Dr. J. Wayne Reitz, who served as the President of the University of Florida, frequently said, “There is no limit to the amount of good a person can do as long as he or she doesn’t care to whom the credit goes.”
These words were inspirational to many; but they especially resonated with his daughter, Marjorie Turnbull.
Marjorie, now 80, recalls an “idyllic, simple and happy” childhood. The combination of her mother’s practicality and her father’s close mentoring allowed Marjorie to grow up in a family that rejected the pervasive female stereotypes of the times, and instead encouraged her to do whatever she chose. Their influences ultimately contributed to Marjorie’s numerous successes.
Marjorie did not have a specific career in mind when she attended college; instead, she remained flexible and seized opportunities as they came her way. Her adventurous spirit led her to New York, where she started working at the Mission to the United Nations, first in the xerox room from where she quickly moved up the ranks.
Marjorie’s professional career reflects a person deeply connected to her community, in which she continues to active throughout retirement. Among her many varied experiences, Marjorie served as the Executive Director of the Tallahassee Community College Foundation for 11 years. During six of those years, she also represented District 9 in the Florida House of Representatives. Marjorie previously served as a Leon County Commissioner.
These demanding positions did not prevent Marjorie from being fully invested in community interests through service on a variety of boards and committees, including the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra Board, the Board of Trustees for Florida A&M University, the Big Bend Hospice Foundation, and Choose Tallahassee, among the many others.
Despite her accomplishments as a professional, an elected official, and a steward to our community, and the extraordinary number of remarkable honors and awards bestowed upon her, Marjorie says that her biggest accomplishment is being a mentor to others. She attributes much of her success and happiness to the mentors she has experienced during her lifetime, and advises others to never hesitate to seek out a mentor, no matter how important that person seems.
Marjorie’s retirement from full-time work has, to a certain extent, also brought about a return to her “idyllic, simple and happy” childhood. She has re-embraced mentoring and is seizing opportunities–this time to serve our community. In what can only be a sign of her adventurous spirit, Marjorie now has one simple condition for any community opportunity: it cannot be related to her professional career. Marjorie’s shares other criteria “Will I learn something; will it help other people; and will it be fun?”
Marjorie’s Dad had it right. His quote is framed in her house as a reminder. And it has fueled the drive, contributions, and accomplishments of Marjorie Turnbull, who, even today, doesn’t know what she wants to be when she grows up.