Turners celebrate 50 years of marriage
by Margaret Anderson
Special to The Star
Feb 10, 2014 | 3436 views |  0 comments | 83 83 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hoyt and Shirley Turner at their 50th wedding anniversary celebration. Photo: Special to The Star
Hoyt and Shirley Turner at their 50th wedding anniversary celebration. Photo: Special to The Star
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Shirley Batey was only in the seventh grade, but she knew who the cutest boy at Jacksonville High School was in 1960. It was her future husband, Hoyt Turner.

It was Shirley’s first year at JHS. She was with a group of her friends one day when they noticed that some senior boys had just received their class rings.

“We went over and were trying on their rings,” she said. “I thought he was gorgeous.”

Hoyt said for a long time after that he thought of her as a kid and didn’t pay her a lot of attention. It was later that he realized she was probably more mature than he.

“I started going down to her church,” he said. “Some of us boys would go down there because the girls were there. All the girls at my own church were cousins.”

Shirley was in ninth grade when her mother finally allowed him to sit with her at church. It was then that he realized he was serious about the teenager.

“I’d pretty well made up my mind,” he said. “I wasn’t serious about anybody else. I gave her a little friendship ring. I guess her mama didn’t like that.”

Her mother would only allow them to date when they were accompanied by Shirley’s sister or a friend.

“We couldn’t go anywhere without a chaperone,” said Hoyt.

Shirley remembers their first date. It was a church picnic to Camp Cottaquilla -- with about 30 other people.

After Hoyt graduated from JHS, he attended Alabama School of Trades in Gadsden for three years.

They married Nov. 2, 1963, after Hoyt had graduated from trade school and had a job. Shirley was still in school. She would attend high school half a day and cosmetology school the other half.

Hoyt took his new role as a husband seriously -- so seriously that, he worked on their wedding day helping Johnny Brown and Jim Woods repair televisions. After work, he went home, cleaned up and married Shirley that night at her grandmother’s home.

There was no time, and certainly no money, for a honeymoon.

Their first few weeks of marriage were spent living with Hoyt’s parents. Then, they lived with Shirley’s grandmother on Greenleaf Street for a few months before finally being able to rent their own home.

“We didn’t have much money and we didn’t have much furniture, but we didn’t think about it,” said Hoyt. “I think our first piece of furniture might have been a bedroom suit. We made payments of $5 a month, or something like that.”

Shirley is proud of the fact that she went back to school later and earned her GED.

She obtained a cosmetologist license from Keevil Curl Beauty School and worked in beauty salons for a few years.

In the meantime, in 1970 Hoyt opened his own business, Model City TV in Anniston. He called Shirley one day and said he needed her to help in the office temporarily. Instead of filling in for a few days, which was what she thought she would do, she ended up working 30 years.

A few years later, Hoyt bought Jax, another television shop, in Jacksonville. That doubled the work for both of them. While he repaired televisions and installed satellites, she continued to manage both offices and sell televisions.

“We worked together every day for a long, long time,” said Shirley. “At work he was my boss, and I had to do what he said. But when we were home, we were on equal grounds. But we worked well together. I ran the shop and sold TVs while he was out in the field.”

Shirley said they tried to not bring their work home with them at night. They didn’t want it to interfere with their family life.

At the end of 1997, after 40 years in the television business, Hoyt closed his shop. That didn’t mean retirement for either of them though.

Hoyt took on a more active role to help their children by being a constant on-hand grandfather. He chauffeured and babysit his grandchildren when needed, and he was able to spend more time working for his church and taking care of their home. In fact, he’s currently actively involved in building a new church across the road from the old one. It will be finished in the fall.

Shirley earned her CDL license and, for the past 16 years, has driven a school bus for the Calhoun County School System for special needs students. In May 2012 she was named employee of the month.

“I love my kids,” she said. “You get so attached to them. I’ll drive as long as my health holds out. If I quit this, I’d be out hunting something else to do. I’ve always worked. I just enjoy being around people.”

Shirley’s parents are the late Otis and Dolly Batey. Her siblings are Bo Batey and Deborah Batey of Jacksonville and Joyce Kirby of Weaver.

Hoyt’s parents are the late Oscar and Helen Turner. Two of his siblings, Juanita Batey and Norris Turner, live in White Plains. His sister Diane Snider lives in Arab.

The Turners have three daughters. Angela Whitehead and her husband Johnny live in Alexandria. Their son, Bradley, attends the Nashville Art Institute. Christa Turner lives in Burnsville, Minn. Kassie Hollingsworth and her husband Deric live in Jacksonville with their daughter Rachel who attends White Plains High School.

The Turners are members of Tredegar Chapel Congregational Holiness Church on Nisbet Lake Road. Hoyt is a deacon and serves on the International board of General Men’s Ministries which is based in Griffin, Ga. Shirley is involved with the women’s ministry. As president of the North Alabama Conference Women’s Ministry Department, she oversees 29 churches. She is the church’s representative for the Jacksonville Christian Outreach Center, and she has taught nursery school there for the past 40 years.

“Some of the babies that I have now, I had their parents when they were young,” said Shirley. “I love them all. It’s a joy seeing them grow up.”

Hoyt and Shirley said although they’ve had a wonderful marriage, it hasn’t been without obstacles.

“We’ve had our ups and downs,” said Shirley. “We’ve dealt with the loss of our parents and seeing our girls move off. But we’re always been there for each other. He’s my backbone.”

Shirley said the early years of their marriage was a struggle in many ways.

“We both worked long hours, and our children came along,” she said. “Angela came first. We never had a lot of expensive things. We were just content with what we did have and felt like the Lord had really blessed us. After a while, Hoyt was able to build us a new house.”

He built their current home five years ago.

Shirley said her husband is quiet, sensitive and observant.

“He can be really funny,” she said. “He’s a loving and caring person. He’s like me, he’s not always perfect, but we compensate for each other.”

For their 50th wedding anniversary, their daughters hosted a reception for about 100 people at Classic on Noble.

Shirley said they don’t necessarily think about their future together. She only hopes they have many more years together to enjoy each other and their family.

“Our children and our church are so important to us,” she said. “Hoyt stays busy working on our new church. We’ve been very fortunate through the years that he can do the things he can.”

Hoyt, like Shirley, said family and church are important to him, but there’s one more thing he likes -- golf.

“I’ve golfed for 40 years, and that’s about the only thing I’ve done as far as being away from the house,” he said. “We spend most of our time together.”

Hoyt said his wife is outgoing and caring.

“I think she overloads herself,” he said. “She does things for people. She commits herself more than she should and overdoes it a lot of times.”

The Turners enjoy traveling. They’ve been to several countries and many states.

Hoyt said it doesn’t seem like they’ve been married 50 years.

“When I think about it now, it’s gone by pretty fast,” he said. “Before you know it, you look up and 20 years or 30 years or more have gone by. You can’t help but wonder where it’s all gone. There was a little void when all the kids left.”

Hoyt said there’s been no separations in their marriage -- well, almost no separations.

“We did have a little spat a month or two after we got married,” he said. “She went to her friend’s house overnight. When she came back the next day, that was it. We decided to stick together. Our love has grown every day since then.”

Shirley nodded in agreement.

Contact Margaret at pollya922@gmail.com.
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Special to The Star

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