Pastor Emeritus Lillie R. Turner


On Monday, November 21, 1921, in McDonough, Georgia, a bundle of joy, Lillie Ruth, was born to Tom and Susie Thomas. Lillie is the 4th of eight children and was the last surviving of her siblings. She grew up in McDonough until she met and married James C. Turner. They were married on April 16, 1938, and were together until the passing of James C., February 25, 1990.


In the early years of their marriage, James and Lillie moved from Georgia to New York City. With the persuasion of James' uncles to better provide for his family, they left New York and moved to West Virginia. In West Virginia, they were introduced to and accepted the Lord Jesus as their Savior and answered the call to ministry. They pastored churches in Marion, VA, Chilhowie, VA, and Johnson City, TN.


In November of 1967, they moved from Bluefield, WV to Kingsport, TN, to pastor Mt. Zion Tabernacle Church. They were a real power couple because of their faith and how they worked together and supported each other in ministry. Elder Turner pastored Mt. Zion Tabernacle until the time of his passing. Mother Turner worked diligently and tirelessly in overseeing that the work at Mt. Zion would continue. The Bishop's cabinet of the West Virginia and East Tennessee Council deemed it necessary that she carry out the vision of Mt. Zion. Through much debate, Mother Turner submitted and accepted the assignment and was installed as pastor on March 31, 1990. Under the leadership of Pastor Lillie R. Turner, souls were added, and the church saw many upgrades.

Pastor Emeritus Turner was the oldest active member of the West Virginia & East Tennessee Council until her passing. She faithfully served as the Treasurer of the Minister's Wives and Widows Auxiliary for many years, all while being active in her local church. She served on the Prison Ministry, the Ministerial Alliance & Evangelism Team, and the Christian Education Association.


Pastor Emeritus Turner was preceded in death by her husband, James C. Turner; parents, Tom and Susie Thomas; siblings, John Lewis, George, Charles, Spencer, Willie B., Emma Lois, and Mary; and children, James E., Tempie, Barbara, and Randy.


She leaves to cherish her memory seven children, Lelia (Bishop William Latta), Brady, Dorothy, and Susie, all of Columbus, OH, Ruby of Morristown, NJ, Lester (Jorita) of Chilhowie, VA, and Janet of Kingsport, TN; son-in-law, Judge Al McConnell; two daughters-in-law Margaret Turner and Pastor Lucy Turner; a host of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and special friends, Mary Alice Whiteside, Shelby Redd, and Marie Kincheloe. She has a large number of spiritual children and grandchildren who adored her.


Pastor Turner was a woman full of faith, feared God, and used His Word to speak healing, deliverance, and salvation to all who were in need. She loved the Lord, worshipped Him unashamedly with all her being, and was supportive of every church in the community. She loved to travel, shop, talk and laugh.

Lord, we thank you for the life and legacy of Pastor Emeritus Lillie R. Turner. We thank you, Father, that we were able to witness and celebrate the 100th birthday of this awesome WOMAN of FAITH. Now she has entered into your courts and heard your voice say, "Well done, My good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord." Amen


Funeral services will be conducted Saturday, December 18, 2021 at 11 am from Central Baptist Church. The family will receive friends from 10 am until the hour of service. Interment will follow at East Lawn Cemetery.

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