Jane Turner

December 2, 1932 ~ November 10, 2022 (age 89) 89 Years Old



Jane Swanger Turner passed away peacefully on Thursday November 10, 2022 at Whitney Center in Hamden CT, with her family by her side, three weeks before her 90th birthday.   


Jane Swanger was born in Washington D.C. on December 2nd, 1932. She lived in Bethesda Maryland with her mother and sister, attending Bethesda Chevy Chase High School, then Denison University, where she graduated in 1954. Out of college, Jane worked for the Department of Navy in personnel and sang in the National Cathedral Choir.


In 1958, Jane married Henry Ashby Turner Jr. and they moved to New Haven that same year. They lived together in New Haven for the next 50 years, until his passing in 2008.  Henry was the Stille Professor of History at Yale, teaching and writing about Modern German history. 


Upon her move to New Haven, Jane worked in the Yale University Biology Lab and joined the Church of Redeemer Choir where she sang Sunday services and concerts for the next 40 years. Her favorite piece to perform (and listen to) was Handel’s Messiah.



Henry and Jane raised their family in the East Rock neighborhood of New Haven. Jane was an active advocate for local politicians, including New Haven alderman races. She worked with neighbors and local officials to organize children’s summer programs in East Rock Park. Jane was also part of a community effort that successfully blocked the construction of a I-91 highway extension that would have ruined East Rock Park.


Jane joined SAGE Services in the 1980s, helping run Project Home Share to match caregivers and published the newsletter. She was a constant advocate for elderly services and housing, working with the Connecticut Coalition on Aging, and lobbied the state government on housing and eldercare issues. 


Jane and Henry moved into Yale’s Davenport College in 1981, where Henry was Master and together they hosted many events for students, faculty, parents and guests.  These included hosting Thanksgiving for international students, letting students cook on their own during university strikes, and hosting college guests including Mr. Rogers, Bonnie Raitt, and German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt.


After Henry’s passing in 2008, Jane moved to Whitney Center where she comfortably enjoyed her last 12 years.


Jane loved to swim. She took long ocean swims in the chilly waters of Maine every year while on family vacations and swam from early June until October at the family house in Branford CT.  Jane also loved to cook, always finding just the right ingredients from all the local New Haven shops.


Jane also loved to travel. In the 1950s she and her sister Ann went to Europe by boat, meeting up with Henry in Germany. Jane joined Henry’s many trips for research throughout Germany and Europe, including spending some time in German archives on their honeymoon. Jane and Henry lived in their favorite city, Berlin, Germany for many extended periods over the years. Together with Henry, Jane traveled to Egypt, Syria, China, India, Japan, the Caribbean, Puerto Rico and all over the USA.


Above all, Jane loved her family.  Jane is survived by her sister Ann S. Ling, her children Bradley J. Turner, Sarah Turner Ryan, and Matthew W. Turner, their spouses Felicity Williams, John Ryan, Abby Jo Sigal, her grandchildren Nate Ryan, Josh Turner, Molly Ryan, Lila Turner, Henry Turner, Ruby Turner and Sasha Turner, her nephews Paul Ling and Gordon Ling, niece Helen Ling, their spouses Kay Ling, Katie Ling and Niamh Cawley and their children Shannon Ling, Thomas Ling, Brendan Cawley, Devin Cawley, Clare Cawley, Ellis Cawley, Catherine Ling, Charlotte Ling, and James Ling.


A memorial service and burial will be held at a later time. 



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