Jeannette C. Turlington, 64, model, volunteer

September 06, 2004|By Sandy Alexander | Sandy Alexander,SUN STAFF

Jeannette Coleman Turlington, a one-time model and Meals on Wheels volunteer, died Wednesday of lung cancer at her Linthicum home. She was 64.

Born Jeannette Coleman in Baltimore, she met her future husband, Thomas Turlington, when she was 14 and their mothers wanted her to teach him to dance.

The two married in 1960, two years after Mrs. Turlington graduated from Western High School. They "enjoyed a marvelous relationship over the last 50 years," her husband said.

Mrs. Turlington worked for a few years as a pathology laboratory technician at Maryland General Hospital, then took modeling classes at the Patricia Stevens School in Baltimore.

She did modeling work in advertisements for local magazines and newspapers and on television, including appearing in a commercial for Pied Piper Pest Control.

In 1969, she developed a television show with another Baltimore model, Florence Carter. The two women believed that a show with one white host and one black host could promote understanding among people of different races while introducing viewers to issues and people in the community.

The show, called Over the Backyard Fence, aired for 13 episodes on UHF station 24 in 1970. But the women could not sell the idea to a network.

Mrs. Turlington stopped modeling to raise her two children. She was a volunteer in the nurse's office of their school and worked with community members to develop a food co-operative in her neighborhood.

In the early 1980s, she became a volunteer with Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland. Her experience with the neighborhood co-op helped her earn a seat on the nonprofit's board of directors. In that role, she led the organization's move to set up a central kitchen to streamline the purchase and distribution of food for local chapters throughout the state that deliver meals to the homebound.

After her children were grown, she took seminars and read books about archaeology. She was especially interested in connections between archaeological finds and the Bible. She made several presentations on the topic at national gatherings of the Church of God, The Eternal, of which she was a member.

Mrs. Turlington also enjoyed working in her vegetable and flower gardens, bicycling, swimming and hiking. She traveled by motor home with her family and took cruises to the Caribbean and the Baltic Sea.

A graveside memorial service was held yesterday.

In addition to her husband, Mrs. Turlington is survived by a son, Charles Turlington of Reisterstown; a daughter, Jeannine Marnocha of Oak Creek, Wis.; her mother, Doris Coleman of Westminster; and a sister, Elaine Breitenbach, of Hedgesville, W.Va.

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