Lewis Edward Turner, 87, passed away Saturday morning, January 23, 2021 at his home after fighting a long illness. Although Mr. Turner was a long-time resident of the city of Rocky Mount, Nash/Edgecombe County, he was born and reared in Cumberland County on March 16,1933 to the late Reverend William Edward Turner and Pearl I. McMillian Turner. He was married to the late Dorothy Galloway Turner. Mr. Lewis Turner was educated in the Cumberland County School System and later attended North Carolina A&T State University completing 3 years studying Engineering. While there, he became a member of the Mu Psi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. in Fall of 1954.
He is preceded in death by his parents; wife; two sisters Lorene Turner Byrd and Rena T. McMillian; and granddaughter Brittany Novell Turner who died at infancy.
Lewis Turner is survived by his brother William Franklin Turner of Gulfport, Mississippi; his four children, Lewis Galloway (Joyce) of Warrenton, NC; Jacqulyn Tucker of Lakewood, Washington; Pearl Dozier of the home; and Trevia Turner of Lancaster, SC; 13 grandchildren, 27 great-grandchildren; 17 great-great grandchildren; host of nieces, nephews, and cousins. He also leaves to cherish friends and caregivers Christine Whitaker, Allison Lovely, and Shelby Spruce.
Throughout his lifetime Mr. Lewis Turner served in many roles, a faithful and dedicated freedom fighter for many causes and was an active participant for over forty (40) years in the public life of his community. He also served as an educator at Swift Creek High School. Mr. Lewis Turner was a strong advocate for various causes associated with social justice, social change, or respecting the rights of others. His core principles related to the foundation of a democracy included: welfare rights and workers’ rights for the most economically vulnerable; increasing affordable and fair housing opportunities for residents of disinvested and racially segregated communities; voting rights protection especially for those denied the right to vote based on race; and death penalty matters because one hundred forty-one (141) death row prisoners in North Carolina in 2020 were black. He also expressed the solidarity with the human rights and liberation of oppressed people in other similar movements in other countries. At the time of his death, Mr. Lewis Turner was active with Black Workers for Justice, the NAACP Rocky Mount Chapter, the Rocky Mount Racial Justice Group and Community Academy. In addition, he was an ardent supporter of the freedom of the Wilmington 10 and Charlotte 3. Mr. Lewis Turner imparted knowledge and wisdom to those he impacted, compassion and selflessness to those in need and inspiration and encouragement to those he led. Mr. Lewis Turner’s unwavering commitment, courage, willingness, and ability to understand and respond to the concerns of the most marginalized people, based upon race and or economic circumstances, has made a substantial contribution to the betterment of the City of Rocky Mount, the United States and to the world.
A funeral service is scheduled for Friday, January 29, 2021, at the Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church located at 702 W. Raleigh Road in Rocky Mount. Walk through visitation will begin at 10:00 am, service will start at 11:00 am. An immediate burial will follow at Mount Zion AME Zion Church Cemetery in Eastover, NC. Funeral arrangements are in the care of Sunset Memorial Funeral Home in Rocky Mount, NC.