Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Eagle foundation gifted land worth $48K


A man who lived in Haines 30 years ago left land in his will to the American Bald Eagle Foundation, a gift that’s worth about $48,000.

Creighton Jerry Turner, 64, died in Sanford, Fla. in November 2014. Last week, foundation workers learned he left a 1.66-acre hillside parcel on the Beach Road extension to their cause, though no one at the foundation – including founder Dave Olerud – could quite remember him.

“This came out of the blue, but it was really nice that he was thinking about the foundation,” said Cheryl McRoberts, the foundation’s executive director.

According to an obituary published last year by a Vero Beach, Fla. funeral home, Turner was a Vietnam vet who worked in the logging industry in Florida before moving to Alaska, where he worked in a laborer’s union. He bought the property here in 1983, according to borough records.

In recent years, Turner worked in Sanford as a tile and drywall installer and apparently also spent time in Vero Beach, where he grew up. “His time in Alaska fueled his desire to eventually return there,” the obituary said.

Bar and restaurant owner Christy Tengs Fowler said Turner contacted her every few years. He also donated to the Haines Venturer Scouts.

Tengs remembered him as a fun-loving construction worker. “He was a live wire. He had worked all his life and called me out of the blue, asking that when the time came, what would be a good organization to give back to. He dearly loved Haines and missed Haines.”

Turner apparently had no children. Attempts to reach family members in Florida and Kentucky this week were unsuccessful.

McRoberts said the foundation would likely sell the property and use the proceeds to benefit the group’s efforts.She said she’s been told it overlooks an eagle’s nest.

Unsolicited gifts aren’t that unusual for the foundation, said founder Olerud. He cited a gift last year of more than 40 commemorative eagle plates that were donated by Bill Kennedy, a Michigan resident.

Kennedy made his first visit here Sept. 2 aboard a cruise ship and was so impressed with the foundation and display of his plates and commemorative steins, he’s now planning to donate a set of commemorative eagle pocket watches.


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