Eleanor McIlwrath Thompson Stevenson, 1905

Essential Information

Born: 13 Jun 1905 Newtownards, D, Northern Ireland
Married: 8 Jul 1929 Albert Edward Turner
Died: 3 Jan 1996
Temple Ordinances Performed:
Temple Ordinances Needed:
Father: James Stevenson  Stepfather: Reginald John Mccurdy
Mother: Eleanor Thompson
Children: Sadie June, Patricia, Eleanor Helen

History of Eleanor McIlwrath Stevenson Turner

Written by her eldest daughter, Sadie June Turner Hair, written August 2003:

My mother was born June 13, 1905. She was the fourth child born to Eleanor McIlwrath Thompson and James Stevenson. James Stevenson died Jan 1905, five and a half months before my mother was born. Mother had two older sisters, Sadie and Muriel, as well as a brother, John, who she loved very much.

Her maternal grandparents lived nearby, and she became very close to them. Her mother and grandparents were honest, God-fearing (loving, people, who went to the Methodist church in the town of Newtownards, county Down, Northern Ireland.

About three years after her husband died, my grandmother married Reginald McCurdy.

One year later, mother had a little sister, who’s name was Nan. She adored her sister, and they were very close to one another all their lives.

Some of the things my mother liked to do when she was younger was bike-riding, and riding on her scooter in the country town where she lived. She was also a champion marble shooter and said she could beat anyone on the schoolyard. When she was a teenager, she loved riding on the back of her brother John’s motorcycle. Her eyes would light up when she recalled that memory.

These are mother’s words:

“We moved up to the big city of Belfast after my mother married again. My sister and I went to St. Mary’s School on Crumlin Road. By that time, I also had another brother named Reggie, and also wee Jim. Jim died when he was seven-years old.

“When I was about eight or nine years old, my grandparents needed help, as they were getting older and I was sent to look after them. So I was moved back down to Newtownards. It was thirty miles from my family, who still remained in Belfast. I missed my family, especially my sister, Nan, who I was close to. But I also loved being back in Newtownards with my grandmother and Aunt Sarah. They gave me lots of attention and love, and I could eat all I wanted. I stayed down there for a few years, until both grandparents passed away. Then I moved back up to Belfast with my mother and brothers and sisters. My stepfather was at the war by this time. Mother was a strong person, and for four years, she looked after the family while her husband served his country. My mother was a hard worker, and we were all taught to work hard.

“I left school at fourteen years old to work. I had a few jobs before I found the one I really enjoyed. It was in an Irish Linen firm. They shipped linen all over the world. I was a shipping clerk, and enjoyed the work very much. My sister Nan had been working there and helped get me the job. We became close friends as well as sisters. Nan was a fun-loving person with a great personality and had lots of friends, so I was surrounded with friends also.

“Money was scarce with such a large family, so we walked to work instead of taking the tram. My mother said it was good exercise. We never complained, even though we had to walk about twelve miles every day. No need for fitness centers in those days.

“We always went home for lunch. One time, when I was hurrying my lunch to get back to work, I choked on a fish-bone. It lodged in my throat, and I was rushed to the hospital, and they removed it. The doctor said a few more minutes and I would have died. The Lord had a work for me to accomplish, so everything worked out well.

“I had a special friend about this time invited me to go to a special meeting in her church. She said there was a speaker coming from America, his name was David O. McKay. I promised her I would go. The meeting was held in the hall in Belfast. As I sat in a meeting listening to this man the Spirit of the Lord testified to me that it was the truth. I felt like I had come home, it had a familiar sound, I had heard this somewhere before. I wanted to join this church!

“I went home and told my mother that I wanted to join this church of Latter-Day Saints.

“She said she didn’t mind as long as I became a good member.

“I was baptised in 1925, in the Irish Sea at Helens Bay in County Down. I always loved the church, I never have doubted it is the truth.

“In due time my mother and three sisters joined the church, this opened the way for our children to enjoy the blessings of being raised in the Gospel. Later our children were baptised and served in the branch….

“I held many positions in the branch where we lived in Belfast. We met in a hall in North Street during the war years. Many times it was difficult to go during these troubled times, but with the help of the Lord, we held together in the branch and supported one another. We had few members and very little priesthood holders. But with our love of the Lord and sheer determination we survived, and even came through victorious. Our testimonies were strong and we lived the gospel as we knew it. The sacrifices were great but we were blessed an hundredfold… To see my daughters grow up in the church was a blessing for me.

” As I mentioned, I held a lot of positions in the church. Secretary in the Mutual – President of the Primary – President of the Relief Society for many years, as well as teaching in Relief Society, and visiting teaching… In later years I was called to be the first Stake Relief Society President in Ireland. Also later, I was called to be a Seminary teacher. We met in the early morning, I grew to love teaching the young people the gospel and sharing my experiences and my testimony. I enjoyed each calling very much. But the callings in the Relief Society were my very favourite.



Eleanor Stevenson Turner (Queenie), 90, of Orem, died Jan. 3, 1996 peacefully in her sleep at her daughter’s home in Salt Lake City, Utah.

She was born June 13, 1905 in Newtownards, County Down, North Ireland, a daughter of James and Eleanor Thompson Stevenson. She married Albert Edward Turner on July 8, 1929 in Belfast, North Ireland. He died April 16, 1971.Our mother was converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and was a great example of love and devotion for the Lord. Her sweet personality and nature endeared her to all who knew her. She made many faithful friends in Ireland and Utah. As an active member of the LDS church she served many callings in Relief Society, in both stake and ward levels. She could express her feelings eloquently in testimony talks and prayers. Her strong faith sustained her through many trials in life with patience and long suffering. Dear mother, you will be greatly missed in our family circle. We love you, you have been a great example of a virtuous woman.

Survivors include her two daughters: Mrs. Garth (S. June) Hair of Orem, Utah and Mrs. Charles (Patricia) Jeppson of Salt Lake City. She is also survived by 13 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren and one sister, Nan Kelso of British Columbia, Canada. She was preceded in death by her husband, a daughter, Eleanor Helen Wallace, a grandson, Lindon, two sisters and one brother, Sadie Popham, Muriel Chambers and John Stevenson.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, January 6, 1996 at 12 noon in the Geneva Heights 3rd Ward Chapel, 800 North 857 West, Orem. Friends may call Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Sundberg-Olpin Mortuary, 495 South State St., in Orem and also from 10:45 to 11:45 a.m. prior to the services at the ward chapel. Interment will take place in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.

Deseret News, Thursday, Jan. 4 1996 12:00 a.m. MST

A recording of Eleanor reading funny poems at her home in Silverstream Parade during the summer of 1977.

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