Katherine Turner Mears died on October 25, 2023 at Kendall Grove Point in Eastville, Virginia, having lived a long, vibrant 92 years. She was a force of nature. She was predeceased by her parents, Wilson Price Hodges Turner and George Luther Turner, her husband, Benjamin William Mears, Jr., her sister, Helen Turner Murphy, and her brother-in- law, William Tayloe Murphy, Jr.
She is survived by her three children, Benjamin William Mears III (Cindy); Wilson Price Mears Clarke (Don); and Mariah Nottingham Mears (Burke); her seven grandchildren, Benjamin William Mears IV, Katherine Turner Clarke Crowley (David), Dorsey Clarke Hogan (Stephen), Benjamin Sumner Clarke, Carter Mears Pollard, Finnigan Connor Warren Pollard, and Albert Clarkson Pollard III; her four great-grandchildren, Ava Elizabeth Mears, Anna Katherine Crowley, Ezra Clarke Crowley, Daniel Wilson Hogan; her nieces, Anne Carter Braxton Murphy Brumley and Claudia Turner Bagwell; and her nephews, Whitaker Holland Turner and Claude Albert Turner III.
Katty, as she was fondly called, was born in 1931 in Reidsville, North Carolina and grew up in Richmond, Virginia. There she attended St. Catherine’s School, was named “June Scholar” upon graduating in 1949, and later became a member of the St. Catherine’s School Board of Trustees. She also attended Sweet Briar College.
Katty spent most of her life at Kendall Grove Point where she raised her family, nurtured her garden and enjoyed welcoming friends and guests. She was a faithful member of Christ Episcopal Church where she was Senior Warden of the Vestry, Lay Reader and served as a member of the Altar Guild.
With a lifelong interest in flower arranging, gardening, historic preservation and people, Katty was involved in a number of local and state organizations. Locally, she was past president of both the Garden Club of the Eastern Shore and the Debedeavon Garden Club. She also served as president several times for the Barrier Island Center and the Eastern Shore Historical Society and was a member of the board for both Broadwater Academy and the Eastern Shore Community College.
Katty was past president of the Garden Club of Virginia as well as past chairman of its Restoration Committee. In 2000 she received the GCVA’s Massie Medal for Distinguished Achievement. Additionally, she was an honorary member of the Garden Club of America.
Throughout the years, Katty served on the boards of Mercantile Bank (Eastville), the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Scenic Virginia, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Virginians for the Arts, and the Restoration of the Virginia Capitol Grounds and Governor’s Mansion. She was board president of Preservation Virginia (APVA) and the Northampton Historic Preservation Society which she helped to establish in 2013. She was a member of the Woman’s Club (Richmond) and the National Society of Colonial Dames of America.
Katty had a keen eye and vibrant interest in all things. Her sartorial and decorative elegance and joie de vivre were greatly appreciated. Most of all Katty was engaged by people. When she met you, she truly recognized you and was honored by your presence. She was generous in her interactions, always taking interest in others. Her sharp wit and kind insightfulness made you want to linger. She gave her full attention. Her prodigious energy and sense of fun meant that even until the last weeks of her life she was not going to miss out on a party. Above all, Katty loved her friends and family who will deeply miss her.
In her final years, Katty enjoyed getting to know and was thankful for her caretakers: Rachel Ames, Lokesha Boggs, Tacquila Garcia, Kionna Heyward, Shamika Jones, and Margie Wescott.
A Celebration of Life service will be held on Saturday, November 4, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. at Christ Episcopal Church, 16304 Courthouse Rd., Eastville, Virginia 23347, with burial in the church cemetery following the service.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial contribution may be made to Christ Episcopal Church, PO Box 367, Eastville, Virginia 23347.
Memory tributes may be shared with the family at www.williamsfuneralhomes.com.
Arrangements by the Williams-Onancock Funeral Home.