GERALD M. TURNER - MILTON - Gerald Merchant Turner, 82, of Milton, and Lake Wales, Fla., passed peacefully at the Vermont Respite House on Thursday, March 21, 2013, of cancer. He was born Aug. 12, 1930, in Middletown, Conn., and grew up in Burlington, Vt. He graduated from the University of Vermont with a B.S. in 1952, and a Master of Education in 1953. He received his Master of Science Degree from Syracuse University, N.Y., in 1959. He served in the U.S. Army in the Counter Intelligence Corps, 1954 to 1956. An ardent believer in lifelong learning, he continued to take courses throughout his 30-year teaching career, especially in the fields he loved most - environmental science and photography. Affectionately known as "Mr. T" to his middle school students, Jerry retired from Albert D. Lawton Intermediate School in Essex Junction, in 1985, where he taught natural sciences for 23 years. He also ran the after-school photography club, and taught at Camp Keewaydin on Lake Dunmore for many summers. He taught in Hinesburg, Vt., and Whitesboro, N.Y., early in his career. A keen observer of nature, Jerry enjoyed camping, paddling, hiking, birding, hunting and fishing with friends and family in Maine, Vermont and Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, especially with his lifelong friend, Harry Varney. He took photos wherever he went and never tired of sharing the wonders of nature. He was also an avid vegetable gardener and spent many spring evenings rototilling gardens for others. After retiring, Jerry returned to his boyhood hobby of designing, making and flying model airplanes. He also continued his woodworking craft and built lightweight canoes which he deployed on the ponds, lakes and rivers of northern New England and Florida. He and his wife spent winters in Lake Wales, Fla., where he established a flying field and made many lasting friends. Gerald leaves his wife of 39 years, Patricia Gervais Turner of Essex Junction; daughters, Ann (Donald) Whitman of Bolton, and Joan (Martin) Snider of North Clarendon; sister, Catherine (Harry) Varney of Essex Junction, and Englewood, Fla.; brother, Robert (Patricia Follansbee) Turner of Charlotte, and Clearwater, Fla.; grandchildren, David and Katherine Whitman, and Jesse, Matthew and Andrew Snider. He also leaves his stepchildren, Christopher (Debora) Long of Deephaven, Minn., Jonathon (Patricia Pike) Long and his children, Danielle, Jamie and Samantha, of Essex Junction, and Jennifer (Richard) Berg and her children, Christopher and Matthew Snelling, of Milton; as well as many loving nieces, nephews and devoted friends. He was predeceased by his daughter, Amy Turner Bradley of Roundrock, Texas; and his parents, George W.C. Turner and Edith Merchant Turner of Burlington. Visiting hours are from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 24, 2013, at the Ready Funeral Home Mountain View Chapel, 68 Pinecrest Dr., Essex Junction. Condolences may be left at www.readyfuneral.com
. A private interment will be held at a later date. Contributions in his memory may be made to Audubon Vermont, 255 Sherman Hollow Road, Huntington, VT 05462.