25 Years + 1 Mortuary = A Career of Meaning

Monday, December 1st, marked the 25th Work-iversary of Jeff Turner, our Chief Administrative Officer!

e26252f8-1cf2-43ba-8be9-9d996277ef70Feeling that this event merited more than a celebratory lunch, speech and many “Congratulations,” we decided a blog was in order. We have all pooled together to write about Jeff, share special thoughts, memories and ways he has influenced our lives.

But first, a brief history: Jeff began at O’Connor in 1989 working in the Care Center as a Licensed, Supervising Embalmer. He moved into meeting with families as a Funeral Arranger (a job which he is still credited by some as being “the best in the world”) and over the years has held many other roles like IT guy, HR, and database designer. Jeff’s exceptional abilities were awarded and acknowledged when he was made a partner in the company in 1999. He is the only non-O’Connor family member in our ownership team.

Now, his main responsibilities lie in training our staff, cultivating company health, and finding new ways for our staff to achieve excellence in our field. A teacher at heart and a mortician by trade, Jeff’s patience, loyalty, quiet spirit and compassionate presence has impacted all of us in one way or another.

I would like to take this space to thank Jeff for my job. I would never have dreamed of working at a mortuary if it wasn’t for my dad. His role in the world of funerals and in the lives of the families he served impressed me, piqued my curiosity, and eventually led to my induction into the O’Connor staff. His work ethic, commitment to excellence, and above all, his deep desire to do right are just some of the pieces of his character that I hope to emulate. Thank you for letting me be a part of this place and for being that “father-figure” to so many.

Molly

And now, a few words from the O’Connor Family (Staff):

Greatness is achieved through excellence.”
On many a day, Jeff Turner, my partner and a true leader of O’Connor Mortuary for 25 years, has preached this to our team.

Being a man of his word, Jeff truly walks his talk.
Everyday for 25 years, he has exhibited a commitment to excellence and a servants heart.
Always there and always dependable, he can be counted on for his mentoring and sage advice.
Rarely is the time when he doesn’t provide sound faith based wisdom.
So I thank you, Jeff, for your 25 years of service and for being a great partner and friend.”

Fitz, Chief Financial Officer

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“The thing I value most about Jeff is his wisdom. Jeff always knows the right things to say at exactly the right times. I remember my first introduction to Jeff, I thought to myself he is so Professional and has such grace about him. Something I have strived to be more like everyday. Thank You Jeff for your many words of wisdom : ) !”

Elsa, Funeral Arranger

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“Jeff is always willing to help others on a personal level, no matter how or when.  I’ve called on him a few times to help me with various things outside of work & he has always come thru for me.”

Carrie, Funeral Arranger

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“What I appreciate most about Jeff is his ability to encourage and build up his teammates. When I do not think I am up to a challenge and am doubting myself, he is there with a listening ear and helpful advice. He has a way of making people realize their value. That is a tremendous gift that he shares with all of us.”

– Lori, Director of Care Coordination

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 “I have worked with Jeff for 8 years and in those years I have very much appreciated his manner of compassion. He is just so great with speaking with families. Always speaks the right words that comforts the families he speaks to. There was an event where I witnessed him answer the “What happens when you die” question to an 8 year old as he was waiting to view his mother. I don’t remember exactly what he said but I just remember how impressed I was with his grace. I wish I was as eloquent.”

Joanna, General Manager

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“I have known Jeff since I was 10 years old.  The one thing that stands out to me the most about him is his consistency.  In the 30 plus years I have known him, and the almost 10 years I’ve worked with him, he has never made any drastic changes.  He has just continually improved as a leader and a friend. oxoxoxo”

Karilyn, Administrative Specialist

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” had the opportunity to work with Jeff in the beginning of his tenure at O’Connor when I was working at one of the churches.  I especially appreciated Jeff’s attention to detail and his caring and concern for families.  His calm manner was so reassuring to everyone.  I was always thankful to learn that Jeff would be on a service.

Jeff and I both have different roles now, but Jeff is still the same caring person as always and great to work with too!

Congratulations and best wishes for many more successful years at O’Connor Mortuary, Jeff!”

Rosemary, Arranger’s Assistant

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“Being a leader is not about you. It’s about the people who are on your team and how you can help them be successful.”

This describes Jeff’s leadership style beautifully – always working to help all of us succeed. I think he is pretty amazing!

