Joseph Turner died in Victoria in 2002, at age 59. Now, his estranged children are searching for answers and closure. (Courtesy of Sherry Turner)

Joseph Turner died in Victoria in 2002, at age 59. Now, his estranged children are searching for answers and closure. (Courtesy of Sherry Turner)

Victoria woman seeks answers about estranged father

Sherry Turner last saw her father nearly 40 years ago

When Sherry Turner moved to Victoria in 2005, a small part of her was hoping she might find her father who she hadn’t seen in more than 20 years.

Joseph “Joe” Turner was an alcoholic and walked out on Sherry, her mother and her two brothers at their Oshawa, Ont. home when she was only in Grade 2.

“From then on we wouldn’t see him for years at a time,” said Sherry.

Joe remarried and had a new daughter but left them too. Then, when Sherry was 19 her grandmother – Joe’s mother – died and the last she heard was that her father had moved to Victoria.

READ ALSO: So, do you know ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’?

“I just felt abandonment,” Sherry said.

Now, at 57 years old, she doesn’t remember much about her father, except that her parents were always butting heads and that “he was a great man when he was sober.”

Her older brother, Michael Turner, who often suffered the brunt of their father’s alcoholism, remembers a bit more.

“I remember all the bad stuff,” he said. “He was the most evil person you could see on alcohol and the nicest guy you could ever know when he wasn’t.”

Despite it all, Sherry wanted to know what had happened to her father and wondered if maybe he had managed to get sober. She searched for any clues of him on and off for years but turned up nothing.

Then, about a month ago, it occurred to Sherry that she should check for a death certificate. Joe died in Victoria in 2002 – just three years before Sherry arrived – at the age of 59.

READ ALSO: COSTS OF ALCOHOL: Alcoholism as disease up for debate but no denying society pays heavy price

“I just wish I would have known him a lot more. I wish I could have helped him,” Sherry said.

Working in the health care sector, she said she sees all kinds of life and that no one lasts long if they have no one to care for them.

“I wonder if he suffered or if he died alone. I just want some closure,” she said.

She has requested his medical records to see how he died and where he was buried, but it’s a long process as she doesn’t know who her father would have listed as next of kin and COVID-19 has slowed down the medical system.

While she waits, Sherry has taken to posting on local social media groups to see if anyone knows anything about Joe. “Even to find his gravesite would be good, because then I could put a plaque there.”

Anyone with information can reach out to Sherry at Turnersherry5@gmail.com.


Do you have a story tip? Email: jane.skrypnek@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

DeathGreater Victoria

Just Posted

Steve Mann and Tim Hackett consider Marigold Lands their finest development. (Rendering courtesy Marigold Lands)
Marigold residences grow more townhouses and condos in Central Saanich

50 condos, 14 townhouses up next for project adjacent to Pat Bay Highway

Norman Mogensen sets up strings for his beans in his plot in the Oak Bay community gardens. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay gardener spends decades cultivating, improving daddy’s beans

85-year-old vegan part of the community gardens scene

Theatre SKAM is offering mobile, pop-up performances to Greater Victoria residents once again this summer. They’ll feature emerging artists Yasmin D’Oshun, Courtney Crawford, Kaelan Bain and Kendra Bidwell (left to right). (Courtesy of Theatre SKAM)
Theatre performances can be ordered to Greater Victoria front yards this summer

Theatre SKAM offering mobile, pop-up performances once again

Diana Durrand and Arlene Nesbitt celebrate the new artist space in 2014. Gage Gallery moves this summer from Oak Bay to Bastion Square in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Gage Gallery moving to Bastion Square

Vivid Connections, a showcase by Laura Feeleus and Elizabeth Carefoot, opens new venue June 29

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The Victoria woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read