Dick Turner, 79, of Cape May, New Jersey, died peacefully on Friday, September 9, following a battle with cancer. For the many staff members, Board members, classmates, and alums who have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Dick, he will be remembered as a gifted writer (our Board scribe for many years), an art historian, and an avid environmentalist, with a wry sense of humor and a warm heart.
Mr. Turner was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1932, and received bachelor’s, master of fine arts, and PhD degrees from Princeton University. He was a Fulbright scholar, and held a number of academic appointments during his career. He was an instructor in fine arts at the University of Michigan, professor of art and archaeology at Princeton University, dean of the faculty and professor of fine arts at Middlebury College, and president of Grinnell College. He finished his career at New York University, where he held a number of positions, including director of the Institute of Fine Arts, dean of the faculty of Arts & Sciences, professor of fine arts, director of the New York Institute of Humanities, and the Paulette Goddard professor chair in arts and humanities.
Mr. Turner was a Leonardo da Vinci scholar, an expert on the Florentine Renaissance, and the author of a number of books, including Vision of Landscape in Renaissance Italy; Art of Florence; Inventing Leonardo; Renaissance Florence: The Invention of a New Art; and, La Pietra: Florence, a Family, and a Villa.
He was very active in a number of organizations, serving on the board of directors of New Jersey Audubon and the Pinelands Preservation Alliance. He was a member of the College Art Association, the Century Association, Phi Beta Kappa, and Princeton Project 55.
Photography and birding were two of Mr. Turner’s greatest passions. He honed his skills as an amateur photographer over the years, and was an avid bird watcher and devoted to the Cape May Bird Observatory, where he volunteered countless hours and made many friends.
In addition to his wife Jane of 56 years, Mr. Turner is survived by sons Louis (Barb) of Minneapolis, MN, and David (Robin) of Sarasota, FL; a sister Betsy Turner of Newfoundland, PA; grandchildren Chase, Mills, Melley, Lark, Alexander, and Garrett; and step-grandchildren Emma and Alex.
His kind and generous spirit will be missed by everyone who knew him.
In lieu of flowers , donations may be made in Mr. Turner’s name to New Jersey Audubon, 9 Hardscrabble Road, Bernardsville, NJ, 07924, or at njaudubon.org.
A memorial for family and friends will be held on Saturday, October 22, 2011 from 2:00 – 4:00 pm at the Cape May Bird Observatory, 600 Route 47 North (Delsea Drive), Cape May Courthouse, NJ.