Impressions of a national artist
by WILLIAM WRIGHT
Mar 21, 2012 | 1497 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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RUTHER ETHLIC TURNER, a renowned artist known for his historical and religious paintings and designs across the country, has been living in Cleveland since 1966. The ever-active 87-year-old sculptor, poet and former public speaker has managed to stay busy and upbeat in his day to day lifestyle. Photo by WILLIAM WRIGHT
With a name as unique as Ruther Ethlic Turner, it comes as no surprise that the Cleveland artist, poet, sculptor and designer has left a rare and indelible mark on the world around him.

The 87-year-old craftsman is nationally known for his historic and religious works of art which can be seen in many places across the country. In his younger years Turner designed several historical works in marble, including a Wright Brothers Memorial in Kill Devils Hill, N.C., and some smaller works in the museums of Presidents Reagan and Bush.

At a Harvard University sponsored National Art Show in Madison Square Garden, the talented artist won first place in the Scenery Division and first place in the Portrait Division.

Turner studied art at Western Kentucky University at Bowling Green, and Dayton Art Institute at Dayton, Ohio, before moving to Cleveland in 1966, where he taught art and calligraphy part time at Cleveland State Community College for more than two decades.

In 1967, he worked three months on the finishing touches of the two-storied mural in the Church of God International Offices before the building dedication. Although he was not the mural contractor, he worked more than three years on a complete restoration of the mural in the early 1990s.

As a well-known lecturer, Turner served as past president of the Dayton, Ohio, Toastmasters International and charter president of the Cleveland (Ohio) Toastmasters, an international speech organization.

In 1992, during the Gulf War, he was chosen to give a five-minute speech of greetings to the men and women of the Armed Forces before Gen. Carl Wallace spoke at the Southeastern Armed Forces Day Celebration.

While living in Cleveland, the speaker, poet, artist and sculptor traveled to many states where he was commissioned to do various art works, including commissioned works for the family of Ohio Senator Robert A. Taft, Gen. Forest D. Harding and the Rockefeller Foundation.

His huge religious murals and paintings that grace New York, Ohio, Virginia and Tennessee, along with other artistic designs and sculptures across the country have made Turner one of America’s foremost artists in faith-based themes.

As a member of various art societies, as well as the Tennessee Artists Association and a lifetime member of the Society of American Poets, Turner, whose health is failing, said he has enjoyed his career as an artist and is proud of his work displayed across the country.

Like most artists, the talented Turner marches to a different beat — one that keeps his tempo positive and his lifestyle an eclectic and rare expression of an aging artist whose gift is still admired by his wife, Myra.

The retired teacher from Cleveland City Schools admits, “It’s a challenge to be married to someone like that. It keeps life interesting. Artists are a very creative people and you have to stay on your toes. He’s kept me on my toes — that’s for sure.”

The couple have been married for 55 years in June. They have three children, Aaron, Paul and Ramona, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.