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Clara Turbyne

Memorial services for Clara Turbyne of Morris will be held Tuesday, June 1, 2010 at 11 a.m. at Federated Church in Morris. Reverend Hilda Parks will be officiating. Visitation will be held one hour prior to services at the church.

Born in 1913 to Stanley and Louisa (Drake) Cool in LeRay, N.Y., Clara Louise Cool grew up on a dairy farm. Clara was the middle child with two older brothers: George and Donald, and two younger brothers: Truman and Walter. Clara's job was to bring in the cows every evening and she also picked and help sell strawberries for her grandmother. Prior to World War II, the farm was purchased by the US government to expand Pine Camp (later called Fort Drum). The family continued farming in Evans Mills, N.Y.

Clara graduated from Watertown high school and then New York College of Agriculture (Canton, N.Y.). She majored in Home Economics and after graduation in 1932, she was a dietician at New Rochelle Hospital near New York City. Her most famous patient was Lou Gehrig whose final request was for Clara to bake him a homemade custard. In December 1936 she married her college sweetheart, James Turbyne, and moved to New Jersey outside of New York City. Besides raising two children, David William and Janet Louise, Clara helped Jim run two small businesses, served as a leader for Cub Scout and Girl Scout troops, and a 4-H Club, and was President of the local PTA. In 1971 Clara and Jim moved to Pomano Beach, Fla., and in 1978 farther up the east coast to Port St. Lucie.

Active church membership characterized Clara in each community where she lived. While at First Presbyterian Church in Caldwell, N.J., perhaps her most notable service was the compilation of a cookbook which included many of her recipes and a history of this pre-Revolutionary War congregation. The Pompano Beach congregation valued her memorable church dinners and her quilting. She led the quilters at Jensen Beach, completing an average of ten a year, including a full set of ecclesiastical banners. For many years, she ran the Christmas bazaar, the main fundraiser of the women's group.

Jim's ill-health necessitated a January 1998 move from balmy Florida to Morris. She was familiar with the community from annual visits since 1967 to visit her daughter and son-in-law, Bert Ahern, and their family, and adjusted quickly to Minnesota winters. They reminded her of her childhood in the snowbelt of northern New York. In addition to her family, West Central Homes, West Wind Village, and the Federated Church became the centers of her new community. Clara died on May 15, 2010.

Preceded in death by her husband Jim in 2004, she is survived by her brother, Walter, her son, David, and daughter, Janet [Bert] Ahern. She is also survived by grandchildren Glenn, Kimberly and Eric Turbyne; Alyson [Rob] Knop; James [Meredith] Ahern; two nieces, seven nephews, eleven great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.

Cheryl Rempel will serve as organist for the service. Pedersen Funeral Home in Morris is in charge of the arrangements.

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