Bettie Alene Turner, 96, a historic icon of Gardner, KS that was admired by her community, passed away March 2, 2018. Funeral will be 2:30 pm Friday, March 9, 2018 at the First Presbyterian Church, 138 E. Shawnee, Gardner, KS 66030. Burial follows at Gardner Cemetery. Visitation 1:00 pm before the service. Memorial contributions may be made to the Gardner Historical Museum. Arrangements by: Bruce Funeral Home, Gardner 913-856-7111. Condolences may be left at www.brucefuneralhome.com
Bettie was born July 25, 1921 at her maternal grandparent’s home in Gardner to James Ray and Pauline (Patterson) Waddell. She was named Betty Aileen by her mother, but she became Bettie Alene when the doctor wrote down the wrong information for her birth certificate. She moved throughout Kansas and Oklahoma when she was a child. Bettie graduated from Ottawa High School in 1939. She began her college education with one year at Ottawa University and then finished her degree from Kansas State Teacher’s College in Emporia. She moved back to Gardner in 1942 and taught first and second grade. Bettie married Marvin LeRoy Tuner on August 12, 1944 in Ottawa, KS. In 1960, Bettie became a librarian for the Gardner Library. In the 1970s Bettie started working for the Shawnee Journal Herald and then started school at Johnson County Community College to study journalism, advertising, copywriting and creative writing. She later worked for both the Gardner News, and in the Johnson County Bureau office of The Kansas City Star. When The Star received a Pulitzer Prize for local spot news reporting for its coverage of the July 1981 skywalk collapse at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City’s Crown Center district, Turner was one of 258 staff members who received a Pulitzer medal. Bettie continued to be a contributing writer and advisor board member for The Best Times, a Johnson County publication for seniors. She belonged to a group called Friday Friends, which met monthly and was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Gardner. She was also a founding member of the Gardner Historical Museum. Bettie’s favorite television program was Dancing With the Stars but she enjoys reading most of the time. Marvin, Bettie’s mother and Bettie all passed away on the Turner Farm. Bettie and Marvin took pride in Gardner and its residents and his involvement in the community was evidence of this pride. They enjoyed all community activities. Not many people stay in one place their whole lives, which is unusual for this day. Bettie’s last wish for all: “I wish I had known you better” – “The world is so full of a number of things-I think we should be as happy as kings.”
Bettie was preceded in death by her parents and brother, Jim Ray Wadell. She was the strong matriarch of her family and is survived by many people who loved her. Bettie was the last surviving member of the Buzzin Dozen Club. This distinguished citizen will be missed by all.