Dale Turner, 73

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Humanist and music lover

Dale Roy Turner, of Oak Park, died on Dec. 29, 2019. Born on Nov. 18, 1946 in Berea, Kentucky, he was the son of the late Roy Gilliam Turner and the late Jane Elizabeth Cox. The family moved throughout Kentucky and Illinois, where he graduated from Princeton High School in 1964. He went on to study engineering at the University of Arkansas before transferring to the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. Eventually he "messed up and took too many courses and they thrust a diploma on him." He also received his law degree in the same manner. 

He worked in the state legislature and private practice in Springfield for many years, then worked in bank regulation law for the state in Springfield and Chicago. He joined the choir at First Presbyterian Church as he understood from a colleague that there were two single young ladies on staff. There he met his longtime love, Melody Lynn Jackson. 

They were married on June 1, 1974 and produced two beautiful daughters, Alison Elizabeth and Justine Catherine. He and Melody raised two characters, ahem, ladies with character, believing strongly in human rights, the ACLU, voting, and helping when, where, and how able. 

He stayed active by running, racquet sports, and bicycling, as well as keeping up his woodpile, to ensure he himself was fit to help with anything from friends' legal troubles to a quick bike or woodwork repair. An active member at First Presbyterian Church while the family lived in Springfield, he served on the boards of both deacons and trustees. 

Upon moving to Oak Park in 1989, he became an active member of Grace Episcopal, serving at one point on the vestry. He sang in the choir of both churches and later, when the children were grown, at Church of Our Saviour in Chicago where Melody was organist/choirmaster. He loved music and reading, both of which brought him and Melody together and which they passed on to their daughters. From country and western, to folk, church, and shape-note singing, he was known to "read only enough music to hurt his playing and singing," but easily slipped into song almost anywhere, accompanying himself on piano or guitar if instruments were available. 

He sang in CRC (Community Renewal Chorus), under Harriet Ziegenhals and with the Heritage Chorale in Oak Park. Most mornings the house was awakened with song and many occasions could be summed up with brief, sung, lyrics. His life and the laughter he shared will forever be cherished in the lives of those who remain: Melody (nee Jackson); daughters Alison (Mark) Duray and Justine C. Turner (Mike) Smith; grandchildren Theodore "T.J." Duray and Alden Smith; siblings Linda (Kamal) Fatehi and R. Sam (Rebecca) Turner; and a host of devoted nieces, cousins and friends. 

Visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 10 at Oak Park's Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home, 203 S. Marion St. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 11 at Grace Episcopal Church, 924 Lake St. in Oak Park. 

In lieu of flowers, donations to the American Brain Foundation, ACLU, or arts organization of your choice are appreciated.

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