Amidst a Christian and loving family, Cleo Dillard Turman, was born on March 12, 1941 in Luverne, Alabama. She was the youngest daughter of Deacon Julius and Laura Dillard. She grew up on the family farm in Luverne amongst her brothers and sisters, where she worked, learned and played. Accepting Christ at an early age, Cleo became a member of the Saint James Baptist Church. Likewise, at an early age she showed strength and determination, when she was stricken by polio, but learned to walk again.
Cleo left home in 1959, to attend beauty school in Montgomery, Alabama, where she met the love of her life Charlie B. Turman, Jr. The couple was married on February 25, 1961, and spent the next 55 years together. In August of 1965, Cleo, along with her first three children and her beloved brother, Willie G. Dillard, traveled from Alabama to reunite her family in Lansing, Michigan, where Charlie had traveled some months earlier to find employment and a home for their growing family. Cleo and Charlie Turman were part of the tail end of the Great America Migration, where African Americans left the rural South to find opportunities in the industrialized Northern factories.
Over the next 50 years, Cleo and her family became active members within the greater Lansing community. After working at Motor Wheel Corporation, as an Inspector, Cleo went on to spend her professional career nursing Alzheimer’s patients. She was a member of the Galilee Baptist Church, devoting many hours to Chairing the Mothers’ Board, where she counseled families and young girls. Her greatest joy and responsibility was living her Christian faith and raising her family.
Cleo D. Turman was known for the extravagance, height and decorative style of her Sunday hats – and would simply say – “it’s part of the uniform.” Although she never took one side, she loved to spur on the growing Michigan/Michigan State rivalry between her children and grandchildren. She had an embracing sense of humor, and inspired the same in all of her children. She brought the fight to Melanoma for the last 3 years and gave the disease a “Turman-size” battle. She was strong, charitable and loving to ?the very end.
Cleo D. Turman departed this world for the next on March 24, 2016. She leaves behind her loving husband of 55 years, Charlie B. Turman, Jr.; 6 children, including Cynthia Knox (Clarence Knox), Charlie III (Dorothye), Julius, Kenneth, Vickie Woods, and Venita; 13 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren; one sister, Mrs Katie McMillan; two brothers, Mr. Jonathan Dillard, Mr. Willie G. Dillard (Gerry); and a host of nieces, nephews, cousin and friends.
The funeral service will be held on Monday, March 27 at 11a.m. (visiting hours at 10a.m.) at Galilee Baptist Church, 2511 Reo Road, Lansing, MI. She will be eulogized by her pastor, the Reverend Kirkland Hall of Galilee Baptist Church and her son, Dr, L. Julius M. Turman, JD of San Francisco, California. Condolences can be sent to Turman Family c/o Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel, 325 W. Washtenaw Street, Lansing MI. The family requests donations in lieu of flowers to be given to Hospice House of Mid-Michigan, 1210 W. Saginaw Street, Lansing, MI 48915.