Lake County Ohio GenWeb

Jessie M. Turney

As published in the Alumni Record, Painesville High School, Painesville, Ohio
Compiled and Published by the Painesville High School Alumni Association in 1925

Transcribed by Linda Jeffery, November 2004.

Jessie M. Turney, ’91

The purpose of this sketch is to pay a tribute of esteem and love to a well-remembered teacher, and honored alumna of P.H.S., and a faithful friend.

Since many of you know so fully the facts of Miss Turney’s life I need only briefly recount her record of achievement.

Jessie May Turney was born in Perry, Ohio, December 25, 1872 and was in her forty-seventh year at the time of her death. Her early education was received in the public schools of Painesville. She graduated from the high school with the class of 1891. After teaching for a time in the country schools of Lake and Geauga Counties she attended the College for Women at Western Reserve University from which she graduated in 1899 with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. In her college work she specialized in English and came to know and appreciate the great literature of the world both past and present as only the real student can. And in her classes, in a quiet and unassuming way she made us realize the deeper meaning of many a passage from Shakespeare or Scott or Milton which seemed to be nothing but nice sounding words to our youthful, untrained minds.

Before entering college she had learned the value of systematic, thorough work. In the four years of her college life I do not believe that there could have been a single recitation for which she had not made thorough and adequate preparation and with this thoroughness she prepared her work for her classes during her years of teaching. One of the greatest lessons which her pupils learned from her was the value of systematic, thorough work and this lesson she taught by example.

In the fall following her graduation from college Miss Turney began teaching in the High School in Painesville, where she continued to teach as head of the English department until 1912. These were years of constant study on her part and most pains-taking work for the school. Few teachers in Painesville have left so great an impress on her pupils and the school as a whole, as Miss Turney.

I remember with deep appreciation the thorough training I received from this conscientious teacher. She was never too busy to talk with us, no matter how trivial the subject. She was deeply interested in the plans which “her Seniors” as she called us were making for the years which were to follow graduation.

Thorough student that she was, she felt her scholastic training was not complete. Consequently in 1912, after a summer spent in the British Isles, she resigned her position in Painesville and went to the University of Chicago to study for her Master’s degree.

In the fall of 1913 she accepted a position in the High School of Covington, Kentucky where she taught English and French. She remained in Covington until 1917, when illness compelled her to lay down her work. She died at the old homestead in Perry, March 26, 1918.

In the last analysis of a life the emphasis properly rests upon service. What did the individual do? The question today is not so much as to the number of talents entrusted by the Master to his care-one, five, or ten-but what did he do with his Lord’s money? The living world has scant respect for man or woman who wastes or does not fully use the gifts that nature has bestowed upon him.

Miss Turney possessed a keen intellect and sound judgment. Her temperament was essentially ardent; she was buoyant, enthusiastic, optimistic, responsive-her intellect clear and logical. Her courage was superb, her sincerity without a flaw. The achievements of an individual can be described in words, but personality itself eludes description and yet its power is always present.

As her co-workers and pupils can testify Miss Turney stood high in the group of those seeking to help others. She never withheld from any one any assistance that she could render. Even at the time of her last illness her thoughts were for the betterment of Painesville High School, her Alma Mater, the school she loved. In her will she left the sum of one thousand dollars which was to be used toward a gymnasium. This gift helped to build and equip the splendid gymnasium in Harvey High School. Besides leaving to the school many books from her own library she left a sum of money to be used for the purchase of more books and pictures.

Truly she was a devoted Alumna and teacher of Painesville High School!


The sweetest lives are those to duty wed,

Whose deeds, both great and small,

Are close-knit strands of unbroken thread,

Where love ennobles all,

The world may sound no trumpet, ring no bells;

The book of Life the shining record tells.”

Back to the Biography Index

Back to Lake OHGenWeb

Please note:

If you have other Lake County resources or corrections please contact the webmaster at CynthiaGenWeb@juno.com

Last updated 11 Nov 2004

Content © by author
© 2004 Cynthia Turk. All rights reserved.