Miss Cordelia 

Miss Cordelia

We join the family and many friends of Cordelia Turley in mourning her death last week at the age of 93. Mrs. Turley was the mother of Henry Turley, chairman of the board of Contemporary Media, Inc. (the Flyer's parent company), and his younger brother Calvin. Her grandchildren include our former colleague Alex Turley. Mrs. Turley was the namesake for Miss Cordelia's grocery store in Harbor Town on Mud Island, but old friends knew her by the equally Southern but less formal "Cudelia." At her memorial service Monday at St. John's United Methodist Church, Dr. Scott Morris noted that she was one of those unique personalities known by a single name.

Morris, who was both her pastor and physician in recent years, recalled her as "a Southern lady" and "the very definition of a steel magnolia." She and her late sister Martha were rocks of St. John's for some 80 years, rarely living more than five miles away and staying put during the white flight of the Sixties and Seventies. On her 90th birthday celebration at Miss Cordelia's, she was serenaded by no less than five of her preachers. As Morris noted, it was quite a tribute that the sanctuary was filled to overflowing Monday.

Mrs. Turley loved her family and friends, her church, good manners, and a good time. She died the day before Easter. Her spirit will live in the old walled garden behind her home in Central Gardens, where the last of six cedars stands over a brick pathway through a well-kept garden of red camelias and white azaleas, now breaking into bloom. n

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