Ebbie Surrener Turner was born in Ellis County Texas on June 23, 1935. She was the eighth child born from the union of Henry Hayes Turner and Lilly Mae Turner (Issac). Ebbie spoke fondly of her early years in Texas. She spoke of taking her recycled Brer Rabbit Syrup Bucket with her to “the bottom” to pick, Acorns, Hack Berries, wild strawberries and Black Berries.
Ebbie spoke of taking castor oil, and “Black Draught” medicine as a remedy for colds, and other general maladies. A fond memory for Ebbie was that of her father Hayes Turner riding his horse, tall, black and proud. Even though Ebbie was seventy or more years old, she still got a giggle out of her father saying to her sister Cleo Bell; “Cleo Bell, please don’t eat all of my Grits.” Ebbie also seemed to have the imitation of her father’s irritated tone of voice down perfectly. She also spoke of her mother – Lilly Mae as having very long straight coal black hair, and a diva attitude. Later in Lilly Mae’s life, her favorite perfume was “Roses, Roses”. A fragrance by Avon.
It was in 1941, that the Turner family relocated from Waxahachie Texas to Pima Arizona where the family began to earn their living by doing housekeeping, picking and chopping cotton. In 1945, the family relocated to Little Hollywood in Safford Arizona where the Baptist Church also served as a grade school. Ebbie attended church services with her family where she “blew the horn, Sam played guitar and Cleo Bell would beat the Tambourine.”
After she graduated from Safford Public High School, Ebbie found employment as a housekeeper at the Buena Vista Hotel in Safford Arizona, but continued to chop cotton to make ends meet.
In the 1960’s, The Arizona Lodge was a black owned establishment that was the place to be. Ebbie was always well dressed and fashionable. As a fashionista, Ebbie spoke fondly of men’s suits by Botany 500, penny loafers, and sack dresses. She liked dresses just fine, but she rocked her pants suits like there was no tomorrow.
In the late 1960’s Ebbie engaged in Midwifery which was a prelude to her formal career as a nurse. Ebbie decided to advanced herself by enrolling in the nursing program at Eastern Arizona College. After completion of her nursing certifications, Ebbie obtained employment at Mount Graham Hospital in 1972. Though employed full time as a nurse, Ebbie also continued to chop cotton in order to make ends meet.
Ebbie relocated to Phoenix, Arizona with her children in 1982. She obtained additional Nursing Certifications from Long Institute while employed at Maricopa County Hospital as a trauma nurse. After Eleven years of nursing, Ebbie decided to embark upon another career change.
She found a new career working for Motorola where she earned multiple certifications as an equipment operator. In 1990 after Five years of working for Motorola, Ebbie retired, moved back to Safford, Arizona and took up with learning upholstery. In her later years, Ebbie enjoyed People watching, watching Family Feud, eating York Peppermint Patties, Enchiladas and drinking London Fogs from Starbucks.
Ebbie was Diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in early 2020. She was resolute and steadfast throughout. She was called home to rest on January 10, 2024. Ebbie’s siblings Alma Turner, Willie Mae Turner, Cleo Bell Turner (Whitmore), Sam Nathaniel Turner, Clarence Richard Turner, Henry Hayes Turner Jr., Ora Lee Turner all preceded her in death.
In her lifetime, Ebbie birthed eight children. Arlene Robinson, Nadine Wallace, Maren Wallace, Margaret Hines, Gary Jordan, Michael Coleman, JW Coleman Jr., and LaShauna Coleman. Of her children, Ebbie is survived by her daughters Maren Wallace, Nadine Wallace and LaShauna Coleman of Safford Arizona. She’s survived by her sons Michael Coleman and Gary Jordan of Phoenix and Tempe Arizona. Ebbie is also survived by her 14 Grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren, 4 Great-Great Grandchildren, nephews and nieces, and a host of friends.
To celebrate Ebbie's life and legacy, visitation services will be held on January 27, 2024, from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM at the First United Methodist Church of Safford, located at 1020 S 10th Ave in Safford, Arizona. Friends and loved ones are invited to gather and pay their respects during this solemn occasion.
A funeral service will follow at the same location from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM. This will be a time for reflection and remembrance as we come together to honor Ebbie's remarkable journey. Through a spiritual message honoring her faith along with heartfelt eulogies and shared memories, we will celebrate the profound impact they had on our lives.
After the funeral service, we will proceed to Safford Union Cemetery for the interment at 1:30 PM. Located at 400 W. Discovery Boulevard in Safford, Arizona, this peaceful resting place will be Ebbie's eternal home. It is here that their physical being will find solace while their memory lives on in our hearts forever.
Arrangements were cared for McDougal's Caldwell Funeral Chapel & Gila Valley Crematory located at 112 East Main Street, Safford, Arizona. (928) 428-1740