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The Loss of a Great Leader

Staff | Published on 2/7/2024

"We are extremely saddened to hear of the passing of  LWVUS President Dr. Deborah Ann Turner, a visionary, thought leader and fierce advocate for voter access , reproductive freedom,  and equality of the sexes.  We are resolved to continue the legacy of Dr. Turner and continue to march forward toward a world more anchored in justice. Our thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Turner’s family during this difficult time."

LWVOC President
Tiffany Hughes


WASHINGTON — It is with profound sadness that the League of Women Voters announces the passing of our esteemed president, Dr. Deborah Ann Turner, who passed away on Sunday, January 28, 2024, from complications from a pulmonary embolism.
 

A fearless advocate for voting rights and women’s rights, Dr. Turner devoted her life’s work to impacting meaningful changes in the lives of voters across the nation. As the 20th president of the 103-year-old voting rights organization, Dr. Turner played a pivotal role in fighting for a more fair and representative union, while uplifting racial equity in the League’s mission work.
 

Dr. Turner first joined the League of Women Voters of Metro Des Moines in 2010 and later served as president until 2015. At the same time, she also served on the LWV of Iowa board as the state vice president from 2011 to 2015, becoming co-president in 2015. In her dual roles with state and local Leagues, Deborah has devoted her leadership to strengthening relationships between local leagues and the state Board.     

“Dr. Turner was the consummate leader who poured her heart and soul for the preservation of our democracy," said Virginia Kase Solomón, CEO of the League of Women Voters. “Her leadership exemplified grace, empathy, strength, and determination, and we will forever be grateful for her passion and dedication to this organization.”
 

Dr. Turner practiced gynecologic oncology for 35 years, working directly with patients and teaching students and trained residents in university programs across the Midwest. She participated in a dozen international medical missions and served as the associate medical director of Planned Parenthood of North Central States. 

The League of Women Voters staff, board, and Leagues from across the country mourn this loss, and our thoughts are with Dr. Turner’s family during this difficult time. We are committed to honoring her legacy by continuing to uphold our values to empower voters and build a stronger, more inclusive democracy.