Laura Jo Turner Dugas, 84, died on Dec. 26, 2021.
She is survived by her brothers Cal Turner Jr. and Steve (Judy) Turner; son, Steve (Lynn) Dugas; grandchildren Brittnie Dugas, Will Dugas, Laura Nicole Dugas, Tyler Dugas and Christian Dugas; step-granddaughter, Kelly Mays; nieces Katherine Sikora and Laura Ann Turner; nephews Robert Wayne Dugas, Jay Turner, Cal Turner III and John Weaver; and brother-in-law, Manuel (Linda) Dugas.
She was preceded in death by her husband of almost 60 years, Wayne Foster Dugas; sons Foster and Bruce Dugas; parents Laura Katherine and Cal Turner; sister, Betty Turner Campbell; sister-in-law, Margaret Turner; brother-in-law, Don Weaver; and nephews Van Dugas and Warren Weaver.
Laura Jo was a daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, matriarch of the Dugas/Turner family, dearest friend and lifelong philanthropist in the truest and most endearing sense of the word. Her commitment to her family was characterized by grace, wisdom and courage. Together with her husband, Wayne, they set a precious example as nurturing and loving parents. Their devotion to Foster, Steve and Bruce was eternal.
The strength of Laura and Wayne’s undeniable love for one another would be tested by great personal tragedy, including the complete loss of their home to Hurricane Opal in 1995, and the death of their son, Bruce, in 2008. In 2017, Wayne’s sudden death, followed less than four months later by Foster’s, were blows Laura Jo could faintly comprehend or bear.
A person of deep, abiding faith, Laura Jo would reflect on how she would often walk along the beach to connect with God and seek His help in sorting out the challenges and misfortune that life can bring. Supported by her faith, family and friends, Laura Jo was remarkably brave when coping with heartbreak.
One place where Laura Jo’s compassion for others shined brightly was in association with the family’s philanthropy. She came by this trait quite naturally, having inherited the heart for it from her parents.
Laura Jo spoke very proudly of how her mother established a nursing scholarship at Western Kentucky University for students from her home town of Scottsville, Kentucky. She was especially proud of the quiet, humble way in which her mother made the gift. Her father expressed his thanks to their home community by donating $1,000 to each church there (95 in all). His doing so was an example to Laura Jo of the pure joy that comes from genuinely serving others.
A year after Laura Katherine’s death, Cal Sr. established a foundation in his wife’s honor to serve as a leading source of private philanthropy in Scottsville and the surrounding Allen County. When Laura Jo was asked what experience had a pivotal impact on her life, she responded, “Being appointed by my father to serve as the very first chairman of the Laura Goad Turner Charitable Foundation.”
A few years ago, Laura Jo passed the mantle of the Foundation’s leadership to her nieces, Katherine Sikora and Laura Anne Turner. Following the example that Laura Jo set, Katherine and Laura Anne have the Foundation poised to extend its philanthropic legacy throughout Southcentral Kentucky.
In the 1990s, Laura Jo and Wayne established the Dugas Family Foundation, later evolving into a total of three family foundations serving the needs of those less fortunate in Florida, Tennessee and Texas. Witnessing the collaborative way in which three generations of her family served together was a great delight to Laura Jo.
When asked how she wanted to be remembered, Laura Jo replied, “As an honest, loving, compassionate person.” The memories that Laura Jo Turner Dugas leaves behind ensure that thinking of her will always bring these priceless qualities to mind.
Visitation will be held at T. W. Crow & Son Funeral Home in Scottsville, Kentucky, Wednesday Dec. 29 from 5- 8 p.m. and Thursday at the church from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. A celebration of Laura Jo Turner Dugas’ life will be held at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 30, at the Scottsville First United Methodist Church at 400 E. Main St. in Scottsville, Kentucky.
In lieu of flowers, Laura asked that contributions be made to the Friends of Dugas Community Park in Scottsville.
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