Education leader Rex Turner Sr. dies
Rex Allwin Turner Sr., longtime educational leader died Feb. 13 at age 87.
Turner was instrumental in the founding of Montgomery Bible College, which later became Alabama Christian College and Faulkner University; of Alabama Christian Academy; and of Alabama Christian School of Religion, which became Southern Christian University, all in Montgomery.
Turner began his work in establishing educational institutions in 1942 when, along with Joe B. Greer and Leonard Johnson, he began Montgomery Bible School with a few modest buildings.
Turner was an avid Bible student. He taught and preached for more than 60 years and earned two master's degrees and a doctorate. His sermons were published in more than 40 books. He was editor of the Gospel Advocate Annual Lesson Commentary for five years.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years Opal Shipp Turner and by a daughter June Jacqueline Long. He is survived by a daughter Mary Ellen Hargis, Nashville, Tenn., and a son Rex A. Turner Jr., Montgomery, Ala.
Obituary on Rex A.
Jan. 18, 2001
Turner spent much of his life helping to couple academics with Christianity.
Turner, along with Joe Greer and Leonard Johnson, created Montgomery Bible School in 1942. The school later became Alabama Christian College, with Turner serving as president of the college and Alabama Christian Academy until 1973, when Turner founded Southern Christian University.
Turner served as president of Southern Christian University until 1983 when he retired and was named chancellor.
Faulkner President Billy D. Hilyer described Turner as a man of great foresight.
"I believe no other man could have done what he did in those days," Hilyer said during a chapel service held Wednesday morning.
"He was my friend and my mentor. I appreciate the vision he had for this Christian institution," said Hilyer, who was a student of Turner's.
Turner's son, Rex Turner Jr., described his father as a hard worker who accomplished more than anyone could have imagined.
"You know how someone has to build a bridge? He was a bridge builder," Turner said of his father.
Visitation will be held today from 5-8 p.m. at Leak Memory Chapel. Funeral services are scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Friday at the chapel.
Memorials may be made to Southern Christian University, 1200 Taylor Road, Montgomery, AL 36117.
Head of the Bible Department in 1942 with Leonard Johnson serving as principal
In 1943 they became co-presidents until 1948.
He served as president of Montgomery Bible College and later Alabama Christian College until 1973.
For accreditation purposes, the Alabama Christian School of Religion became a separate entity in 1973, and Turner continued as president of the school of religion, that is now Southern Christian University. He served as president until 1983, then upon his retirement he served as chancellor. His son, Rex A. Turner Jr., became president at the time of his retirement.
Following are excerpts of comments made by Faulkner University president, Dr. Billy D. Hilyer, during a special chapel service today. (Note: Dr. Hilyer was a student of Dr. Turner in the undergraduate program at Alabama Christian College.)
"His greatest influence was in the man he was." He was a man of strength, great energy and could do a lot of things well. He was always reading, studying or writing in his spare time.
He was a man of great foresight, believing in Christian education. "I believe no other man could have done what he did in those days."
He was an educator in the truest sense of the word. He was the founder and president of the Alabama Junior College Association.
As a teacher he challenged students; expected a lot, but gave a lot. He also had a great sense of humor.
He wrote several books as well as articles for Christian publications.
He was well known throughout Alabama and the United States as an outstanding gospel preacher.
"He was my friend and my mentor. I appreciate the vision he had for this Christian institution."
Webmaster's Note: These Obituary Notices First Appeared In The Christian Chronicle ®, Volume 58, No. 3, March, 2001.