Community Spotlight_Mary Ann Turner

This month I would like to highlight someone who is near and dear to many in this Community.  Mary Ann Turner who has taught many of us over her several years of teaching at New Ross Consolidated School.  Mrs. Turner certainly touched many lives with her kind and sincere approach to teaching.  For many of us she has become a second mother, an “adopted” grandmother, and a dear friend.



Mary Ann Reeves graduated from Nova Scotia Teacher’s College in 1969 and started teaching that year in Avonport while living with her aunt, uncle, and their family.

In 1970 she married Frank Turner and started teaching in New Ross at this time.  Mary Ann took time off to have kids and returned to teaching after her son was born in 1980. Initially she split her time between Western Shore and New Ross and eventually taught full time in New Ross.


She mostly taught elementary grades however did teach some high school classes for a while as well and after retiring she substituted for a while and taught GED math classes for one session.


Mary Ann has always been a gifted teacher and believed every child had the potential to be great. She focused on meeting each child where they were at with a goal to get them to grade level or beyond when they left her classroom. It wasn’t unheard of for her to have multiple individual lesson plans ongoing in her classroom at once.


It is common for her family to meet up with former students who always ask about her and then tell stories about what she did for them. One former student claims that they never would have been able to read without her and have the job they do now.

There is another that wasn’t at New Ross school long and fondly remembers the extra things she did for them and their sibling. Teaching them how to do laundry and their personal care.


She had a huge heart and often used her personal funds to purchase books and other items for her classroom. It wasn’t unheard of, when she taught, for her to stay up past midnight doing lesson plans and marking tests. She rarely left the school before 5 or 6 pm and always still brought work home with her. She would take calls from parents in the evenings and on weekends to discuss their children and some calls would last over an hour.


Mary Ann dedicated her life to teaching and the betterment of children. She was an advocate and champion for children and their well-being while she taught and still is.



Youth Group

Mary Ann, along with her best friend, Wanda Broome, started the New Ross Youth Group that ran many years out of the New Ross Legion. The group was held one evening a week and attracted kids from both the New Ross and New Germany areas. There was always a dance upstairs using a big ghetto blaster and tapes teens brought with them – she still has the big ghetto blaster in a closet in her house. Downstairs there would be card games, darts, pool, shuffleboard and pinball machines and a spot to sit, talk and watch tv.


Many times at this event you would see her or Wanda sitting at a table talking teens through problems they might be dealing with or just having a friendly chat or a laugh. Anything said to both women in confidence remained that way.


Garden Party

For many years Mary Ann organized the Forties Garden Party which was held the weekend closest to Canada Day. This event raised money for the Anglican and Baptist churches in The Forties. This event was a major fundraiser for both churches and was run with dedicated volunteers from both. In the weeks leading up to the event the living room in her home looked like a warehouse of prizes and supplies. This planning also coincided with the end of the school year and report cards which meant Mary Ann’s family walked on eggshells and spent a lot of time outside (information directly received from her daughter).


Frog jumping contests, crosscut saw and moose calling competitions were the main attraction along with games of chance and a community supper and in most years a dance and later years fireworks.


It was a wonderful community event that drew in people even from outside of the  community. She recruited her mother to arrange the food for the supper. Shirley never asked what someone ‘could do’ though. Rather, she called and told a person what she ‘needed them to do’ and had notebooks she kept for years to refer to letting her know what they had done in the past. Only Shirley with the personality she had would get away with using that approach.


Forties Garden Club

Mary Ann was a member of the Forties Garden Club for a time with her mother and mother in-law. She often hosted meetings at her house where Frank and the kids were banished to the upstairs to read books and watch TV. Mary Ann had lovely gardens, some started by her mother in-law Lena Turner, until one day Frank sprayed them with Round-Up and told her whatever survived was worth keeping. She still laments about all the plants she lost however does get a chuckle over his rationale. For information purposes, hosta plants survive.



Mary Ann and Frank were very active 4-H parents and supported the Handy Hands 4-H Club in every way they could while their kids were members. Mary Ann was a 4-H leader for many years and volunteered at the County and Provincial levels as well at a variety of events. Mary Ann could be found most summers at the South Shore Exhibition for a week in a camper with both kids so they could tend to their animals and compete in open classes. She was a trooper and helped wherever she could that week with the County Canteen and helping with other members that were there to show in open show as well.



Mary Ann has been a lifelong member of the Forties United Baptist church. She served as a deacon of the church, was secretary for the New Ross Baptist pastorate and even now not being able to get out to go to church weekly puts together and types up the weekly bulletin with input from Pastor Rick and other members of the church. She is currently the treasurer of the Forties Baptist Church a role she took over upon her mother’s passing.


Forties Community Centre

Mary Ann was also on the Board of Directors for the Forties Community Centre before and after the new hall was built.  She organized the breakfast with Santa for many years and the Christmas craft fair.  She also volunteered working the door while on the Board and even after.