Happy 100th, Hester!
March 16, 2017
When the Chronicle caught up with Hester Turner by phone in late December, she was busy planning a Christmas dinner at her home in New York City, thinking about her upcoming trip to Pennsylvania, and anticipating her birthday bash with 165 people in late January. At age 100, she continues to display her characteristic intelligence, vibrancy, and sense of fun.
Turner says her “heart is still at Lewis & Clark.” She began her career at the college in 1947, when President Morgan Odell appointed her assistant professor of health and physical education. She left L&C in 1959 but returned in 1961 to become dean of women. From 1962 to 1966, Turner served as dean of students at Lewis & Clark, an unusual post for a woman at that time. In 1966, she left Lewis & Clark to serve as national executive director of the Camp Fire Girls, where she provided leadership through 1979. Later, she practiced law (having earned her JD many years earlier) and worked as a management consultant.
Turner, who has met every Lewis & Clark president who has served on Palatine Hill, has many fond memories of the college. “I had a wonderful time at Lewis & Clark,” she says. “I’m still in touch with a few students from that very first class.”
In talking with Turner, one has the sense of a life well lived. She has been a trailblazer for women in several fields; she’s traveled to every corner of the world (including a trip to Africa, where she slept in a tent at age 91!); and she’s raised a lovely family of two sons, William and John, and twin daughters, Jane and Mary. When asked about the secret to her longevity, she replies, “I’m not sure … I’ve never known anyone this age. It’s pretty remarkable.”
Remarkable, indeed. The Lewis & Clark community joins with Hester’s many family members, friends, and admirers in wishing her a very happy 100th birthday!