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Turner 99 Loved Kenyon

Turner 99 Loved Kenyon

By Lili Martinez

Daniel P. Dan Turner 99, an avid storyteller, dedicated actor and director, and former Kenyon security officer, died on Christmas Eve after a battle with liver cancer. He was fifty-eight years old.

Remembered as someone who loved to act but loved directing even more, whose expansive affection touched people from Kenyon to Mount Vernon Nazarene College and beyond, Turner played many roles in the Kenyon community. He came to Kenyon in 1992 with his wife, Professor of Physics Paula Turner, and plunged into Gambier life.

A lifelong lover of thestage, Turner decided to finish an incomplete drama degree by enrolling at Kenyon through the Faculty Tuition Remission Program. He is believed to be the first male spouse to take advantage of the program. That same year, Turner also began working part-time as a Safety officer.

He decided to show his daughter [Samantha Turner 10] that you can get an education at any time, and he ended up getting his degree here, Director of Campus Safety Bob Hooper said, who worked with Turner for 15 years.

During his time as a nontraditional student at Kenyon, Turner pursued a drama major and took classes with Professor Emeritus Robert Bennett in Classics, among others. I think its important that while he was working here, most of the student body knew him, Bennett said. I think he was probably the best-known security officer he really left his mark on Kenyon.

While Turner enjoyed acting he became the oldest ever inductee in to the Kenyon College Drama Club his wife Paula said directing was his main passion, and the two met when Turner returned to his high school to direct a play. Dan liked to be onstage, but he liked directing better, Paula said. Turner directed, and sometimes starred in, plays and musicals for the Mount Vernon Players and at Mount Vernon Nazarene University, where he taught an introductory acting course.

Throughout his time at Kenyon, Turner worked part-time as a Safety officer, most often on the night shift. He would often break up parties with students he would later see in class. He thought it was good, actually, that he was in class with students, because he felt like they knew him as somebody other than just a safety officer, Paula said.

Turners love of storytelling led him to initiate ghost-walks with a Safety colleague, Carol Brown, for incoming freshmen and students on summer programs. Dan was big into the Kenyon ghosts he had all the facts of past students who had passed away and supposedly haunted buildings, Brown said. It got to be such a big hit that wed do it campus-wide and during the summer.

Brown and others also remembered Turners great dedication to Kenyons Take Back the Night week, during which students create an open dialogue about campus sexual assault. Every year he was on Campus Safety, he was at the Speak Out and would speak about the safety of women on campus, Paula said. It was really important to him that women feel safe on campus and know that if there were a problem he would be there.

Dan just gave all of us here so much, Brown said. Just the love he had in his heart for everybody his heart was as big as the outdoors, and he would do anything for you.

Professor of Drama Jonathan Tazewell met Turner during Turners college years and said he was especially impressed with Turners ability to be comfortable in his many communities.

Dan didnt feel like he was above anything or anybody and that was really special, he said. His ability to bridge the Kenyon community, the Mount Vernon Community, the [Mount Vernon Nazarene] community, the East Knox High School community he seemed to feel comfortable in every single one of those places and he had great friends across all of those places.

Turners legacy at Kenyon, according to Paula, will be his storytelling.

I think that works so well with the Kenyon community, Paula said. Were motivated by the written and the spoken word in a way thats narrative. So I think he fit well here.

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