DAWNETTE TURNER, LILY GAYNOR – Went on together to the next dimension

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A great team player, caring and hardworking were some of the words used to describe Dawnette Turner during her thanksgiving service at St Mary The Virgin Anglican Church on Molynes Road in Kingston recently.

She died on December 14, 2018 at age 64.

The funeral service also celebrated the life of Dawnette’s mother, Lily Gaynor who passed away two days after Dawnette.

In his tribute, Leader of the Opposition Dr Peter Phillips hailed Turner for her diligence and commitment not only to the People’s National Party where she served as assistant to Dr Paul Robertson during his tenure as general secretary, but to Jamaicans in general.

“Dawnette was one of us. By that I don’t just mean that she was a member of the PNP, but she was a part of that generation that came about to build an equal Jamaica,” he said.

Dr Phillips continued by emphasising how surprising his friend’s death came, as he recalled some of her strongest qualities, and referred to her as an irreplaceable asset.

“Words can’t describe the shock. It has left a void in the People’s National Party,” he said.

“Dawnette was known for her confidentiality; she was like a safe that anyone could store things in and be sure that they would never come out. She never gossiped. Whatever she had on her mind she was sure to say it. She also provided correction without malice or without making the person feel offended,” he added

For his part, Dr Robertson admitted that with Dawnette as his assistant, he had a lot of flexibility as she was always ready to answer questions about his role or any up and coming projects he had when he was appointed general secretary in 1980.

“Dawnette had an unwavering commitment to the principles and objectives to which she was anchored,” he began.

He also mentioned Turner’s authentic determination to fulfil her roles when the party hit difficult times following a massive defeat in the 1980 general elections, even in the absence of gratification.

“Through thick and thin, Dawnette was at the party office and she was not there to sit idly, but to help the movement. Most times there were things to be recorded, field trips to be led, and constituencies to be audited— literally ‘donkey work’. Please note, that at this time we’re talking about voluntary ‘donkey work’,” he lamented

In closing, the former general secretary offered condolences to the family as he reflected on the difficult situation which they have been faced with.

Other tributes came from the Half Way Tree Primary School, where Turner served as chairman of the school board. Bible readings were done by grandson Ryan Turner and niece Claudette Newland then by grand-daughters Marsha and Sheika Daley.

The mother-daughter duo was said to have a tight bond, with Gaynor also being a committed supporter of the PNP. She was remembered by family friend Nigel Moore as a stalwart who will be greatly missed by all who knew her. He went on to say that the connection which Dawnette and Lily had was the main reason why they went on ‘to the next dimension’ together.

The two were laid to rest at Dovecot.

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