Antonette Willa Turner, the daughter of Julia Irene (Pavelka) and Johnny J. Skupa, was born June 9, 1920 on the farm southwest of Campbell, Nebraska. She departed this life on August 13, 2021 at Kinship Pointe in McCook, Nebraska.
Toni received her formal education attending Ferguson county school district 31 through the 8th grade. She graduated from Campbell High School with the largest class of 35 students in 1939. She worked at McIntire Funeral Home and was one of the first women to work at the Hastings Safeway Store, as the men of that age were called to duty in 1941, after the attack on Pearl Harbor. She was asked by the district manager of Kearney to work in the home office of the Safeway store.
It was through Elizabeth Boyd that Toni met her soul mate, Carrol Frank Turner. They were united in marriage on October 24, 1943. She then became a member of the Bladen United Methodist Church. Three years later this union was blessed with a son, Barry Turner, on October 24, 1946. Two years after that their daughter, Alana Ann, arrived.
In 1942, Toni spent hours visiting her grandmother, Antonia. In the 1950’s superintendent, Clayton Adee and wife Marie were hired by the Bladen Public Schools. Marie asked Toni to speak about her grandmother to the P.E.O. chapter in Kearney. This began Antonette’s speaking career. She also turned out to be a licensed barber. After getting her license she had a barber shop in Campbell, Nebraska in 1971. In the meantime she also was asked to speak about why Willa Cather wrote the book “My Antonia.” The Nebraska Humanities heard about Toni’s presentation so they helped finance her in two programs. Toni contacted the Willa Cather Foundation to create two lifetime scholarships to graduating seniors who read “My Antonia” and were continuing their education in the literary arts.
Toni was blessed with remarkable health her entire life and remained actively involved in a number of organizations and her community. As a member of the Bladen United Methodist Church she held offices on both the local and district levels. She was a past president of the Extension Club in Webster county and had served as chairman of the Heart Association in the 1960’s. Toni served as President of the Nebraska Czech organization. She received the Validmir Kucera Award for spreading the Czech language. She was proud to present the annual scholarship award at the Willa Cather Foundation for the senior recipient on the essay of the book “My Antonia.” In her leisure time she enjoyed gardening and raising violets to give away and share. Toni enjoyed spending time with friends working puzzles and playing cards. In their younger years, Toni and Carrol enjoyed square dancing.
She will be remembered for her passion, warmth and concern for everyone she met. Toni possessed a quick smile and a genuine personality that made everyone she met an instant friend. Her greatest love and enthusiasm in life was for her family and she especially cherished the time they spent together.
Preceding her in death were her parents; her husband, Carrol; son, Dr. Barry Turner, and a brother, Francis Skupa.
Left to treasure her memory are her daughter, Alana Hoyt and husband Ronald; daughter-in-law, Joyce Turner; six grandchildren; 10 great grandchildren; a brother, Dale Skupa; other relatives and friends.
Funeral services will be Tuesday, 2:00 pm, August 17, 2021 at the United Methodist Church in Bladen with the Rev. Dan Albers and Pastor Connie Karr officiating. Interment will be at the East Lawn Cemetery in Bladen.
Visitation will be held Sunday and Monday, 9:00 am - 7:00 pm and Tuesday, 11:00 am to service time at the church.
Memorials are suggested to the Willa Cather Foundation or the Bladen United Methodist Church.
Williams Funeral Home
241 West 4th Avenue
Red Cloud, Nebraska 68970
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