Blair Turner, 73 of Lexington died April 26

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Blair Pierce Turner, 73, of Lexington died on Monday, April 26, 2021, at his home, comforted by the presence of family, and the care and concern of countless friends.

Born May 10, 1947, he was preceded in death by his parents, John Henderson Turner and Helen Alice Blair Turner; and, by his infant daughters, Glenn Alexandra Turner and Caroline Gay Turner.

He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Vicki Gay Cover Turner; by their son, Glen Currie Blair Turner; by his brother, John Henderson Turner Jr.; and by VMI daughter Erica Ardolino Comparin and her family.

Captain Turner (Virginia Naval Militia) graduated from St. Andrew’s School, Middletown, Del., and received his bachelor’s degree from St. Andrews Presbyterian College in North Carolina.  In 1969, he was commissioned from the U.S. Naval Officer Candidate School, and served a tour of combat duty in Vietnam.  Following his service, he earned master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Florida, with an emphasis on Latin America and the military.

In 1982, Turner joined VMI’s Department of History and Politics.  He won teaching awards in both 1989 and 2013; was faculty adviser and coach for the Rugby Club; and, over his 38-year career, fulfilled numerous personal requests to commission graduating cadets.  He served as head of the Department of History from 1990 until 2004.

In 1989, Captain Turner was part of the team that brought The Journal of Military History to VMI.  The world’s journal of record in English, it remains at VMI to this day.  Turner’s final column for the Journal appeared in the April 2021 issue.

A celebration of Blair’s life is planned for later in the year.

Memorial contributions can be made to Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society (

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