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George B. Turrell IV

George B., IV died on July 18, 2011, at age 59, peacefully at home with his family. He died from cancer. He is survived by his wife, Adri Lindgren Turrell, his daughters Olivia (age 24), and Kate (age 13), his mother Elise Droste Turrell of Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ, and his sister Elise Turrell Webb of Gainesville, FL.
George was a passionate historian. His passions included the Civil War- battles, battlegrounds, General Grant, the emancipation of Black slaves, equality for Black citizens. He hailed the day of Barack Obama's inauguration. He was obsessed with politics, antique cars, furniture, and signs, woodworking, and the preservation of historic structures and vessels. As a young man, George built the topmasts for the SS Wavertree at South Street Seaport Museum, NYC, while living on the big ships. He worked on a tugboat restoration, The Seguin, at the Maine Maritime Museum, in Bath, ME.
In the early 80's George met Claire Tholl, of Upper Saddle River, NJ. She was famous for her documentation of historical structures in Bergen and Rockland Counties. She created a wealth of pen and ink drawings of early Dutch homes and barns and beautiful county maps depicting these structure and the surrounding landmarks, roads and rails of the 18th and 19th centuries. George and Claire became fast friends. She became his mentor and put his talents to work as a restoration carpenter. She introduced him to the Upper Saddle River Historical Society Board and he became their main carpenter. When she died, he was extremely concerned that her collection of work be preserved.
Each building on the beautiful property of the Hopper Goetschius House Museum, Upper Saddle River, NJ was either restored or constructed by George's company, AchterCol. Many local Historical Societies would rescue barns and buildings from demolition by modern developers and hire AchterCol to dismantle these structures and remantle them in new locations. George documented the historical significance and the integrity of many other Dutch homes and barns of the Hudson River Valley. He was a member of the Dutch Barn Preservation Society based in Ulster County, NY. George's saddest moments were when we drove past developed property of old farmlands.
George was also remembered for his professional acting career in Maine, being an MC for many gigs, as well as his intelligence, curiosity, creative spirit, cunning wit, and unpredictable irreverence; "his vibrant, wacko, sparkle" quoting a friend . He was a father figure to many young men that needed just that. He was committed to relationships with his nieces and nephews, and he loved his daughters above all else.
There will be a memorial service for George B. Turrell IV at the Hopper -Goetschius House Museum, Upper Saddle River Historical Society, 363 E. Saddle River Rd, Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 on Sept. 24th, 2011 at 2pm. Donations can be made in George B. Turrell IV's name to: The Upper Saddle River Historical Society, 245 Lake St., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. The USRHS plans to create a book of Claire Tholl's exceptional documentation and mapping of our local history. Correspondence to: 213 Piermont Ave., Piermont, NY 10968.
Published in The Record/Herald News on Sept. 16, 2011
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