SAVANNAH – Elizabeth (Libby) Lane Turner Bumgarner, age 81, passed away Wednesday, November 8th at Abercorn Rehabilitation Center, where she had been under the care of Hospice Savannah. Libby was born in Claxton, Georgia, but lived most of her life in Savannah. She is the eldest child of her late parents, Osborne Hugh Lane, Sr. and Nan Spell Lane. She was preceded in death by her parents, her older son Harold William (Billy) Turner, Jr., and her only brother Osborne Hugh Lane, Jr. She was the former wife of the late Kenneth E. Bumgarner of Washington Court House, OH.
Libby’s remarkable life experiences began when she was a very young wife and mother; they took her from her adopted home in Kokomo, Indiana, to Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and into the jungle areas of the interior of Panama before returning to Georgia to live out the majority of her life. She and her husband (the late H. W. (Bill) Turner, Sr.) answered the call to serve as foreign missionaries and were sponsored by New Tribes Mission, an international, theologically evangelical Christian mission organization based in Sanford, Florida. This calling required moves to Wisconsin and Pennsylvania to attend New Tribes Bible Institute for two years of in-depth Bible study and two years of “boot camp”, language school, cross-cultural communication, church “planting”, and missionary medicine. These four years of education and training prepared the young family for a successful four year term of service to the Guaymi Indians, an indigenous tribe in the Central American jungle. Their ministry proved to be the highlight of her young adult life. They delivered babies, sewed up wounds, taught sanitary cooking skills, and most importantly, led the tribe’s people to become Christians. Their service also made the word of God available to the unreached when they successfully translated the New Testament into the Guaymi Indian dialect.
After the family was recalled to the U. S. because of political unrest, Libby began another career in the retail jewelry industry. She enjoyed many years working in sales and management, and ended that career as a store manager for Levy Jewelers after she became Mrs. Bumgarner. She enjoyed several years of travel and kindled or renewed long distance friendships with her missionary friends around the world and others she met during her training and subsequent New Tribes Mission service. Libby also learned the ins and outs of being a rental property owner and took pride in personally performing many of the chores necessary to provide clean and safe housing for tenants. She could fix or modify things as if she were a real life“MacGyver”.
Libby loved the Atlanta Braves and had an uncanny knack for keeping up with their schedule and could quote stats like a sportscaster. She also loved dogs and enjoyed the times in her last days when “Bentley” would come to visit. In her younger years, she loved to dance to rock and roll music or slow dance to the golden oldies songs by Nat King Cole, the Platters and Elvis; she was as graceful in a pair of roller skates as she was on the dance floor. She enjoyed a good game of bridge;and was blessed to be able to enjoywatching the sun rise and the ships as they entered the ocean channel of the Savannah River through the large windows of her Tybee townhouse. She was especially fond of sleek, fast cars. She could be a holy terror driving her Jaguar and you could always count on her for a thrill as great as any you’d get in a Daytona 500 race! She retained her proficient grasp of the Spanish language and could also speak fluentGuaymi. She never failed to support those serving as foreign missionaries and was a member of the Life Church at Ardsley Park (formerly known as Ardsley Park Baptist Church) since the late 1960s. She was loved by many and will be greatly missed by her family and those fortunate to call her “friend”.
Libby is survived by her beloved son Timmy L. Turner of Savannah; three granddaughters: Amy T.Meyer Rahn of Savannah, Ashley Turner of Guyton, and Farrell Lane O’Donnell Turner of Atlanta; three grandsons: Aaron Tompkins (Sarah) of Savannah, Nicholas Turner of China, and Jason Turner of Miami, Florida; great granddaughters:Elizabeth Tompkins of Athens, Evelyn and Lillian Turner of Miami, and Emily Turner, also of Miami; great grandsons: Malone Tompkins of Richmond Hill and Jordan Meyer of Atlanta. She is also survived by her sisters: (the twins) Joyce L. Oglesby (Doug) and Judy L. Harrelson, both of Statesboro, and her youngest sister Mary L. Redding (Steve) of Pooler; her longtime companion Steve Raschke; many nieces, nephews, great nieces, great nephews; and many cousins.
A memorial service will be held at BakerMcCulloughFuneral Home-Hubert C. Baker Chapel, 7415 Hodgson Memorial Drive, on Tuesday, November 14th at 3:00 p.m. The family will receive friends prior to the service from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Life Church at Ardsley Park,1 E. 55th Street, Savannah, GA 31405 or to Ethnos 360 (New Tribes Mission), 312 W. First Street, Sanford, FL 32771.v