edwards of the U.S. Navy with wife Ashley (Lemoore, CA) and Ian Edwards with wife Leann (Memphis); stepdaughter, Elise Peek with husband Robert (Oak Ridge}; and daughters, Haylee Reynolds with husband Tom, and Emily Turner (Oak Ridge); as well as grandchildren Rylee and Gabriel Edwards (Lemoore), Sophie and Stephanie Turner (Crossville), Brandon Peek and Zoe Brady (Oak Ridge), and Cannon Edwards (Memphis) and step-grandchildren Karis, Kaitlyn, Kelsey and Logan Davis (Crossville). He is also survived by brothers Dwayne Turner (Goldthwaite, TX), Ray Turner (Crossville) and Gary Turner (Sparta), sisters Brenda Turner (Crossville) and Mary Yates (Sparta); and stepmother, Glendora Turner (Crossville). He is survived by additional traditional family but also the chosen brothers, sisters, sons and daughters of the heart who have crossed his path over the years.
He was preceded in death by his father, Noah Turner; sister Nancy; and brother Ricky.
The receiving of friends was held Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017, and funeral occurred the following day at 10:30 a.m. at Weatherford Mortuary. The graveside service and interment will follow at Oak Ridge Memorial Park. The services will be officiated by Curt Moore, minister and long-time friend of the deceased. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to the memorial fund or to Fellowship of the Harvest. They can be made to members of the Turner family or at www.gofundme.com/noelturner. The family would like to thank the many people who have offered their love and support in this difficult time.
Published on November 30, 2017