Obituary Listings

James Turner

September 1, 1932 June 22, 2019
James Turner
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Obituary for James Turner

Durham: James Clayton Turner passed away at home on June 22, 2019. He was born to the late Edgar Lee Turner and Lura Adams Turner in Henry County, Virginia.

Mr. Turner is survived by his wife, Doris Vaughan Overcash Turner; son, James Eric Turner; daughter, Sharon Fay Davis and husband Matt; step-daughters, Nina Overcash Wheeler and husband Richard, Tommi Lou Galaska and husband Jeff; step-son, Lane West and wife Lori; grandchildren, Mallory “Poppy” Davis, Matthew Davis, Jr., Amanda Shoe and husband Casey, Ashley Jones and husband J.R., step-grandchildren, Bergen Wheeler, Barrett Hildebrand and Matt, Roman, Ryker and Rhettec Galaska; great-grandchild, Presley Shoe and step-great-grandchildren, Wheeler and Welli Hildebrand and expecting two more great-grandchildren.

Jim was a 1951 graduate of John D. Bassett High School in Bassett, Virginia, where he excelled in academics and football. He was Class President for the three years in high school, and a member of the Beta Club. Upon graduation, he was awarded Most Valuable Player on the football team, which along with academic excellence, helped land a scholarship at Wake Forest University.

While at Wake Forest, Jim majored in Business Administration and was on the Dean’s List. Also, while at Wake he became the first football player named to the ACC All Academic Team in 1954 and his plaque and letter are currently displayed at the museum located at the original Wake Forest University site in Wake Forest, NC.

He lettered in football and was a member of the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity. Jim was also first in his class in ROTC, and upon graduation from Wake Forest, he joined the US Army where he served our country as a Second Lieutenant specializing in chemical warfare in the Chemical Corps.

Following his time spent in the military, he and his first wife, Fay Glenn Turner moved to Durham where he began his 36 year career with Liggett and Meyers Tobacco Company. He started his career at Liggett and Meyers unloading rail cars filled with tobacco. As he began his ascension up the corporate ladder, he was promoted to foreman, sales manager, and then Vice President of International Sales and Marketing. Jim put many processes and programs in place, resultant of profit generation, and the creation of one of the most well known brands in the tobacco market.

When Jim retired from Liggett and Meyers in 1991, he was President and Chief Executive Officer. He loved his company and his people, and they loved and respected him. If you look at the old factory in Durham, you can still see the logo that he created – “Quality Products - Quality People”.

Jim served and was associated with numerous community and philanthropic organizations. He served as Vice President of the Durham Jaycees, and was Chairman of the Board of Directors of Goodwill Industries in Durham. He served tirelessly with Goodwill Industries and worked in the appointment of the current director.

Jim earned a number of awards through his career and his lifetime. One of his proudest achievements was when he was given the Gene Hooks Achievement award. This high honor recognizes a former Wake Forest athlete or coach who has exhibited traits of integrity, charity, leadership and embodies the Pro Humanitate spirit associated with Dr. Gene Hooks, former Director of Athletics of Wake Forest University.

Jim enjoyed hunting, fishing, and was an avid golfer, playing at numerous championship level courses worldwide and played in the Duke Children’s Classic for several years. He developed his strong work ethic at a very young age, working at a sawmill at the age of 12. Later in life he became a NASCAR driver, winning numerous championships driving the number 69 car.

He had a huge love for his family and was a kind and generous man. He was extremely devoted to family and friends and had a heart as large as his personality. He was funny and mischievous and his antics will be missed.

A funeral service will be held 1 pm, Thursday, June 27 at Clements Funeral Chapel in Durham with Rev. Ingram Hedgpeth and Lane West officiating. Burial will follow at Pleasant Green United Methodist Church Cemetery. The family will receive friends prior to the service from 11 to 1 pm at the funeral home.

The family is being assisted by Clements Funeral & Cremation Services, Inc. in Durham. Online condolences may be sent to

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Previous Events

Visitation Prior to the Service




11:00 AM 6/27/2019 11:00:00 AM - 1:00 PM 6/27/2019 1:00:00 PM
Clements Funeral Home

1105 Broad St.
Durham, NC 27705

Clements Funeral Home
1105 Broad St. Durham 27705 NC
United States

Funeral Service




1:00 PM 6/27/2019 1:00:00 PM
Clements Funeral Chapel in Durham

1105 Broad Street
Durham, NC 27705

Clements Funeral Chapel in Durham
1105 Broad Street Durham 27705 NC
United States

Cemetery Details


Pleasant Green United Methodist Church Cemetery Final Resting Place

3005 Pleasant Green Road
Durham, NC 27705

3005 Pleasant Green Road Durham 27705 NC
United States

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