Iana M. Turner, 75, Morris Arboretum horticulturist, passed away peacefully from multiple sclerosis on Tuesday, July 18th, surrounded by family.
Born Iana Mitchell Walker in Pittsburgh in 1948, she was a friend and mentor to hundreds of people throughout her full life. As a teenager she served as a docent at Old Economy, the early 19th century German village in Ambridge, PA and was chosen to attend the last international Girl Scout Roundup in 1965.
A graduate of Temple University, Iana joined the Morris Arboretum in 1990, becoming a section chief in 1994. She oversaw creation and operation of the Arboretum’s popular Garden Railway and assisted in creating similar railways at the New York Botanical Gardens and the U. S. Botanic Garden at the foot of Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. For many years she served as the Morris Arboretum’s go-to authority on care of shrubs and trees, teaching many classes for adults and children. She was much beloved by the many Arboretum volunteers whom she supervised and was profiled by this newspaper in 2015 when she retired. As one docent said at the time, “Iana was always the mother hen to interns and volunteers. She watched over us, fed us and watered us, just like she did with her plants.”
Iana is survived by her son, Jason Edward Turner and his wife Leigha Main Turner, and sister Marjory M. Walker, brother Andrew Walker, and niece McKayla Mitchell and nephew Colin Walker.
A memorial service for Iana will be held on Saturday, August 26 at the Morris Arboretum from 11 am until 2 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the Morris Arboretum in her memory.