Our friend, Father Jim Turner, passed away peacefully early Saturday morning, January 14, 2023. Father Jim was born and raised on Long Island, New York, the third of six children of Edward and Mary Turner. He graduated from Syracuse University with a BA in Liberal Studies, with emphasis in Spanish, and earned a certificate in secondary education from Northern Arizona University. He then entered the seminary, graduating from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. He served his diaconate year at St. Catherine of Sienna parish in Phoenix, and was ordained to the priesthood on June 2, 1984. His first priestly assignment was at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Tempe, Arizona. He served as pastor of St. Pius parish in Flagstaff, AZ before being named founding pastor of St. Thomas More parish in Glendale AZ in 1997. He retired from that position in 2020 and most recently served at St. Elizabeth Seton parish in Sun City, AZ. Father Jim was a pastoral priest who enjoyed celebrating liturgical rites with a full church or one-on-one while administering the Anointing of the Sick, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, or walking with those in need of a comforting presence. He was a gifted preacher and liturgical presider and built not only the physical church, but also the community of believers. Father Jim enjoyed reading mystery and spy novels, but his favorite hobby was cooking. He enjoyed hosting friends and family for dinners of good food and engaging conversation.
Father Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Edward and Mary Turner, brothers Edward and Thomas, and his brother-in-law Scott Johnson. He is survived by siblings Jean Johnson, John (Chris), and Stephen, seven nieces, and one nephew. His friends and parishioners from the parishes where he served for 38 years also fondly remembered him. All services for Father Jim took place at Saint Thomas More Catholic Church in Glendale. A vigil service was held on Sunday, January 22, 2023 at 6 PM. The funeral mass took place on Monday, January 23rd, at 11:00 AM. The burial will be at Calvary Cemetery, Flagstaff, Arizona, at a later date.
May he rest in peace.