Sarah Angela Turner
With deep sorrow, the family of Sarah Angela Turner shares that she died on September 30, 2022, at Misericordia Home in Chicago surrounded by her beloved family.
Sarah Angela Turner was born on December 27, 1997, in Milwaukee, the daughter of Jason Turner and Angela Turner (nee Dornbrook). Sarah grew up in Shorewood and Whitefish Bay, attending Atwater and Lake Bluff elementary schools and Shorewood Intermediate School, as well as Whitefish Bay High School. After graduating from high school, Sarah attended college in the Bethesda Program at Concordia University and lived on campus in the dorms.
She worked at Stein’s Garden Center, New Castle Place, and the Milwaukee County Zoo.
Sarah was the youngest of four children. When she was born, her siblings, Alexa, John, and Michael were delighted to meet little Sarah, who was fascinating, unique, and blessed from day one. These four children formed an amazing bond and are forever connected in the deepest places of their hearts.
Sarah’s parents were humbled and overjoyed. From the start, Sarah’s mom became her most loving, strong, and passionate advocate, paving the way for Sarah and making sure she had every opportunity in life. Sarah’s dad was her biggest fan, always reminding Sarah that she was his “number one.” Sarah loved to hear him say it.
Sarah entered this world quietly and gracefully, and her family soon learned that Sarah’s life would be different, filled with experiences that most people never have to face. Congenital heart issues, speech challenges, learning differences, and other unique attributes were part of Sarah’s life from the beginning. Her life experiences became ours, and we learned, grieved, celebrated, and grew right along with her.
Gentle as she was, Sarah soon began to show the world her strength, courage, and tenacity, all of which were bolstered by her sense of faith in God and complete devotion to her family. There was nothing Sarah liked more than when her whole family was together. It mattered little what the family was doing, only that they were doing it together.
Because of her own experiences, Sarah was a champion for the underdog, underserved, and overlooked. Whether it was time spent listening to someone who was sick or lonely, or simply bringing a smile to someone’s face, Sarah had great empathy for those who were vulnerable. And it was not enough for Sarah that she alone had empathy, she challenged others to join her, reminding them to pay attention to those in need.
Sarah was talented. She could play piano by ear, keying complex pieces of music simply by listening to them and replicating the notes on her piano. She also played violin and performed in New York City at Carnegie Hall with her high school orchestra mates. Sarah could sing with beautiful tone and pitch and even performed at Summerfest and the Miramar Theatre in Milwaukee.
A Special Olympics athlete, Sarah was active in bowling, basketball, track, and snowshoeing, having won many awards for her performance. More importantly, she formed deep friendships with her fellow athletes, friendships that exist even today.
In December of 2017, Sarah’s life changed forever. She contracted a virus she could not fight off and sustained a brain injury as a result. Sarah could no longer walk, talk, feed herself, and more. She was completely dependent on others for care. Our family was blessed to have found Misericordia Home in Chicago. Sarah lived at Misericordia and was cared for around the clock by dedicated staff and volunteers.
Once again, her grace and humility did not falter as she lived this new phase in her life’s journey. Even in the absence of being able to use words and gestures, Sarah continued to make a difference. Her Aunt Michele often reminded her, “Sarah, you are changing the world just by living your life, by being yourself. Because of you and your example, people around you learn to have greater empathy. They become more loving and less self interested, and, in turn, the world becomes a better place.”
During this time, Sarah experienced wonderful blessings. In 2019, Sarah became an aunt to Lillian Grace and in 2021 to Cecelia Mae. In addition, Sarah enjoyed the loyal friendship of Matthew Van Erden, her special friend from college, who sent letters and photos every month for the past five years.
She is survived by her father, Jason Turner; her mother, Angela (Kevin Kolb) Turner; siblings, Alexa (Barrett) Warnke-Serwe, John Turner, Michael (Carley) Turner, as well as Kevin’s children, Lara, Michael, and Nina Kolb. Sarah is further survived by her grandparents, Daniel and Debbie Dornbrook; nieces, Lillian Grace and Cecelia Mae Warnke-Serwe; aunts and uncles, Brian and Michele Serwe, Mike and Liz Turner, Nanci Turner Steveson, Craig and Kathleen Turner, Jamie and Dayna Turner, and Ashley Turner, as well as ten Turner cousins and Jennifer Turner. She is also survived by her special caregiver, Michelle Hays and childhood playmates, Mirabel and Silas Hays.
Sarah will be greatly missed and was preceded in death by her devoted grandparents, Rita Mae Luedtke and Mike and Elizabeth Turner.
Visitation for Sarah will be Saturday, Oct. 8, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Feerick Funeral Home, 2025 E. Capitol Drive, Shorewood, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 12 p.m. St. Robert Catholic Church, 4019 N. Farwell Avenue, Shorewood. Eulogy will take place prior to Mass. A celebration of life reception will immediately follow Mass and provide an opportunity for family and friends to gather and share food and stories. Private burial will be held for the family at St. Matthew’s Catholic Cemetery in Campbellsport.
The family extends a special thank you to the nurses and staff of Misericordia Home who have provided exceptional care to Sarah, as well as kind support to our family.
Memorials in honor of Sarah A. Turner may be made to Misericordia Home, 6300 N. Ridge Avenue, Chicago, IL 60660 https://www.misericordia.com.