‘Mayor of Germantown’ dies, loss felt by Berlin community
(April 7, 2017) Former Berlin Shoe Box owner Jesse Turner passed away on Friday, following an apparent battle with cancer.
The Accomack, Virginia native operated the iconic shop in the downtown area for several decades. He worked in the industry – in the town – since the late 1940s.
His influence, however, was more than business owner and cobbler. People in the community fondly referred to him “The Mayor of Germantown.”
Turner was honored by the Berlin Town Council and by members of the community at separate ceremonies following his retirement in February. He was born in 1930.
Berlin Mayor Gee Williams reacted to the news on Monday, saying, “Shock is an understatement.”
“I’m just so thankful that the mayor and council and the entire community got a chance to express and show our appreciation to Jesse and to let him know how much he meant to us,” Williams said. “I wish he had had a longer retirement, but he certainly had a wonderful life in all the classic terms.”
“He will be long, long remembered,” Williams added.
Family friend Gregory Purnell said he had lost “Masonic Brother,” and the entire community had lost a good friend.
“This community will always remember him as a true servant,” Purnell said. “Jesse was one of those once-in-a-lifetime figures. He strived for excellence, and sitting at his feet taught me much about being of service to our community in particular and mankind in general.
“He will create a gap that will require more than any one man to fill,” Purnell added. “His life was synergistic – he was a man without peer.”
A service is scheduled for Saturday at 11 a.m. at the First Baptist Church in Salisbury. A viewing will be held there from 5-8 p.m. on Friday.