James Edwin Turner Jr.

Published 5:57 pm Friday, December 29, 2017

SUFFOLK— James Edwin Turner Jr., 83, died Dec. 27, 2017.  A native of Isle of Wight County, he was the son of the late James Edwin and Mamie Gilliam Turner.  Jim was a lifelong member of Benns United Methodist Church in Smithfield.  He graduated from Virginia Tech with an engineering degree, working for Newport News Shipbuilding, Electric Boat as president, and lastly General Dynamics, where he retired as chief operating officer.  Jim was very active in his community and was a member of the North Suffolk Rotary Club and North Suffolk Social Club.

Professionally, he was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1998, which honored him for “leading the implementation of innovative engineering and design processes, and establishing a new standard for naval ship design and acquisition.”  In 1999, he received the Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz Award from the Navy League of the United States, which honors industry leaders who have made major contributions to U.S. maritime strength.

Jim served on the Academy of Engineering Excellence, the Virginia Tech Foundation Board of Directors, the College of Engineering’s Committee of 100, and was a charter member of The President’s Circle.  Jim also served on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors from 1994 to 2002, and was the University’s Rector from 1997 to 2002.  Virginia Tech presented Jim with the University Distinguished Achievement Award, the Alumni Distinguished Service Award and the University’s highest award, the William H. Ruffner Medal.

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Survivors include his wife of 63 years, Elizabeth Nelms Turner; two sons, James Edwin Turner III and Steven L. Turner Sr. and wife Cindy; brother, Richard L. Turner and wife Pam; three grandchildren, Skye Catherine Taten and husband Bryce, Steven L. Turner Jr., and Adam J. Turner; and two great-grandchildren, Kai and Kalea Taten.

A funeral service will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2 p.m. in Benn’s United Methodist Church by the Rev. Betsy Caudill.  Burial will be in St. Luke’s Cemetery.  Sturtevant Funeral Home, Bennetts Creek Chapel, Suffolk, is handling arrangements.  Contributions may be made to Benn’s United Methodist Church or the Western Tidewater Free Clinic, 2019 Meade Pkwy., Suffolk, VA  23434. www.SturtevantFuneralHome.com