Elizabeth “Bette” Turlington

TurlingtonElizabeth “Bette” Turlington, 89, on December 23, 2021, in Brookhaven, Ga. Bette was born on May 13, 1932, to Jesse A. and Elizabeth Morton Burks in Washington, D.C. When Bette was seven, her family moved to Atlanta, Ga. She graduated from North Fulton High School at 16, earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Mercer University in Macon, Ga., and later received a master of science degree from Georgia Tech’s College of Industrial Management. She married Edwin Mack Turlington Jr. and lovingly raised four children.

Bette lived her values with passion. She was an activist in the Civil Rights Movement, and coauthored a book, Because of Sex: A Handbook on Sex Discrimination in Employment. Bette strived to improve education. She was a cofounder of the Paideia School in Atlanta, and later a research assistant for Atlanta Public Schools.

Bette searched for spiritual community in the Baptist church of her childhood, and among Episcopal, Congregational, and Unitarian congregations, before becoming a member of Atlanta Meeting in 1991. Bette was the first to welcome people new to Friends meeting, especially gay and lesbian Friends. Bette loved Gathered Meeting Retreats and helped plan them for many years. She was a member of the meeting’s first Spiritual Nurture Group and helped write a Pendle Hill pamphlet describing this process. Bette continued meeting monthly with her Spiritual Nurture Group until 2020.

Bette was upbeat and curious about many things. She was always interested in what others had to say. Bette had a wonderfully quirky sense of humor. She was able to light up a room with her smile and bring joy to others with her laugh. She was a loving spirit who often complimented others.

Bette was a writer, editor, and avid reader. She was a great conversationalist and active listener. Favorite pastimes included cooking, birding, and tent camping with her family. Being outside in natural settings was a priority. She loved watching Braves games with her beloved husband, Ed.

Bette was predeceased by her husband, Edwin Mack Turlington Jr.; parents, Jesse A. and Elizabeth Morton Burks; stepmother, Margaret England Burks; and three brothers, Arnold Burks, Ralph Burks, and Bob Burks. She is survived by four children, Beckie Fuller (Ken), Maggie Turlington, Mary Turlington, and Julia Turlington (Mickele McCleary); three grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

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