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Sylvester Lee Turner

September 19, 1932 ~ December 2, 2018 (age 86)

Sylvester Lee Turner, age 86 of 3610 Renee Dr., Sanford, NC passed on Sunday, December 2, 2018 at his residence.

Sylvester Lee “Jap” Turner was born on September 19, 1932 in Raeford, NC.  He served a tour in the Korean Conflict, and upon return home, played semi-professional baseball.  He was a long-time employee of the Sanford Parks and Recreation system as the Activities Supervisor.  He touched the lives of many in that role.  Jap was more than a coach – he was a friend, an advisor, and surrogate father for many.  He established a teen club and held weekly dances at Gilmore Terrace, and developed daily afterschool activities throughout Lee County for both white and black youth in a time of segregation.  There were also programs for senior citizens.  He moved to Sanford, NC at an early age, and attended W. B. Wicker Training School, where he was active in sports, including football and baseball.

If you didn’t want to know the REAL unfiltered truth, then you didn’t ask Jap.  He left a lasting impression on the lives of those he touched.  He also worked at the Sanford Housing Authority, Coty, and Central Carolina Community College, where he retired in 2016.  He was an Ordained Deacon, and member of the Masons and the Order of Elks.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Lucille Turner Smith and grandmother, Mary Turner Johnson. 

He is survived by his wife, Barbara Harden Turner; children, Michael Anthony McIver (Constantina) of Sanford, NC; Ruby Turner of Raleigh, NC; and James Nathan Turner (Wanda Swann) of Sanford, NC; sister, Mary Alice Thomas of Wilmington, NC; grandson with whom he had a particularly close bond, who he affectionately referred to as “Buck”; four grandchildren, nineteen great-grandchildren, two great-great grandchildren; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws, Blandonia Presbyterian Church family, and friends.

Arrangements By: Knotts Funeral Home, Sanford

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