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L. Earl Turner

Dateline: Landrum, South Carolina

L. Earl Turner passed away at his beloved rural home, Hillbrook, in Landrum, SC on December 22, 2023.

Born in Clinton, S.C., on October 13, 1949, he was the son of Esther Inez Phillips Turner and Earl Dorsey Turner. Earl was preceded in death by his parents and brother Leslie Randolph Turner (Cathie).

After graduating from Clinton High School in 1967, Earl served in the U.S. Marine Corps Third Force Service Regiment at Camp Hansen, Okinawa during the Vietnam War. He then earned degrees in English and Comparative Literature from the University of South Carolina in 1974 and 1978. A wanderer and wonderer at heart, Earl traveled the world playing music and sports, writing, and embracing life’s hills and valleys; he recorded stories of his journeys in a yet unpublished novel and in many poems and short stories. Earl later put his writing talents to work as an English language instructor at the University of Grenoble in Grenoble, France; an English Composition instructor for the U.S. Navy aboard the U.S.S. Semmes; an English teacher in Greenwood and Summerton SC; and a journalist in Clinton, Laurens, and Columbia, SC. He organized the first annual Pride of the Piedmont Pop Jubilee Festival in the early 1980’s, bringing musicians like Doc Watson and the Red Clay Ramblers to the town of Laurens, SC. He eventually settled in Columbia, SC in 1991 where he worked at the Department of Health and Environmental Control until the early 2000s. After transitioning to work for the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, he retired in 2010.

Earl had a great love for music. He was a gifted songwriter and musician, writing at least 100 original songs in his lifetime. His first gig came when he was six years old, performing the Elvis classic “Love Me Tender” at the local Moose Lodge with his Dad accompanying him on the piano. He played guitar and harmonica in solo acts throughout the 1970’s-1990’s and started the original Hummingtree Band in 1986. After a long hiatus, the band reunited in 2010 and played together until their last practice in December of 2023. They have performed 110 shows in 3 states (SC, NC, TN) and their online videos have been viewed over 7000 times. Earl has recorded two solo albums and one with the Hummingtree Band. As band member Randy Wykoff said, “He brought beauty and authenticity to every song and performance. No gimmicks, no tricks, no faux virtuosity. He embodied the Hummingtree Band’s motto ‘Folk Music for the 21st Century.'”

Earl was a thoughtful, talented, precious man who was forever generous and hospitable to anyone who crossed his path. He was a force of love. He will be remembered for his strength, kindness, humility, positivity, encouragement, love of nature, and generosity. Earl’s spirit will be cherished by daughter Kindel Turner Nash (Otha Malik); grandchildren Anisa, Taj, Salim, and Karim Nash; sisters Marsha Turner Zeigler, Laura Anita Turner Bell (William), and Lana Lee Turner McCurry (Chuck); stepdaughters Kim Huffman and Amy Pate; beloved companion Ann Dudley; many cousins, nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews; and countless lifetime friends and adopted family members, all of whom he adored.

Burial will take place at 12:00 Noon on Saturday, January 6, 2023 at Evergreen Memorial Gardens in Landrum. SC. A gathering of family and friends will follow at Bodega Noir, 102 W. Coleman St, Landrum, SC from 1:00 – 3:00PM.

In lieu of flowers, please offer gifts and good deeds to others in tribute to the way Earl devoted himself purely and fully to encouraging others to be their best selves.

Online condolences may be left at

Petty Funeral Home & Crematory
Landrum, SC

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