Turner, Barbara Smyth

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February 7, 1935 - October 5, 2018

Turner, Barbara Smyth

TURNER, Barbara Smyth, 83 years, died surrounded by her family, October 5, 2018, in Dallas, Texas. Born February 7, 1935, in Chicago, Illinois, she is preceded in death by her parents Ogden Kerfoot Smyth and Dorothy Evans Smyth.

Barbara is survived by her life partner Pat Vaughan, daughters Shelley Turner (Loy Harris) of Richardson, Texas, and Jill Turner (Keith Bradsher) of Dallas, Texas, and granddaughters Anna and Emma Harris, of Richardson. Oldest of three siblings, she is also survived by sister Dianne Terry (Warren) of Lakeway, Texas, and brother Douglas Smyth (Eva) of Pelham, Alabama, plus numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.

Barbara graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 1958 (Plan II) and after completing a year of graduate school in social work, married and moved to Dallas.

“Professional Volunteer” was the answer Barbara wrote in on all forms asking about employment. Her work was focused largely on championing the causes of women and children, where she was a strong women’s voice when there weren’t many around. With Camp Fire Girls, Barbara led groups for each of her daughters, instilling life skills and self-sufficiency.

Barbara was an adult member of Camp Fire for 25 years and was famous for her ability to pull people together to find solutions in situations that seemed practically impossible. From camp maintenance projects to leadership training to a demographic study of the Council Service Area, she would complete projects in such a way that she and the helpers she recruited had fun in the process. She was known for performing bird calls for leaders at outdoor training and for girls on campouts. Her enthusiasm for life and for people was contagious.

Barbara served on many committees and as Camp Fire South District Chairman. She is remembered by many as an interesting and effective trainer. In addition to serving on the local council of the board of directors for several years, Barbara was also a delegate to zone meetings and National Camp Fire Congress meetings. Barbara earned virtually every award that Camp Fire National had to offer through the Council, including the Luther Halsey Gulick Award, the highest award offered to a local volunteer.

Music was important to Barbara and in 1953 her voice teacher invited Barbara to sing in the choir at St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church in Corpus Christi, Texas, for Palm Sunday. Barbara recounted “I was overwhelmed by the beauty of it all – beautiful music, liturgical service, palms, cross, scripture readings, and vestments! It was almost as though I had died and gone to heaven! I was spiritually fed in ways I had not dreamed possible! I knew I was at home at last!”

Barbara was a long-time member of Christ Church and St. Paul’s Episcopal Churches in Oak Cliff, before moving to St. Thomas the Apostle (Dallas) in the early 1990s. She was always an involved church member. Barbara was a Sunday school teacher, choir member, lay reader, greeter, Senior Warden and filled other jobs as needed. She was also very involved at the Diocesan level where she served on Executive Council, Mission Department, was Chair of the Election Committee for Diocesan Convention, Deputy General Convention, Episcopal Women’s Caucus, and presenter for Women of Vision. Barbara was Chair of the Camp Crucis Steering Committee for almost a decade. And she was a long-time member of the editorial board for the Diocesan newspaper and also served many years as the Diocesan Historiographer.

In 1994, Barbara was named Secretary of the National Board of the Episcopal Church Women at Triennial Meeting. She also served as Secretary of Episcopal Women’s History Project, and as Secretary of National Episcopal Historians and Archivists. Following retirement from National work, Barbara spearheaded St. Thomas’ recycling program, folded bulletins, and filled in at the church office.

Several years ago Barbara described her spiritual journey as an “ongoing period of enlightenment.” When asked, she said she envisioned time after death to be “equally satisfying.” When asked what she would like to see on her epitaph she said: “She really enjoyed life to the fullest and loved and respected (all) people.” This is the essence of Barbara Turner.

The family wishes to thank long-time caregiver Artelia Muntz and also the team of Home Helpers aids for their life-affirming and compassionate care in her final days. A memorial service is planned for Wednesday, October 24, 2018, at 4pm at St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church, 6525 Inwood Road, Dallas, Texas 75209, immediately followed by the interment of Barbara’s ashes in the columbarium in the church’s interior garden and then with a reception in the parish hall. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the church at the address above or to your favorite local charity.

Arrangements are under the direction of
ARIA Cremation Service and Funeral Home
19310 Preston Road
Dallas, Texas 75252

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