Rex Allwinn Turner Jr.
Gospel Preacher, University President, Visionary
Release From Amridge University
August 11, 2008
Dr. Rex A. Turner, Jr., president of Amridge University formerly known as Southern Christian University, diedMonday at the age of 62.
Dr. Turner spent almost all of his life in Montgomery involved in some phase of Christian education. He was educated at Alabama Christian Academy, Alabama Christian College, and Alabama Christian School of Religion. He earned his master's degree at Troy University and his doctorate at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa in the area of higher education, writing a dissertation on the subject of tenure.
From the time he was 18 years old, Dr. Turner preached in area congregations of the churches of Christ. Some of his appointments have been at Mt. Olive, Ozark, Clanton, as well as in Montgomery. In addition to preaching, Dr. Turner was a teacher. He taught history and Bible at Alabama Christian College until he joined the Alabama Christian School of Religion (ASCR) faculty in 1975. A year later, he served as Dean of Students and then was appointed Vice-president of Administrative Affairs-an office he held until 1987 when he was named ACSR president.
Dr. Turner followed in the footsteps of his father, Dr. Rex A. Turner, Sr., who was the founder of what has become Alabama Christian Academy, Faulkner University, and Amridge University. Dr. Turner, Jr. became president of ACSR at the time the school moved to its present location at I-85 and Taylor Road next to Auburn Montgomery. Regional accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools was earned in December 1989. ACSR was the first graduate school of religion to be accredited in the state of Alabama.
In order to clarify the nature and levels of its educational programs to the general public, ACSR changed its name to Southern Christian University in October of 1991. In 1993, SCU began its Doctor of Ministry program and broadened the scope of its MS to include an emphasis in counseling which enabled students to meet course requirements for state licensing. Under Dr. Turner's leadership, those programs have matured so that today the University offers Ph.D. degrees in biblical studies, professional counseling, and in marriage and family therapy. The University is the only graduate school in Alabama to offer the Ph.D. in biblical studies and in marriage and family therapy.
As a visionary, Dr. Turner understood the future of education using technology to deliver instruction to students wherever they were. The first technological phase was a videotaped-based distance learning program. By 1998, technology had developed so that the curriculum was delivered on line and the U S Department of Education named SCU one of fifteen national demonstration sites because of its excellence in offering distance education.
To reflect the international reach of the University, the Board of Regents changed the name to Amridge University in January 2008. Students have been enrolled in all 50 states and 20 foreign countries.
Dr. Turner was preceded in death by his parents, Rex A. Turner, Sr. and Opal Shipp Turner, and his sister, Jackie Turner Long. He is survived by his wife, Barbara Parker Turner; a son Dr. Michael Turner, and his wife Julie; a daughter, Laina Costanza and her husband, Michael; and a granddaughter, and four grandsons all of Montgomery; and one sister, Mary Hargis, Nashville.
-Official Statement Released From Amridge University, as reported from http://www.wsfa.com Posted August 11, 2008
Attending The Funeral
It was an honor to visit Montgomery, the 14th of August, 2008. This was the date of the funeral for Rex A. Turner, Jr., held at the Leak Funeral Home. I travelled down with David Wheeler, long-time friend to the Turner family, and elder of the Buford congregation where I preach. We arrived at about 9:45am. Already the crowd overwhelmed the modest sized funeral home. To greet the family, people were in a line that extended out into the parking area. Upon arrival in the overfilled chapel, people were already standing around the walls. Many gospel preachers, educators, and church leaders were in attendance. It was a pleasure to visit with the family briefly, and to extend our sympathy. David and I were able to find locations outside the chapel, allowing us to hear what was going on, but not able to see.
The first speaker to address the audience was long-time
friend of the family, and board member of Amridge, Raymond Elliott. His
tribute was most impressive, as he called upon his memory of both Rex
and Barbara from an early age. His words showed a genuine love and
respect for the long life of service given to the work of preaching the
gospel, and presiding and leader of Amridge.
Second, Roger Dill, good friend, and Chairman of the Board of Regents, spoke on the future of the church, and the vision that Rex Turner had for it in the area.
Third, Demar Elam, dear friend, and Director of Missions at Amridge University, spoke of the vision Turner had toward world missions. Elam rehearsed some of the accomplishments and plans Turner had for reaching the lost all over the world. The last few words were of personal remembrances of Turner's love for Demar and Dixie Elam's son, John, who has Downs Syndrome.
Fourth, was Dr. Douglas Patterson, Vice President of Academic Affairs, who spoke of the health of Amridge University, and the vision Rex Turner had for the future of the school.
Last, Turner's son, Dr. Michael Turner, thanked the audience for kindnesses shown the family. Deep and sincere affection flowed from his mouth in humble thanks for the life of his father, and the sadness of separation that had taken place with his passing.
The funeral was sweet, kind, and filled with praise for the life of a great man, and for his accomplishments in life. It was a joy to visit with family and friends, but a somber, and humbling occasion. Only eternity will reveal the extent of influence this man of God and his family have and will have on churches of Christ.
Directions To The Grave Of Rex A. Turner Jr.
Rex A. Turner, Jr. is buried in the beautiful Greenwood Cemetery in Montgomery, Alabama. Just east of central Montgomery, take I-85 to Exit 3, Ann St. Exit, and go north. Go five streets to Highland and turn right. Go to the stop sign and you will be facing the entrance to Greenwood Cemetery. Enter the cemetery and go to the top of the hill. As you go up the hill note the section to the right with three crosses in the middle. When topping the hill go into the circle where the grave of the late former Governor and politician of the mid-20th century, George C. Wallace is buried. Take the first right and begin going down the hill (Now the three crosses on on your right). Take the first street to the right. Go to the fourth tree and stop the car. The grave will be in to your right, one of the first markers you come to. Rex is buried in the same plot as that of his father and mother, Rex Sr. and Opal Turner. Other preachers of note buried at Greenwood are J. M. Barnes, Clyde E. Fulmer, and V.P. Black.
N32º 22.298'' x WO 86º 15.797'
or D.d 32.371626,-86.263314
Accuracy To Within 30'
REX A. TURNER, JR.