Barbara Theresa Williams Turner, 86, of Amarillo, Texas, passed away on December 22, 2022, while surrounded by her loving family.
Theresa was born on March 13, 1936, to Willie Mae Chambers Williams and Claude Leroy Williams in Breckenridge, Texas. Because her father played catcher for the Humble Oil baseball team, she and her brothers, Marvin and Max, spent their childhood at Humble Camp in a time when economic realities prior to the WWII economic boom required companies like Humble Oil to create “company towns” that could accommodate workers and their families. The families here cared for one another and one another’s children, and Theresa always spoke happily of her memories at Humble Camp where she spent many nights watching her father play baseball and developing a love of sports with her brothers. This is also when she met Donald W. Turner, though it would be a few years before they truly took a shine to one another.
Her father passed away when she was 15, and the family left Humble and bought a house in Avoca, Texas, where she attended Avoca schools and the United Methodist Church. It was during these years that her extraordinary personality, generosity and beauty truly began to grow. She loved school, enjoyed playing tennis and basketball, and excelled academically. But what she loved most was watching her brother, Max, play basketball.
After graduating from Avoca High School in 1954, she received a drama scholarship to TCU. But she chose to attend McMurry so she could be closer to Max and watch his successes on the basketball court. Soon, she left McMurry to marry the love of her life, Donald W. Turner, on May 21, 1955, and began their 62-year marriage. After their daughters, Caron Marie and Claudea Elizabeth, were born, she dedicated her life to being a mother. Her new family moved to Plano, Texas in 1960.
Because she loved education and children, the school system provided a fitting professional opportunity. When her daughters reached their preteen years, she started her career at Plano Independent school district, eventually retiring from Haggard Middle School. She had a servant’s heart that was big enough to serve those children who were not afforded the same opportunities as her own children. As she walked the halls with her unique crown of white hair and glowing smile, she made it her mission to improve the lives of others. She always said she was born to ‘mother,’ and she filled that role for many children in addition to her own.
In 1976, she and Don moved to Prosper, Texas, where Don continued his career at TI, and they made lifelong friendships at the United Methodist Church of Prosper. This is where she saw both her girls marry and eventually grace her with seven grandchildren. During this time, she and Don hosted many dinners and summer pool parties at their home, which she took special care to decorate with an elegance that matched her demeanor and served to create a festive, welcoming atmosphere
After retirement, they spent a few years at Lost Creek, but later moved to Amarillo, TX in 2002. It was there that Don and Theresa spent their golden years. They attended Polk Street United Methodist Church and developed many meaningful relationships. Just as Theresa found ways to celebrate and build up the children at Haggard Middle School, she continued to find ways to laud the accomplishments of others, eventually nominating and successfully inducting several people, including her own brother, into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. Every Friday morning Don would drop her off at Calico County to meet her “Calico Girls,” with whom she would take vacations and drink from the fountain of youth. She took many family vacations to Santa Fe where she could share her love of Southwestern culture, art, food, shopping, music, and history around the Plaza and on Canyon Road with her family. To her brother, she was “Trigger,” to her children, “Mom,” and to her grandchildren, “Memom.” She served many roles to different people, but in all her diverse relationships she was a consistent source of comfort. She also served many rolls, cornbread, and chocolate chip cookies, all of which only she could cook just right. We will miss her greatly but know she is joyful with the Lord and her precious Don.
Theresa was preceded in death by both her parents; her brother, Marvin J.; her husband, Donald Turner; and her great-granddaughter, Vivian Frierson. She is survived by both her daughters and their husbands, Caron Marie and Billy Sansing, and Claudea Elizabeth and Nathan Frierson; grandchildren, Haley Johnson (Cory), Taylor Van Valkenburg (Brad), Raleigh Weil, Turner Frierson (Randi), Caitlin Roe (Haven), Gary Frierson (Nancy Sue), and Clyde Frierson (Shelbey); many great-grandchildren that made her so proud; and her brother, Max Williams (Carolyn).
The family would like to thank Ninfa Paredes, who stayed by Theresa’s side over the years and became part of their family. The family also requests that in lieu of flowers any donations be sent to the Avoca or May, TX United Methodist Church, or Alzheimer’s foundation. There will be a graveside service at Blake Cemetery in Williams, TX on Tuesday, December 27, 2022, at 2:00 pm.