Willia Bea Jones Turner
7 August 1923 – 27 December 2018
“’If I can help somebody … then my living has not been in vain’ personifies the life and legacy Willia Turner.
“Willia, of Wilson, was born Aug. 7, 1923. She was the fourth child of Wesley and Martha Jones. She graduated from Darden High School, North Carolina A&T State University with a bachelor of science degree, and Queens College in New York City with a master of science degree. In the 1940s she moved to New York City where she met and married the love of her life, Wilber Turner. She worked for the New York Urban League, was one of the first fashion models of the historic African American Grace del Marco Modeling Agency, was a claims examiner for New York State Department of Unemployment and was both a teacher and guidance counselor in the New York City Department of Education, retiring in 1986. After retiring, she and Wilber relocated to Wilson in 1987. While in Wilson, she filled her days with volunteer work at the board of elections and Wilson County OIC. She was an active member of Jackson Chapel Church, Wilson Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., Darden Alumni, North Carolina A&T Alumni and more.
“She was preceded in death by her husband, Marion Wilberforce Turner “Wilber” in 2013. Since 2012, she has been lovingly cared for by her granddaughter, Shaunna.
“Her life will be celebrated at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 4, at the Darden Alumni Center, 1600 Lipscomb Road, Wilson.
“The family requests, in lieu of flowers, please send a donation in Willia J. Turner’s memory to the Darden Alumni or Wilson Chapter of North Carolina A&T Alumni.” — Wilson Times, 3 January 2019.
Photographs courtesy of Shaunna M. Stevens.