Turner Cassity
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Family-Placed Death Notice

CASSITY, Turner - Turner Cassity died on Sunday, July 26, 2009, after a short illness. The only son of Allen Davenport and Dorothy (Turner) Cassity, Allen Turner Cassity was born on January 12, 1929, in Jackson, Mississippi. His father died when he was four years old. Cassity graduated from Jackson's old Central High School He received a B.A. from Millsaps College in 1951, an M.A. from Stanford University in 1952, and served two years in the U.S. Army before receiving an M.S. from Columbia University in 1956. Cassity was an assistant librarian at the Jackson Municipal Library in 1957-58. One day when a stranger came in and asked if he would like to work in South Africa, Cassity's response was an emphatic "yes." For the next two years he was an assistant librarian at the Transvaal Provincial Library in Pretoria, South Africa. When Cassity returned to the United States, he joined the staff of the Robert Woodruff Library at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He served as chief of the serials and binding department at the library from 1964 until his retirement in 1991. As Cassity often said, his day jobs made his real career possible. From 1966 to 2007 he published eleven books of poetry, and a twelfth collection is scheduled for publication in the fall. A Booklist contributor judged Cassity's work succinctly: "He is a national treasure." Cassity's many awards and honors include induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters; he also received that organization's Michael Braude Award. Millsaps College conferred a doctor of humane letters on him. In 2008, Cassity was particularly delighted by "A Tribute to Turner Cassity" during a conference at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. Several years ago Cassity said: "...I have no sense of being written out." His most recent work confirms that this was an accurate assessment. Turner Cassity traveled extensively, often to pursue his passion for opera. His survivors are cousins and friends in several states who will remember his wit and his tendency to play the devil's advocate, both of which were also elements in his poetry. Services for Alan Turner Cassity will be held at the Forest Methodist Church in Forest, Mississippi, on Thursday, July 30, 2009, with burial in Eastern Cemetery. A. S. Turner & Sons

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Published in Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Jul. 30, 2009.
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MEMORIES & CONDOLENCES
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10 entries
August 6, 2009
Turner and I were very good friends through our years as students at Central High School and Millsaps College in Jackson. We saw less of each other in our later years due to geographic distance but always considered each other to be good friends. Turner was bright, articulate, and a fellow music lover. He had a well-developed quick, dry wit and was a pleasure to be around. I regret having been out of town at the time of his memorial service. Farewell, old friend!
Weir Conner
August 6, 2009
Turner was a friend since high school. He was a unique person who gave a dimension to life that few people do. It is amazing that everyone who knew him, no matter in what role, he was the same person. We are all poorer since his death, but richer in his life.
Cecil Jenkins
July 30, 2009
My condolences to the family. It is so difficult to say goodbye to a loved one. Know that God cares for you in this time of loss and sorrow. 1Peter5:7 says "throw all anxiety upon Him because He cares for you."
Chan Pinks
July 30, 2009
I was a friend of Turner and a fellow poet. We met some fifty years ago in Yvor Winters' writing class at Stanford. Winters back then chided us: "Write little, do it well." Turner answered the challenge by writing much, all beautifully. My wife, Pat, joins me in asking Mary to take Turner to a place of 'light, happiness and peace.' Moore Moran
July 30, 2009
I was a friend of Turner and a fellow poet. We met some fifty years ago in Yvor Winters' writing class at Stanford. Winters back then chided us: "Write little, do it well." Turner answered the challenge by writing much, all beautifully. My wife, Pat, joins me in asking Mary to take Turner to a place of 'light, happiness and peace.' Moore Moran
July 30, 2009
A great poet , librarian and person. You will be missed.
H J Endicott
July 30, 2009
We were so sorry to hear of your loss. The thoughts of many are with you at this time of sorrow.
Portia Sharpe ( Psalm 9:9 )
July 30, 2009
Turner was a great friend of the Bain family. Particularly
Dr. Carl Bain, deceased, my brother-in-law. I send sympathy to all the family, and am trying to notify Carl's
son Rod Bain to be sure he knows about the death of Turner.
Joanne Bain
July 30, 2009
Turner was a very dear friend for over sixty years. We enjoyed his wit and humor. In retirement we visited back-and-forth many times. There is now a vast empty space in our lives.

Kathrine (Sparkman) & Keith GIlbert
July 30, 2009
I'm deeply saddened to hear of Mr. Cassity's death. He was one of the most memorable people I've ever met, and I'll always treasure his poetry. I met him at Callanwolde poetry weekends and took his poetry class at Emory, and heard him read several times. I also published an article on his work in the Chattahoochee Review. The poetry world has lost a distinctive voice. Louis Mayeux
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