Mary Laura Turner

Obituary of Mary Laura Palek Turner

Mrs. Mary L. Turner, 90, of Kernersville, beloved mother, wife and friend to many, went home to be with her Lord on Tuesday, May 4, 2021, at Trinity Elms Health and Rehab Center.   


A native of Linden, NJ, Mary was born on July 15, 1930, to the late Anna (Ondo) Palek and John Palek. In addition to her parents, she also was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. James L. “Jim” Turner; sister, Anna Riordan; and her son, John Christian Turner.


After graduating from Linden High School in New Jersey, she received her Registered Nursing degree from Jersey City Medical Center.  To further her education, Mary attended Wheaton College in Illinois, and the University of North Carolina-Greensboro where she graduated with a degree’s in Political science (BA) and Public Administration (MPA).  She entered the U.S. Air Force to serve during the Korean War, where she also met her husband. She was married to Dr. Jim Turner on May 2, 1954, and was a loving wife, mother and friend to many. After her time in the service, she worked side-by-side with her husband in his dental practice in Greensboro.


Mary was a member and long-time class president of Walker Sunday School class of her church, Sedge Garden United Methodist Church. Mary and Jim were instrumental in helping save the Körner's Folly from demolition in the 1970’s. Mary helped establish the Körner's Folly Foundation, and served on their Board of Directors, which still thrives today. 


Mary and Jim served on the first Board of Directors of the Kernersville YMCA. For many years she was an active YMCA member, enjoyed helping with multiple fund raisers, (specifically the Silver Sneakers) and was a participant in the Senior Olympics.  Mary was an avid tennis player, and as a member of the local Dominos Team Tennis Association, won multiple championships.   


She loved to travel and spend time with her dogs.  One of many things that Mary was known for was her article in the Kernersville Newspaper, “Yoda and Me”.  She also enjoyed attending the Winston-Salem Community Band concerts.   Mary was very active in the community in many different ways.      


Survivors include her sons, Timothy Turner of Kernersville and Jonathan Turner and Julie of Lexington.


Funeral services to celebrate her life will be conducted at 2:00 PM Saturday, June 12, at Sedge Garden United Methodist Church with the Rev. Justin Lowe and the Rev. Robert Blackburn officiating. Interment will be held at a later date in Arlington National Cemetery.


The family will receive friends from 6:00PM to 8:00PM Friday evening, June 11, at the church and Saturday June 12, immediately following the service, in the church Fellowship Hall.


Memorial contributions may be made to Sedge Garden United Methodist Church, 794 Sedge Garden Road, Kernersville, NC 27284; Saving Grace K9’s, 760 Sink Farm Road, Lexington, NC 27295; or Körner's Folly, 413 S Main St, Kernersville, NC 27284.


Mary loved Jesus and loved being around her family and friends.  She wanted to thank everyone who touched her life. 


Online condolences may be made to the Turner family at




Friday Visitation

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Friday, June 11, 2021
Sedge Garden United Methodist Church
794 Sedge Garden Road
Kernersville, North Carolina, United States

Celebration of Life

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Saturday, June 12, 2021
Sedge Garden United Methodist Church
794 Sedge Garden Road
Kernersville, North Carolina, United States
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Mary Laura