- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 10, 2005

Gretchen Turner, 86, retired federal worker

Gretchen Grace Kiel Turner, a retired federal worker, died March 7 at her home in Alexandria. She was 86.

Born Aug. 3, 1918, in Orbisonia, Pa., Mrs. Turner graduated from Altoona High School in 1935.

Mrs. Turner had worked in various jobs in Altoona and Pittsburgh for several years when she applied for a civil service secretarial job in 1940. When a telegram informed her about a job at the Commerce Department in the District, she took it immediately and spent the rest of her career in the federal government.

Mrs. Turner first served in the Commerce Department, then the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Her last job was as executive assistant to the director of the Office of Management and Budget during the Ford administration. She went on official visits to Europe and the Middle East, and was awarded a meritorious service medal at the Commerce Department in 1963.

During World War II, Mrs. Turner was “Miss Commerce Department” in the “Government Girls” campaign to sell war bonds and raise money to build fighter planes. Her recollections of the campaign and of Washington during the war are on file as part of the oral history collection in the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress.

In 1944, she married William Fremont Turner, a soldier who had recently returned from Guadalcanal in the South Pacific.

After retirement, she and her husband enjoyed weekends on cruises and in the mountains. Mrs. Turner was a charter member of the Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Alexandria and a longtime volunteer at Mount Vernon Hospital.

She was an avid reader, crossword-puzzle solver and Washington Redskins fan. She also was interested in inside-the-Beltway politics, having met or worked with prominent political figures.

Survivors include her husband, William; a daughter, Gretchen Almstead of Manassas; a son, William Turner of Alexandria; a brother, Frank Kiel of Comfort, Texas; and two grandsons. Her sister, Doris Kay Crook, died in 1983.

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