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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Staff Sgt. Darrell Underwood and Ian Gibbs, coordinator of volunteers for the Saanich Police Department, stand in front of the new Saanich Community Safety Office at Uptown Shopping Centre. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Saanich police call on volunteers for new community safety team

Community Safety Office to open spring 2021 at Uptown Shopping Centre

Laura Campbell was one of eight people to receive the Community Living BC Widening Our World award in 2020. (Courtesy of Laura Campbell)
Victoria woman earns provincial award for work with differently abled adults

Widening our World awards recognize community, inclusivity building

Aerial view of the Capital Regional District’s wastewater treatment facility at McLoughlin Point. (Photo courtesy CRD)
PHOTOS: Check out Greater Victoria’s new wasterwater treatment facilities

Long-awaited project has been up and running since late 2020

Learning tools from the Garth Homer Society’s LifeStreams program have gone online. (Facebook/Garth Homer Society)
Online platform launched for Greater Victoria adults with developmental disabilities

Platform includes programs, events, activities and COVID-19 resources

(Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich police, GVERT arrest suspect in West Shore investigation

Man arrested near Rutledge Park early Saturday morning

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Residents of the Cowichan Valley decorated more than 55 vehicles with anti-racist slogans for a car rally in support of Cowichan Tribes on Saturday, January 24. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Dozens join anti-racism car rally and virtual panel in Cowichan Valley

Provincial ministry and BC Green caucus issue joint statement detailing concerns

Jesse Savidant, 31, is wanted by the RCMP after failing to appear in provincial court in Nanaimo in December. Police warn Savidant should be considered violent. (Photo Submitted)
Warrant out for man accused of stolen property offences across Vancouver Island

Jesse Savidant did not appear for court date in Nanaimo last month, say RCMP

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is urging visitors to stay on designated trails after a hiker became injured in an unsanctioned area last week. (Westerly file photo)
Injured hiker rescued in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

“Safety is everyone’s responsibility.”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

Local musician and artist Daisy Melville created a watercolour portrait of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders from the recent American inauguration, and with help from her mom, is now selling t-shirts and more with funds going to the Comox Valley Food Bank. Image submitted
Island artist turns Sanders inauguration meme into art for good

All proceeds from the sale of shirts, sweaters and more will go to the Comox Valley Food Bank

Most Read