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Community voices: reflections on the life of Mel Turner

Mel Turner, Citrus Heights, Melvin Turner
Mel Turner, a sitting Citrus Heights councilman and former mayor, passed away on April 20. // Image courtesy, City of Citrus Heights

Following the death of Citrus Heights councilman and former mayor Mel Turner on April 20, many who knew him have offered reflections and statements about his life. He is remembered as a listener, a mentor, a friend, and a caring leader — as well as for his deep voice and beaming smile.

A compilation of recent statements from city leaders and community members is included below. Service arrangements have not yet been publicly announced.

Jeff Slowey, mayor: “Our city mourns the loss of Councilmember Mel Turner, a dedicated public servant throughout his life. Mel has been a tremendous leader in this community and deserves much credit for helping improve the quality of life in Citrus Heights. He will be deeply missed by his city colleagues, our city’s residents, business owners, key stakeholders, and staff. On behalf of the city council and the entire city team, I want to extend our deepest sympathy to Mel’s family and friends. Mel loved serving the people of this community. He was an actively engaged city council member and served the people of Citrus Heights with great pride.”

Jeannie Bruins, city council: “This is a really sad day for Citrus Heights. Mel’s impact on our city will be felt for years to come. More than that we’ve all lost a really good friend. I’ve sat beside Mel in a lot of different capacities and I think the thing he loved the most was working with the youth. He just loved kids and we see the result of that – he was on the initial police activities league board, he personally spearheaded getting a [club] at the high school for youth leadership. His hand was in a lot of things so we just all share in our grief. We love his family and will continue to lift him up. He was most known for his big smile and love for the youth… he was gentle and he led from the heart.”

Chris Boyd, city manager: “Mel was a great council member, but more than that he was a great friend to all of us at city hall and throughout the whole community… We’re going to miss Mel greatly. He’s one of those leaders, who, when he’s not here anymore, leaves a giant hole in our community leadership. He believed in the importance of mentoring up-and-coming leaders in the community, including youth as well… He cared a lot about the community… you could tell he was listening and cared about our city very, very much.”

Sue Frost, former councilwoman and current Sacramento county supervisor: “Mel was a really responsible leader in our community. He didn’t just think about the present, he was always thinking about the future of our city. He started the Shadow Program, which helped youth… He was a leader who was building toward tomorrow and he really cared about Citrus Heights. He will go on to live in our hearts and in our community. He is a part of the heart of Citrus Heights. When I got involved in neighborhood activities, Mel was the one who asked if I would consider running for city council. He basically opened a door that changed my life. He saw something in me that I didn’t see… Mel was a great mentor for me. He will be missed by all.”

Community comments from Facebook:
“Mel was one of the most genuinely upbeat people I’ve ever had the privilege to know. He was the inspiration behind many new and innovative programs in Citrus Heights. He was warm and friendly to everyone. It is so sad that no cure could be found for his cancer. I will miss him a lot!” – Jessica M.

“My dad will be greatly missed. He left quite a legacy and large shoes to fill. But he cannot be replaced.” – Talaya M.

“I am so sad to learn this, we met him several times, even worked with him while volunteering with Rotary. Rest in peace you good man.” – Aimee P.

“My son and I will never forget the great experience we had backpacking with Mel in the Sierras. He will be greatly missed.” – Scott M.

“So sad! Mel Turner was a good honorable man and it was a pleasure to have him on our city’s council. My heart goes out to his family.” – Will S.

“Wow, my kids met him through the PAL program. Good thoughts to the family.” – Lorraine N.

“What an inspiring individual who served his community with great honor.” – Chela C.

Want to share your thoughts about Mel Turner? Click here to submit a letter to the editor for publication.




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