Becky, Director of Community Development

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Jeff,

I cannot believe we are celebrating your 25th year here at O’Connors. How does the sand slip through the fingers so fast? I have known you for almost 23 of those years. There are just so many stories we have together in that span of being co-workers, friends and eventually partners together to choose one or two to encapsulate our time with each other. (OK, that is just code for I cannot put in print the stories I really want to tell!) So instead of that I just want to say how fortunate I am to be able to call you my friend and business partner. We have been through so much of our lives together and oh what a long, strange trip it has been. From births and deaths, failures and successes and good times and bad you have always been there. I have counted on your counsel for many years and appreciate your insight and perspective on the myriad of issues we have come across together both in our personal as well as our professional lives.

I’m so grateful to have you in my life and know that I always have your back for whatever you need. I consider you my brother from another mother. I look forward to the second half of our partnership and friendship and know great things are coming our way. Thanks for being a great friend for me on this journey we call life.

Love you,

Chuck, Chief of Operations

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“Jeff is someone you can’t help but love deeply.  Although he is an owner, he has always been approachable, a comforting listener, and sometimes extremely funny.  Over the years we have laughed together, cried together, and prayed together.  Two personal memories which I can never forget have to do with his “love” of cats and a story from years ago that concerned a barbecue. I’ll stop right there.  Here’s to another 25 years.  I love you, Jeff.”

Anne, Accounting Manager

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“Jeff always knows exactly what to say to keep me motivated and his guidance has shown me that I’m exactly where I need to be. He sees the special quality within people and helps them fine tune it.”

Lauren, Funeral Arranger

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“I have only worked at O’Connor for a short time, but one thing that I will say about Jeff is that he is always so willing to help others. Even if it is not the most convenient time for him he will go out of his way to make sure others are happy. I have seen this in both his interaction with others and personally as well. Thank you Jeff and happy 25 years!”

Ethan, Advance Funeral Planner

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“From the moment I met Jeff he felt like a true friend and I had known him for years. He is someone you could always look to for help, guidance, compassion, advice, a prayer or just a hug. I feel completely blessed to know you Jeff. Thank you for all you do.”

–  Amy, Administrative Manager

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“I have looked up to Jeff since I met him.  He is very knowledgeable in embalming and dealing with families, as well as a very caring person that is enjoyable to be around.  I like his calm demeanor as it seems to effect those around him.”

Shasta, Care Center Specialist

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“What I will always remember the most about Jeff is the trust he has placed in me to be part of the more difficult times in life. I am truly blessed not just the times in my life with the deaths of my loved ones that Jeff has been there for me, and that I have been able to return that compassion and care to him when his grandmother and father both passed. I will always be honored that I was chosen to bring them both into our care at the mortuary. Just the opportunity given to me to be there and to have been part especially when his father died and the entire family being there at his home this is a lasting memory I will never forget. Thank you for opening your heart to me and for the chance to do the same for you.”

Joe, Funeral Arranger

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“It has been my absolute pleasure to know Jeff for the last 25 years of my life. Some of my greatest memories, most challenging times and hardest laughs have been with Jeff. Jeff you have always been reliable, faithful, humble, respectful, giving, gracious & kind. You are great mentor, friend & partner to me. I admire how much you are wiling to learn & grow, those qualities are helping transform you and those around you.
I always enjoy being in your company, thank you for being such a loyal & devoted friend. I love you dearly.”

Neil, President & CEO

THANK YOU, JEFF!

Molly Keating

About Molly Keating

Hi, I'm Molly and I write for the blog here at O'Connor. I grew up in a mortuary with a mortician for a father who's deep respect for the profession inspired me to give working at a mortuary a try. Work at O'Connor has brought together two of my deep passions, writing & grief awareness. In 2016 I earned Certification in the field of Thanatology, the study of Death, Dying and Bereavement. I am honored to be able to speak on these taboo topics with knowledge, compassion, and a unique perspective. I want to sincerely thank you for following & reading the blog, I hope that this is a healing place for you.
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  • Kari Lyn Leslie

    What a beautiful tribute!!

  • neil

    Cheers Jeff! Here is to another 25years and we will release you back into the wild.

  • Mitch

    It has been an honor to have met you, Jeff. I really admire your character, conviction and dedication to our profession and pur company. Thank you.

  • Shasta Cola

    Jeff, we are all lucky to know you! You are an inspiration!