William Cameron Turner, beloved teacher and chef who started the Blythewood High School Culinary Arts Program
William Cameron Turner, affectionately known as “Chef,” was a friend and mentor to many in the Blythewood community.
Mr. Turner died Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014.
He was born in Jacksonville, Fla. to Kenneth Alan Turner and Carol Starr Turner. Raised in Sumter, he was a 1987 graduate of Sumter High School, loved music and played trumpet for many years. He performed professionally with the Palmetto Concert Band, also performing with them at the American Bandmasters Association convention concert in Chicago, Ill. Mr. Turner attended the University of South Carolina and was a member of Phi Mu Alpha Fraternity.
Mr. Turner and his wife, Tori, were married on May 15, 1993 and were blessed with two beautiful girls, Katherine Elizabeth and Ellen Grace. He transferred to Johnson & Wales University and graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Culinary Arts in 1996. He then worked in several of Columbia’s finest restaurants, including Garibaldi’s of Columbia, Al’s Upstairs Italian Restaurant, Restaurant 123 and Santorini Grill. Upon the birth of their children, Mr. Turner was a stay-at-home-dad for six years, devoting his days to caring for Katie and Ellie. During this time, he began a catering business bearing his name that continued throughout his career.
Mr. Turner started the Blythewood High School Culinary Arts Program when the school opened in 2005 and it quickly became one of the state and nation’s top programs, finishing in the top five at the state culinary completion five times and claimed the state championship in 2010 while earning a 14th place national finish. He was Teacher of the Year at Blythewood High School in 2008 and Culinary State Teacher of the Year in 2010. He developed the Blythewood “Down Under” Exchange Program with Blythewood High School and the Queensland College of Wine and Tourism in Australia where he visited in the summer of 2012. Mr. Turner retired in September 2012 and spent some time traveling and enjoying time with his family and friends.
He was a man committed to excellence and taught his students it’s possible to overcome obstacles and succeed with hard work and dedication. Mr. Turner wanted his students to know that he truly loved teaching them, to help them to develop their skills to reach their goals in the food service industry. His time teaching brought him joy, both professionally and personally, and he had wonderful memories of working with the Blythewood Culinary Team. He enjoyed getting to know them better as they traveled to the various competitions.
He loved and appreciated his family, which also includes his Blythewood High School family, the Blythewood Community and St. David’s Episcopal Church family. It is their love and support that helped to sustain him during his courageous and dignified battle with cancer. Mr. Turner’s positive spirit and deep faith in God was an example to us all. He lived life to its fullest, every day, long before his diagnosis. It is a legacy that will live on in those who knew him and loved him.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Kenneth Alan Turner and Carol Starr Turner and grandparents, Lt. Col. Kenneth O. Starr, Helen K. Turner and William H. Turner.
In addition to his wife and daughters, he is survived by his grandmother, Katharine (Kay) Starr; stepmother, Susan F. Turner; father and mother-in-law, Francis T. and Barbara S. Brown; twin brother, Kenneth D. Turner (Lorrie); sisters, Stephanie Turner Brown (Dwayne), Stacey Turner Thompson (Bobby) and Susan Turner Walker (David); aunts and uncles, Ellen Turner Bohon (Bruce), Marion Clyde Turner (Mardi) and Kenneth Kirch Starr, Sr. (Barbara); sister-in-law, Mandi Brown Holzbach (David); and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, at Kornegay & Moseley, 4645 Hard Scrabble Road, Columbia. A memorial service will be held at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, at St. David’s Episcopal Church.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the William C. Turner Culinary Scholarship through Blythewood High School Education Foundation or St. David’s Episcopal Church.
The family would like to thank the the faculty and students of Blythewood High School, Dr Chaudhry Mushtaq and Tami Cooper, RN with SC Oncology Associates, Cheryl Evans, RN with Intramed Plus, the staff of Gentiva Home Health, Shellie Webb, RN of Palmetto Health Hospice and the staff of the eighth floor at Palmetto Baptist Hospital for their generosity and compassionate care.
Please leave online condolences for the family at Kornegay & Moseley.
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