ANNA LEE Franklin Turner might not have been able to pursue her dream of a college education because of the deprivations of the Depression, but her wisdom became her family's heritage.
"Mother Turner had a brilliant mind, gifted as a creative writer, with a profound source of wisdom," her family said in an obituary. "She was an avid reader who sought the deeper things of God. The gift of prophecy was in her mouth."
Anna Turner, who served her church, Littles Temple, United Holy Church of America, in numerous leadership capacities during her more than 70-year membership while raising five children, died Dec. 18 at the age of 91.
She was born in Albany, Ga., the youngest of the five children of Sarah and Moultrie Franklin. The family moved to Philadelphia in 1917 and Anna graduated from William Penn High School for Girls in 1934.
After attending St. Paul's Baptist Church at 10th and Wallace streets, she transferred, in 1935 at the age of 18, to Littles Temple, Van Pelt and Norris streets, North Philadelphia, under the leadership of Elder M.B. Littles.
She taught Sunday school, sang in the choir, was appointed church secretary and held other positions.
She married Deacon Ernest Charles Turner Sr. in 1938. She took time off from her church duties to raise her children, although she continued to be a devoted member.
Then, in 1946, she returned as church financial secretary, a position she held until 2002. Other positions she held over the years included trustee, president of the Mothers' Board, church clerk, recording secretary, church historian and a member of the Deaconess Board.
"Mother Turner was a beautiful Christian woman with a powerful, keen and sharp mind," her family said. "Mother Turner was not only a mother to those she birthed, but also a mother to the motherless."
In 1973, she opened her heart to her nephew, Daniel K. Winters, then 7, whose mother had died. She raised him as her own son.
The family said a Bible passage described Anna best: "Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates." - Proverbs 31:29-31.
Besides her husband, she is survived by two daughters, Grace J. Smith and Dolores A. Turner; a son, Paul M. Turner; eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.