An Honest, Cultured, Kind-Hearted Man

Posted on August 17, 2022 by Lisa Thomas under Uncategorized
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“Wednesday noon Mr. Daniel C. Turrentine, who had been in declining health for some weeks, died at the Fariss Hotel here. The deceased had lived here for more than a quarter of a century and had been employed in the life insurance business.  For several years, however, he had not been as active in a business way as formerly . . .”

So began an obituary published in the December 6, 1929 edition of The Savannah Courier.  The subject of said obituary, as mentioned in the opening sentence, was Mr. Daniel Clark Turrentine, the son of General Daniel Clower and Caroline Lucy Turrentine, one of fourteen children—seven of whom were boys and seven of whom were girls.  At the time of his death, D. C., as he seemed to be known about town, was the last remaining sibling.  Having never married, his only surviving family members were two nephews.

Born in 1852 (or 1856, or possibly even 1859, depending on your source) in Gadsden, Alabama, (a town which his father helped co-found along with Gabriel and Joseph Hughes), D. C. spent his childhood learning to be a devout Christian and contributing member of society from the example set by his parents—parents who lived their beliefs, starting the first Sunday school in the area and organizing the First Methodist Church there in 1845.

In his early twenties D. C. affiliated with the Mutual Benefit Association, selling life insurance for the next 50 years.  Fifteen of those years were spent in Kentucky.  The next 35 found him living and working in Savannah, Tennessee.

As his death notice in the local paper continued, it became evident that D. C. was well thought of in the community.  “The deceased numbered his friends by the hundreds throughout this section . . . When asked on any occasion as to his work and purpose in life, the invariable answer was, ‘I am helping to provide for the widows and orphans of the land.’”

On December 4, 1929, D. C. Turrentine died of a heart attack at the age of 73 (or possibly 75 or even 77, again depending on your source).  Given the lack of family, H. T. Polk of Nashville made the arrangements for his service which was held on a Thursday afternoon at the Methodist Church in Savannah.  Rev. W. A. Stroud officiated with R. E. Shackelford in charge.  He was buried in Savannah Cemetery and sometime later a monument was erected to mark his eternal resting place.  And the inscription?

“Thirty five years ago, he came here a stranger and made this his home until his death.  He was an honest, cultured, kind hearted man, thoughtful of all and his love for children was great.  In appreciation of his life among us, which was an inspiration and a benediction to both old and young, his many friends count it a privilege to erect this monument to his memory.”

What better testimony could there be to a life well lived?


About the author:  Lisa Shackelford Thomas is a fourth generation member of a family that’s been in funeral service since 1926.  She has been employed at Shackelford Funeral Directors in Savannah, Tennessee for over 40 years and currently serves as the manager there.  Any opinions expressed here are hers and hers alone, and may or may not reflect the opinions of other Shackelford family members or staff.

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