LEE TURLEY, M.D., WITH LONGEST PRACTICE OF 45 YEARS, DIES AFTER SHORT ILLNESS AT AGE OF 74
Family Physician to
Dr. Lee Turley, M.D., who practiced medicine in Bonne Terre and vicinity for over
forty-five years, died at the local hospital Tuesday night at nine o'clock. Death was due
to a complication of diseases arising from a kidney ailment of long standing. However, Dr.
Turley pursued his active practice until within a few days before his death. He became ill
early last week and was removed to the hospital on Friday. He has the longest record of
continuous medical practice of any man in the territory. Dr. Turley was one of the town's
most widely known and highly respective citizens. He had lived here all his life. He was
in his seventy-fourth year.
Perhaps no other man was so well known to hundreds of families in town and country. He was their family physician, their friend, and confidant. It was not unusual for him to have patients from three generations in one family and one house.
Dr. Turley was mayor of Bonne Terre before the present incumbent Dr. E. H. Matkin. He was elected and took office on April 8, 1918 and served until April 6, 1920.
The funeral service was held at St. Joseph's Catholic cemetery Thursday afternoon at one-thirty, with Reverend Father G. W. Brinkman, pastor of St. Joseph's Catholic Church, reading the service. The body was removed from the undertaking parlors Wednesday to the big family residence at Long and Johnson Streets. During Wednesday and Thursday hundreds of persons, young and old, including babes in arms called at the brick dwelling to pay their respects.
He is survived by his widow, who was Fannie L. Bisch, member of a prominent farm family of St. Francois County. Their children are: St. Vrain Turley, Hamilton Turley, Mrs. Eileen Rickard, Mrs. Crystal Straughn, Mrs. Delphine Beauchamp, Mrs. Ruby Turnbaugh, Miss Vivian Turley, Courtland Turley. One son Hubert Turley died several years ago. He leaves also one brother, Ed Turley, who lives on a farm between Farmington and Libertyville, and three sisters, Mrs. Dr. Barker, Fredericktown, Mrs. Viola Turley, and Mrs. Clara Blackwell, DeSoto.
Lee Turley was born December 6, 1862 on a farm near Big River, seven miles north of Bonne Terre. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Wesley Turley. His mother was Emeline Shelly whose family home was Nashville, Tennessee. He attended the public schools and then entered Missouri University School of Medicine, which was in St. Louis, and took his degree in 1890. He returned to Bonne Terre and started practice immediately. He had for seven years the widest practice of any physician in the county. For many years his office was on School Street, south side, at the west end of the business district. After his marriage he built the house on Long Street where Dr. and Mrs. Turley reared their large family.
On February 5, 1932 the Star-News-Register carried a story about Dr. Lee Turley who had then completed forty-two years of practice. On Wednesday of that week, three years ago, he brought into the world the 6,213th baby born under his practice. We reprint our story of that date as a deserved tribute to a remarkable man.
"In this present fast-moving age, one seldom stops to think of his fellow man or of any outstanding achievement not proclaimed by the press of the world unless the individual has departed from among their midst. Then for a time laurels are heaped upon the memory of the departed. In our midst the residents of Bonne Terre have a man, alive and well today, to whom thousands owe their lives and who has administered countless times to an additional thousands of persons, yet he asks naught of them in return, but a living.
He is not a genius nor a Lindbergh to whom the world will pay homage but he has been an angel of mercy to mankind.
Rather than await a time when he is gone to that great beyond to bow our heads in recognition, we wish to avail ourselves of the opportunity to raise our eyes in admiration, look upon and praise one who has unselfishly given of himself and his service for the past forty-two years.
Dr. Lee Turley, Wednesday of this week, delivered into the world the 6,213th baby under his practice. The Doctor who was born seven miles north of Bonne Terre, graduated from the Missouri University in St. Louis in 1890, and has been practicing medicine in this community since that time. During his career he has brought into the world nearly 50% more human lives, than there are residents of the entire city of Bonne Terre.
For nearly thirty-five years Doctor Turley traveled, to make calls, on horseback and even today, there are some of his calls, where part of the trip has to be made in like manner. He has delivered as many as seven babies in a twenty-four hour period and as many as fourteen to one family during his career. He has made but four of his deliveries in a hospital, these being cesarean operations. He has traveled as far as Joplin, Missouri in the course of his work to serve an expectant mother.
Doctor Turley is near seventy years of age, is active and in the best of health and thoroughly unconscious of the fact that he has performed an exceptional service to humanity."
