Jeanne Kathleen Turnbull, beloved mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and teacher, died in the early morning hours of September 22, 2023, a month shy of her 80th birthday after a brief bout with cancer.
She was born on October 21, 1943, to Kathleen and Steven Zaviski in Gary, Indiana. After graduating from Lew Wallace High School in 1961, Jeanne attended Ball State University and entered the workforce in the bustling steel mills of Gary. She married Thomas James Turnbull on September 17, 1965. They designed and carefully built a beautiful home on Lake Holiday in Lakes of the Four Season where they raised their family. Eventually, Jeanne’s life called her to her true mission, passion, and purpose—public education. She returned to college to receive both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Elementary Education and Curriculum & Instruction, respectively, from Indiana University. Mrs. Jeanne Turnbull accepted her first teaching assignment at Boone Grove Elementary in the fall of 1975. She eventually established her home-away-from-home at Porter Lakes Elementary where she worked alongside some of the most gifted, compassionate, and enthusiastic teachers for over 30 years. Jeanne loved the Porter Township Community and would often speak of its supporters as some of the most forward thinking in the ever-changing landscape of public education. The years she spent at PLE were among her most cherished, and the love and wisdom she poured into both her students and their families is immeasurable. Admirably, Jeanne believed in the potential of every child; she believed, firmly, that every student possessed unique gifts, talents, and/or super-powers, and she reveled in the joy of their discoveries. Jeanne was well known by her family to have an arsenal of idioms to aid in the often-sticky navigation of life: “Kill them with Kindness,” “Patience is a Virtue,” “Pobody’s Nerfect,” and “Pay your bills first and eat last,” were just a few of the morsels of wisdom in her proverbial teacher bag. Most notably, Jeanne was a fair and dependable person who treated people with kindness and compassion.
Jeanne is survived by her husband, Thomas James Turnbull of Nashville, Tennessee, and their children: Beckie (Steve) Mostello of Denver, Colorado, and Jennifer Turnbull (Kevin Johnson) of Nashville, Tennessee. Jeanne is also survived by four grandchildren: Grace and Vaughn Gavigan of Nashville, Tennessee, and Emma and Tommy Mostello of Denver, Colorado; two loving sisters: Joyce (Bill) Melvin of Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Kathy (John) Fiederlein of Bloomington, Indiana; and several nieces and nephews, cousins, and friends.
Today, in honor of our beloved Jeanne, find a fitting way to support public schools, which so firmly anchored our Jeanne in her life. The world was a more stable place with her in it, and she will be forever missed and never forgotten.