Janet Lorraine Turnbull, née Langlow, was born on June 26, 1926. She died peacefully at her Fircrest home on Tuesday, April 19, 2022. Janet graduated from Lincoln High School, Tacoma, in 1944, and from Washington State University in 1948. She always knew she would be a physical education teacher, and spent her summers as a playground supervisor for Tacoma and Pierce County parks prior to college graduation with her Bachelor of Science degree. She married her high school sweetheart Lee Turnbull, after he returned from service during World War II, on August 14, 1948. Her first teaching position was three years for Eatonville High School. Janet was so popular and loved, she attended the high school reunions of her Eatonville H.S. students for over 50 years. In 1963, after her three children were school aged, she fully returned to her career at the newly opened McIlvaugh Junior High School, and in 1966 began as the physical education teacher at Mount Tahoma High School. She retired in 1985. Janet enjoyed many sports and was a particularly skilled senior golfer, and a longtime member of Fircrest Golf Club.
Janet had a large group of longtime friends. Her bridge group started about 1950 and once included 16 players meeting at least monthly. It continued until about 2019 when Janet and Jackie Face were the only remaining members, after the passing of Carol Hebert, Bea Kade and Al Brooks who had stepped in years before to replace his spouse Elinor.
Janet’s friendships started early and lasted through her entire life. In the picture collage made for her on her 80th birthday, you see her 6 junior high girl friends: Joan Seabloom, Inez Ellington, Margie Carter, Tina Bemis, Lois Barnett, Shirley (married names used). Although at least 4 met with Janet on her 80th birthday, only Tina Bemis remains after Janet’s passing.
Janet and Lee Turnbull divided their retirement years between their Fircrest home, travel and Arizona, principally Yuma, through winter of 2015. They would always be home in Fircrest for the Christmas/New Years’ Holidays when they would entertain their ever expanding family and longtime friends. They loved to dance and their 50th wedding anniversary party in 1998 at Fircrest Golf Club was particularly significant as they gathered longtime friends from high school and college and family, and had a family portrait taken by a former Eatonville H.S. student. To the amazement of their grandchildren, they danced the night away again as late as 2011 at a family wedding when they were 85 years old.
Janet was baptized as an infant at Bethel Lutheran in South Tacoma by Pastor Art Larson, where she regularly attended until moving to Fircrest in 1959. Since then she was a member of Redeemer Lutheran Church, where she served as financial secretary for 20 years. She taught Sunday School classes as well, most recently at age 90 years. She was able to attend Sunday services until COVID closures in spring of 2020, and was so delighted when her church family did a drive by celebration in honor of her 72nd wedding anniversary in August that year.
Surviving her are her husband of 73 years, Erwin (Lee) Turnbull, children Kathryn Nelson, Mark Turnbull (Pam) and Kirk Turnbull (Deidre). Her grandchildren are Geoff, Colin (Jill) and Trevor (Holly) Nelson, Paul and Matt (Brina) Turnbull, and Victoria (Brock) Langdon and Thomas (Tiana) Turnbull. Great grandchildren are Alice, Scarlett, Tucker, Ivy, Eli and Maggie Nelson, Ellie Mae Turnbull and Palmer Langdon.
Also surviving are Janet’s beloved caregivers. Leslie Tel started and then headed up “Team Turnbull” beginning about 2016. Jutta Mead faithfully cared on Sundays and Mondays arranging for Janet to be at church. Heidi Ehli was and is the Team’s first overnight caregiver and has been particularly helpful with arranging Janet’s graveside service details and family wake. Thank you to our loyal caregiver and medical assistant Alexus Reyes and her mom Sarah Birmingham, and to Jessica, Hellen and Deborah and others who helped and are helping during these years. Envision Hospice provided care to Janet and is continuing to care for Lee. The family is so very thankful for all of you.
Remembrances may be made to Redeemer Lutheran Church at 1001 Princeton Fircrest 98466. The family plans a large memorial service and reception at Redeemer Lutheran center in the future. Brief graveside services at Haven of Rest will be on Saturday, April 30 at 11 am followed by a wake at the family home for any friends and family who wish to attend.
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Redeemer Lutheran Church
1001 Princeton St, Fircrest WA 98466