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Published: Friday, 12/4/2009

Florist was South Bass mainstay

PUT-IN-BAY, Ohio - Ken Turvey, a former Toledo florist and a well-known shop owner in the island community he made his home, died of kidney failure Wednesday in Stein Hospice Care Center, Sandusky. He was 86.

He and his wife, Jane, ran Wharfside for more than a decade. The waterfront store is a carryout and gift shop, but also sells marine supplies and bait.

A daughter and son-in-law, Suzanne and Dennis Hill, took over in 1998 and grandson David Hill in 2007. Mr. Turvey said he retired on his 80th birthday, his grandson said. At least until then, he opened up and served coffee to morning customers. "Mainly the thing he liked was the interaction with the people," his grandson said.

Son Robert said in running the store, "it was like he found his niche."

Mr. Turvey was commodore in 1952 of the Bay View Yacht Club in Toledo. On South Bass Island, he was an early member of the boating club the Crew's Nest, his grandson said.

His contact with the island began in the late 1960s when he answered a newspaper ad placed by Marvin Booker, who sought a ferry captain. "We eventually became business partners in a couple different ventures," Mr. Booker said.

The island became home in the early '70s. Mr. Turvey's wife was the island nurse.

He grew up on Phillips Avenue, where his father had a florist shop. Mr. Turvey attended Scott High School and received a pilot's license in the Army Air Corps as World War II ended. He worked for his father afterward. With his aunt Thelma, he took over the business in the early 1960s, though he left it behind by the end of the decade, his son said.

He spoke fondly of the family business, his grandson recalled, "but not necessarily missing it. He was happy about moving here when he did."

Mr. Turvey and his wife spent nearly 30 winters in Hudson, Fla. He was a painter and a stained glass artist, his grandson said.

He was a life member of Trinity Episcopal Church, Toledo.

He and his wife, the former Alice Jane Fisher, married Jan. 14, 1944. She died Feb. 19, 2006.

Surviving are his sons, Robert and Thomas Turvey; daughters, Suzanne Hill and Rebecca Catri; sister, Thelma Turvey; 13 grandchildren; 32 great-grandchildren, and a great-great-grandson.

Memorial services will be at noon tomorrow in St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Put-in-Bay, where he was a member. Arrangements are by the Toft Funeral Home & Crematory, Sandusky. The family suggests tributes to Stein Hospice, Sandusky.

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