Clarence Lee Turnipseed Jr.
Published 5:09 pm Wednesday, September 7, 2005
Clarence Lee Turnipseed, Jr., a much-decorated Army officer who landed in Normandy on D-Day, then rose to statewide prominence in banking and business, died Sept. 3, at his home, two weeks before his 91st birthday.
Services were held at First United Methodist Church of Brewton Tuesday with the Rev. Thomas Butts and the Rev. Dr. Ed Glaize officiating.
Born Sept. 18, 1914, in Union Springs, he grew up in Georgiana. He earned his Bachelor of Chemical Engineering and Bachelor of Agricultural Engineering from Auburn University in 1935. After graduation he began his career with the U.S. Soil Conservation Service.
He began his banking career in 1950 at the First National Bank of Tuscaloosa. He moved to Brewton in 1964 to join Citizens-Farmers and Merchants Bank. In 1968, he was elected president and chief executive officer of the First National Bank, Brewton.
He was elected president of the Alabama Bankers in 1962 and as Alabama vice president of the American Bankers Association from 1975-77, and held various offices in the Alabama and American Bankers Associations. He was named Alabama's Small Business Advocate for the year of 1976, served on the Region IV Birmingham Advisory Council of the Small Business Administration. He was a director of the Birmingham Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta beginning in 1973.
He was also active in civic and religious affairs in Tuscaloosa and Brewton, including the First United Methodist Church of Brewton, the Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce and the Brewton Rotary Club.
Mr. Turnipseed, commissioned as a Army second lieutenant in 1935, served on active duty from August 1941 to December 1945. He was a battery commander and battalion staff officer of the 42nd Field Artillery Battalion of the Fourth Infantry. Capt. Turnipseed landed on Utah Beach in Normandy on D-Day June 6, 1944, and went on to fight in the Battle of the Bulge.
He later served as a colonel in the plans division, 87th Maneuver Area Command. In 1950 he graduated from the U.S. Command and Command and General Staff.
Among the honors Col. Turnipseed received while on active duty and as an active reservist were a Bronze Star with two oak leaf cluster, the Army Commendation Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one silver service star and one bronze arrowhead and the Armed Forces Reserves Medal with two ten-year devices. He was also made an honorary member of the old 31st Dixie Division.
Col. Turnipseed's last assignment in the Active Reserve was Commander, 87th Maneuver Area Detachment in Birmingham and instructor in the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Dorothy Warren Turnipseed, and his mother and father, Rebecca Dillard Turnipseed and Clarence Lee Turnipseed, Sr.
Mr. Turnipseed is survived by one son, Clarence Lee Turnipseed III of Brewton; three daughters Rebecca T. B. (Bill) Quinn of Huntsville, Dorothy T. (Doug) Svendson of Falls Church, Va., and Margaret T. (George) McCormick of Gulf Breeze, Fla.; three grandchildren, Matt (Aimee) Davidson of New Orleans, George Robert McCormick, Jr., and William Warren McCormick of Gulf Breeze, and one brother William Dillard (Grace) Turnipseed of Baton Rouge.
Williams Memorial Chapel Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements. Pallbearers were the Turnipseed grandsons and sons-in-law, Bernie Sellers, Joe Watson, Luke O'Neill and Carl McInnish, Jr. The honorary pallbearers were Dr. Jonathon Southworth, Phillip Parker, Mitchell Neese, Bill Smith, Joe Gordy, Bruce McCreary, Dr. Keith Miller, Joe Sowell, Charles Northcutt and the past and present officers and directors of BankTrust in Brewton.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the First United Methodist Church, 820 Belleville Avenue, Brewton, Ala., 36426 and the Salvation Army Katrina Disaster Relief Fund.