Dear League members,
It is with great sadness that I share the news that LWVUS President Dr. Deborah Ann Turner passed away Sunday morning.
This unexpected news has struck all of us at the LWVUS Board and staff with profound grief, and I know you all are feeling it too. We are grieving together as a League community for our beloved leader and friend.
You can read our official statement on LWV.org here.
A fearless advocate for voting rights and women’s rights, Dr. Turner devoted her life’s work to impacting meaningful changes in the lives of voters across the nation. As the 20th president of our 103-year-old organization, Dr. Turner played a pivotal role in fighting for a more fair and representative union while uplifting racial equity in the League’s mission work.
Dr. Turner first joined the League of Women Voters of Metro Des Moines in 2010 and later served as president until 2015. At the same time, she also served on the LWV Iowa board as the state vice president from 2011 to 2015, becoming co-president in 2015. In her dual roles with state and local Leagues, Deborah devoted her leadership to strengthening relationships between local leagues and the state Board.
Dr. Turner practiced gynecologic oncology for 35 years, working directly with patients and teaching students and trained residents in university programs across the Midwest. She participated in a dozen international medical missions and served as the associate medical director of Planned Parenthood of North Central States.
In the midst of this enormous loss, we are ensuring the great work she started moves forward. The LWVUS Board met Sunday night in accordance with our bylaws, and Sania Irwin assumed the role of Board president. Additionally, I was scheduled to step down as CEO after February 2; however, in light of Dr. Turner’s passing, I have agreed to stay on staff an extra week to help in the transition. As was already planned, Alma Couverthie and Kelly McFarland will take over as interim co-CEOs while the Board performs their search for a new CEO.
You may send condolences electronically to email@example.com and in writing to the national office at 1233 20th Street NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC, 20036. All messages will be shared with Dr. Turner’s family.
The League of Women Voters staff, Board, and Leagues from across the country mourn her loss, and our thoughts are with Dr. Turner’s family during this difficult time. We are committed to honoring her legacy by continuing to uphold our values to empower voters and build a stronger, more inclusive democracy. As Dr. Turner always said, “We will keep on keeping on!”
Virginia Kase Solomón