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What do the Turners have in common with Walker Methodist? Celebrating 75 years

Amy Weiss | Nov 5, 2020

This year is a milestone for both the Turners and Walker Methodist. In 2020, Walker Methodist is celebrating 75 years of serving older adults. Havenwood of Minnetonka residents Bill and Dorothy have been married for just as long. That’s more than seven decades of shared life. More than 27,000 days they’ve spent together.

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In November 1945, 20-year-old Bill came home to Windom, Minnesota, on a 30-day leave from his Navy station in the South Pacific. He’d been drafted two years before but spent every leave with Dorothy. This visit, though, was special. On November 18, 1945, he married 19-year-old Dorothy. After the wedding, he went to Florida to finish his last three months of service. But the Turners’ story really began a few years before.

Dorothy grew up on a farm near Windom, and Bill grew up in town. So she could attend school, Dorothy stayed in town and went back home every weekend (until she got a job at a bank). In the spring, Bill was on the high school track team, and Dorothy played in the band at their meets. One night, after a meet during Bill’s junior year, they met at a friend’s party. “The boys sat on one side, and the girls sat on the other,” explained Bill, “but I walked her home. That’s how it all started.”

Dorothy and Bill started dating, frequenting the local malt shop. When Bill was drafted, Dorothy stayed in Windom. Then, after they’d married and Bill finished his service, the couple moved to Minneapolis. Dorothy worked as a grocery store clerk and bookkeeper, and Bill had a 35-year career with Western Electric. When the company offered him a choice—relocation to Texas, relocation to New Mexico, or retirement—Bill was content with retiring. The Turners didn’t slow down, however.

After retiring, Bill kept up his hobby of woodworking (he made the side table still in their living room, Dorothy pointed out) and started volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. He worked two days each week for 25 years, until he was 92. Bill helped build 200 houses and served with former president Jimmy Carter at programs in Texas and Georgia.

Dorothy continued to serve at their church, where she was a volunteer for more than 30 years. Until November 2019, she also volunteered at a local retail shop that sells handmade goods. Dorothy is an avid crafter, so she still knits, crochets, and paints for the shop.

A few years ago, the Turners were some of the first residents to move into Havenwood of Minnetonka, where their neighbors from their former townhome live upstairs. “There’s always something to do for everyone,” said Bill. “If you can’t find something to do, it’s your own fault.” Dorothy commented, “It’s been great. We’ve made so many friends.”

After 75 years of marriage, the Turners have learned what makes a relationship work. “A long time ago, we committed to talk things out instead of argue. Resentment and greed do nothing but harm.” Smiling, she added, “It helps he doesn’t complain about what I cook.”

“She’s the most laidback, easygoing person I’ve ever met. I don’t know how she puts up with me,” said Bill. “If someone asked me to find a fault with her, I couldn’t."