Marjorie June Riggins Turney


Marjorie June Riggins Turney, 94, died in the evening of June 13, 2020, while she was surrounded by family in her daughter’s home in Sugar Grove, Pennsylvania.

Marjorie was born in Mt. Jewett, Pennsylvania, on April 7, 1926, to Earl and Leona Johnson Riggins.

Growing up during the Great Depression, her childhood was filled with love and laughter, living among her mother’s large Swedish family and father’s family from New Jersey. Margie’s path in life changed when her family moved to Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania, which is where she graduated from high school. Her yearbook message beneath her picture states that “Margie is our singing star and has many friends near and far.” Margie also enjoyed playing the piano and writing beautiful poetry.

After high school, Margie worked as a telephone operator on the switchboards from the 1940s and enjoyed working as the supervisor for a “gang of gals” who worked for Bell Telephone.

Marjorie met the love of her life, David Joseph Turney, after he had returned from serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II. They married on Dec. 23, 1950, in Cumberland, Maryland. They built a home on family land in Belle Vernon, where they raised their children: David Richard Turney and Lee Ann Turney Russell. They enjoyed living life as outdoor enthusiasts and were deeply connected to outdoor sports and recreational activities. Margie especially enjoyed exploring the hills, lakes and rivers of Pennsylvania, the waterways of Florida and the Florida Keys with her family. She and her family belonged to the Belle Vernon First Presbyterian Church and they participated in a variety of activities, clubs and organizations within the Belle Vernon community.

She was a loving Grandma and Mormor to her grandchildren. She shared her love of music and poetry with them, and taught them how to sing, think, laugh and love. She deeply loved her family. Her porch was always filled with family and friends. Everyone enjoyed “porch sitting” with Margie. Marjorie spent her later years wintering in Bonita Springs, Florida, with her daughter, Lee Ann and family, and enjoyed the spring, summer and fall in the countryside of Sugar Grove. She said, “the joys of her life were now simple.” She loved to watch the cows and horses in the pastures and to visit with her Amish neighbors. She said, “I know that God placed me here so that I could get a little closer to him and heaven’s gate.”

Marjorie is survived by her daughter, Lee Ann Turney Russell and her husband, Robert of Sugar Grove. She is also survived by her son’s wife, Kathleen Mullen Turney (David) of Monongahela, Pennsylvania; her grandchildren: Aubrey Russell (Lindsay Pullan) of Jamestown, New York, Cassandra Turney Solomon (Richard) of Charleroi, Pennsylvania, Kaylee Turney Gmutza (Brian) of Belle Vernon, and Ryan Russell (Amanda) of Erie; great- grandchildren: Maddie Solomon and Branden Gmutza; and nieces, nephews, cousins, and dear friends.

Marjorie was preceded in death by her “Davids.” Her husband, David Joseph Turney, died in June 2007 and her son, David Richard Turney died in October 2016. In addition, Marjorie was also preceded in death by her mother and father, Earl and Leona Johnson Riggins; her brother, Richard Steelman Riggins; and sister, Patricia Riggins VanNus.

Marjorie’s private graveside service and interment was held at The Belle Vernon Cemetery.

As an expression of sympathy, memorial donations for her love of the outdoors may be made in the name of Marjorie Turney to the Keystone Elk Country Alliance, PO Box 315, Benezette, PA, 15821, or; memorial donations for her love of music and theater may be made in the name of Marjorie Turney to the Lucille Ball Little Theatre of Jamestown, 18 East Second Street, Jamestown, NY, 14701, or

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