January 6, 2022

Richard D. “Dick” Turner

Richard “Dick” Turner, age 88, of Lincoln passed away on Wednesday, January 5, 2022. He was born in 1933 on a farm outside Fairbury, Nebraska, and was a graduate of Fairbury High School in 1951. He served in the Army during the Korean War from 1953-1955. He married Luci Shultz, also of Fairbury, after they met at the local Veterans Office where she worked. He graduated with his BA in Philosophy & Religion from Wesleyan University, and then received his Masters of Divinity from Boston University’s Theological Seminary in 1963 where he studied under the great theologian and civil rights leader, Howard Dean Thurman; a lifelong influence for Dick.

He took his charge with the Nebraska United Methodist Conference in 1963 where he successfully served as a pastor for multiple United Methodist churches across the state. He finished his career as the Executive Director of the United Methodist Conference. With every move they made with the church there was always a grassroots cause. He provided a safe haven for displaced youth during the Vietnam war, spoke up for persecuted students in rural high schools and defended the rights of the LGBTQ community well ahead of its time. His committed work with Native American tribes on issues of fairness and inclusion fostered a bridge across cultural divides. His work with the Great Plains rural organizing project and the formation of Omaha Together One Community helped both farmers and urban leaders who were struggling economically. A lover of poetry, music and the arts, he was an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox, the Nebraska Cornhuskers, and Elvis Presley (Who he saw live at the Lincoln FieldHouse in 1956!)

A devoted husband, father, and grandfather, his surviving family are humbled and honored by his loving memory. Preceded in death by his parents Samuel and Rose Turner, his brother, Dave and sister, Linda. He is survived by his wife, Luci of 63 years, brothers Jim and Tom, daughter, Laurie (Dave) McDonald, sons, Paul (Paula) Turner, and John (Melissa) Turner, 6 grandchildren, Ashley, Lindsey, Sam, Michael, Elizabeth, and Simon, 4 great-grandchildren, Harper, Carson, Lucas, Rhodes, and numerous nieces, nephews, and friends.

All are welcome for the celebration of Dick’s life held 2:00pm Saturday, January 8th, 2022 at St Paul United Methodist Church, 1144 M St., Lincoln, NE. Masking and social distancing will be required.  The service will also be live streamed at:

Donations on behalf of Dick can be made to The Institute for Public Leadership, 3647 Lafayette Avenue, Omaha, NE 68131-1363 or online at to support broad-based organizing in Nebraska

Flowers and cards can be sent to Wyuka Funeral Home, 3600 O St, Lincoln 68510


  1. Dick was such a great friend and mentor for me all the years of my ministry. High Plains Native American Consultation trips and meetings,. Annual Conference planning, baptism of his father, and one very special trip to Iowa.
    There isn’t room to list all the things Dick and Luci meant to Marvin and me. His contributions to social justice have enriched life for us all. God blessed us with his life and now he blesses God in another life.

  2. We knew Dick when he tested our dairy cows for the pounds of milk they produced and the percent of butterfat in the milk. He played with my sister and I in the haymow. He encouraged my calling into the ministry. One time Ann & I visited Lucy and Dick at Aurora on our way to speak about Zimbabwe at a small church near there.

  3. Dick was the best! I was one of many pastors he mentored, and I have learned so much from his example and have been honored by his friendship. These are some of the qualities I remember well:

    He was always affirming and building up others.

    He was always connecting and relating, bringing people together, not afraid to try something new and creative.

    He worked to make ministry happen and keep happening. I can’t remember how many times it seemed we would have to sunset some great ministry because it did not look like there were any resources to continue it, and Dick would give his famous “There are three pools of money …” speech ($ available now in the conference budget, $ that would be available, and $ in the future planning). And BOOM! It would happen!

    He was genuine and always approachable. His was among the best and most gracious hearts I have ever known. If you didn’t like Dick Turner, then there was something wrong with YOU!

    I have so many wonderful memories of Dick: my favorite is from Louisville KY at General Conference, I was a brand, new pastor trying to navigate conscience and church politics for the first time, when Dick bought me a cigar and my first mint julip. He and Denny shared patiently about the ecclesiastical strategy and process with my ignorant and arrogant younger self.

    Lucy, you have the love of all your friends in this weird, wonderful circle of pastors, lay leaders from when the Nebraska Conference was at its best, and we will never forget all that he and you did to make it so! Thank you for building up the man who built up so many of us… and the Church.

    With Love and Gratitude,

    Tony Dawson
    Fremont UMC

  4. Lucy and family, thank you for sharing Dick with us. He was indeed a great friend, mentor, and colleague in ministry for many years. I first met him in the Spring of 1975, when he was at St. Paul Benson and Chair of the Board of Ordained ministry, and our careers intertwined throughout the years.