Published by the BONNE TERRE STAR NEWS-REGISTER, Bonne Terre, St. Francois County, Missouri, Dec. 13, 1935.
The following biographical sketch was published in The History of Southeast Missouri, Copyright 1912:
LEE TURLEY, M.D., who is engaged in the successful practice of his profession in the thriving little city of Bonne Terre, St. Francois County, is not only one of the representative physicians and surgeons of the county, but is also a member of one of its old and honored families, the prestige of whose name he has admirably upheld. The Doctor was born on the old homestead farm, about six miles northwest of Bonne Terre, and the date of his nativity was December 6, 1862. He was the third in order of birth in a family of nine children, and of the other children two sons and three daughters are living. The parents were William W. and Mary Emaline (Shelley) Turley, the former born in this state and the latter in Tennessee. William Wesley Turley was born near Hazel Run, St. Francois County, in 1833, and was the only son of the first marriage of his father, Aaron Turley, who was one of the early settlers of the county and who here continued to reside until his death. William W. Turley devoted his entire active life to the great basic industry of agriculture, in connection with which, through well directed efforts, he gained independence and definite prosperity, the while he so ordered his life in all its relations as to merit and retain the unqualified confidence and esteem of his fellow men. He was a loyal soldier of the Union in the Civil War and gave effective service as a member of a Missouri regiment, with which he participated in a number of engagements. In later years he perpetuated the more gracious memories of this service through his affiliation with the Grand Army of the Republic, and his political allegiance was given to the Democratic party, though he never sought or desired public office. He was a member of the time-honored Masonic fraternity and was a zealous member of the Methodist Episcopal church, South, as is also his wife, who is now venerable in years and who resides at Melzo, Jefferson county, this state. Their marriage was solemnized when he was twenty years of age and Mrs. Turley's father, William Shelley, was at the time one of the representative farmers in the vicinity of Hazel Run, St. Francois County. William W. Turley was summed to the life eternal in 1881, secure in the high regard of all who knew him.
Dr. Lee Turley gained his early training under the sturdy discipline of the old homestead farm on which he was born, and his preliminary educational advantages were those afforded in the public schools, including the graded school in the village of Primrose. Later he continued his studies for four years in the academic department of the University of Missouri, at Columbia, and in preparation for his chosen profession, he then entered the Missouri Medical College, at Columbia, Missouri, in which he completed, with characteristic ambition and close application, the prescribed course, with the result that he was graduated and received his well earned degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1890. Shortly afterward he began his professional novitiate by opening an office in Bonne Terre, and the best evidence of his technical ability, earnest devotion to his work and sterling personal characteristics is that afforded in the gratifying success which he has achieved and the unequivocal popularity he has gained in the community. He has built up a large and representative practice, has continued a close and appreciative student of his profession, and has thus availed himself of the most approved remedial agents and advanced methods in both branches of his profession. Though his ambitions have been solely along the line of his profession, Dr. Turley has not been neglectful of civic duties but has ever been ready to lend his co-operation in the furtherance of measures and undertakings projected for the general good and the community, the while he has been found aligned as a stalwart supporter and advocate of the cause of the Democratic party. He is affiliated with the Masonic fraternity, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Modern Woodsmen of America, and the Order of American Yeomen. Mrs. Turley is a member of the Catholic church.
On the 25th of November, 1893, Dr. Turley was united in marriage to Miss Fannie Lee Bisch, who was born and reared in St. Francois county and who is a daughter of Theodore and Mary (Storaine*) Bisch, both now deceased. The attractive home of Dr. and Mrs. Turley extends its hospitality to old and young, and that the young folk of the community enjoy its privileges is assured by the fact that within its confines brightness and merriment is given by the fine family circle of four sons and four daughters, whose names are here entered in respective order of birth: Storaine* Joseph, Hubert Lee, Julia Eileen, John Courtland, Hamilton Shelley, Mary Crystal, Lois Delphine and Ruby Vincent. [*Note: According to Turley family descendant, this maiden name is wrong! Mrs. Turley's full maiden name was Felicity Mary St. Vrain (not Storaine). She was daughter of Felix St. Vrain (U.S. Indian Agent) and niece of Ceran St. Vrain (Bent & St. Vrain Forts, Fur Traders of the Old West). For further information, please contact Susan Parker who is a descent of this family.]
[The above biographical sketch was published in the History of Southeast Missouri, Copyright 1912]
Bonne Terre funeral home
damaged by fire
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