    When Carol was asked to become a DS in 1985, I called Dick, since he was nearby at Grand Island. Since Carol would be my DS, I asked him if he would be a “second” DS for me if necessary. Of course he said, “Yes.”

    We worked together on the Great Plains Organizing Project, as well as many other things.

    It was good to see the two of you walking in our neighborhood when you moved to Old Farm Court, and we still miss looking out the window and seeing you.

    We are grateful to God for all the many ways that Dick blessed our lives, and gave wise counsel, and was just a good friend.

    Didn’t the Turners have the corner on the world market for old Fiats while you lived in Beatrice?

  5. Dearest Luci and family….Tom and I are forever grateful for the significant presence of DIck in our lives. He exuded unconditional love, saw the best in everyone and specifically saw potential in us that gave us opportunity to spread our wings.

    Back in the 70’s, Dick encouraged Tom to get training in community development through the church conference which still informs him. And as a religion major fresh out of NWU, Dick (and you) offered me the opportunity to do some training through the church conference as well. It was progressive at the time, probably would still be considered that today. It was a program we offered to churches around the state for middle schoolers and their parents on human sexuality and how to facilitate healthy conversations. That program continues to inform the work I do as a marriage and family therapist today.

    Luci, you have always been a beacon of love and support. We are so grateful to have known you both all these years and of course your amazing family. The legacy of your love lives on in these incredible children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Our deepest love and condolences to you all.

  6. Lucy and Family,

    Our hearts and prayers are with you. Dick will be greatly missed. We’ll never forget the day we arrived in Lincoln, Nebraska on March 26th, 1983 , all the way from India. Baldeo was to serve The Kenesaw and Holstein churches. Dick was the superintendent and wrote to us before we even left India. How welcome it made us feel!

    We landed at Lincoln air-port in the midst of heavy snow. Dick had planned to meet us upon our arrival, but due to I-80 being closed, he could not travel from Grand Island. However, he arranged for The Seavers to meet us and stay with them that night. They were such wonderful and gracious hosts also. The following day Dick and The Sidders from Kenesaw church drove to Lincoln to take us to Kenesaw. All of this brings back wonderful memories of love and care.

    Dick and Lucy have always been very hospitable and kind to us….that will ALWAYS stay with us. Working with Dick was always a great pleasure. And we are thankful to God for having blessed us with his leadership and friendship.

    Our children join us in expressing the same feelings for Dick and join us in sending our prayers to the family.

    • Dick was our DS when we mived to Hastings Grace associate parsonage. I appreacite all his work with various groups throughout the conference. I appreciate Luci and our time at Parsonage Connection Retreats.

  7. Turner Family – Dick was a great man and yours is a wonderful family. Many memories for you to hold on to. Deepest condolences.

  8. I have so many good memories of Dick, most while he was in his role of Executive Director of the UMC, Nebraska Conference. As a young lay person wanting to contribute to the success of the UMC and the Nebraska Conference, he was so welcoming, patient and encouraging. He really helped me learn about the work we were doing together.

    I know he spent endless hours in this work. He was a true servant of Christ. Thank you for sharing him with us. Blessings to you in his death. He will live on through you, through your stories and memories shared. Wishing you comfort and peace as you navigate the days ahead.

  9. Dear Luci, Tami and I are saddened by Dick’s death. He was always such a supportive friend to the Saint Paul music program and the Chancel Choir. I so much appreciated our vibrant and meaningful conversations. We will keep you and your family in our thoughts. Take care.

  10. To paraphrase a question from Scripture, “Can anything good come out of Endicott?” The not so surprising answer is “Yes.” We see this often in Scripture, how persons began in lowly, despised places, but God chose them and used them in great ways. God certainly did this by calling Dick Turner to a life of service in the ministry of the Church.

    I will be forever grateful for Dick’s encouraging words to me (over coffee!) to persevere in fulfilling God’s call in my life. I will be forever thankful for my ministry with the Endicott United Methodist Church and for Dick’s parents Sam and Rose, who were faithful members there. I will be forever challenged by Dick’s witness to live out my faith in love and service to any of my neighbors.

    Luci, love and prayers for you and all your family in this time of grief. May God strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand.

    Thank you for sharing the beautiful service for Dick online.

  11. Rev Turner was my favorite pastor at St Paul Methodist Church in Omaha Ne in the 70’s. Sorry for your loss.

  12. My late husband, Rev. LaRoy Seaver, highly respected Dick as a colleague and a good friend. After LaRoy and I were married in Dec. 1981, I soon learned to appreciate both Dick and Lucy and their beautiful example to all who knew them. I mourn with you, Lucy and family, but I know you cherish the memories you have of Dick and of his life, well lived!


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