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Building a Legacy: Turner Plumbing

The Turner family pulls back the curtain on their family legacy, sharing stories of a humble beginning.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — There is a plumbing company in the San Marco neighborhood of Jacksonville that was created back in 1942. Turner Plumbing started with the actions of a woman named Louise C. Turner. 

At just 12 years old Louise’s mother died. Her father dropped her off at a boarding house in Downtown Jacksonville. That experience helped to shape her into a no nonsense, successful business woman and the matriarch of the Turner family.

"Very strong woman,” Buzz Turner said as he described his grandmother. “Very strong. Having lived through the depression she instilled in all of us - if you need something you save for it."

Kendal Rohane, Buzz’s daughter, shared an old family story that has been preserved and passed down like an heirloom.

Her great grandfather, Charles Hollingsworth Turner, fell ill while working as a plumber for a bitter boss. Louise made a phone call that would lead to sweet revenge wrapped in irony.

"She reached out to the boss and said he was sick and wouldn't be in to work, and this is right after the great depression,” Rohane explained. “And the boss said, 'well if he doesn't show up there are plenty of people that want to work and he won't have a job'".

Louise, with cash in hand, went to an auction in Downtown Jacksonville and purchased one truck. That marked the beginning of their family business.

"Her husband got home from working that day and she said ' you have your own company now'," Rohane said.

Louise's great grandson, Worth Turner, decades later built on the family’s legacy by creating the Hollingsworth Showroom.

"He actually purchased the old Peterbrooke factory on San Marco Blvd,” Rohane said. “When he started remodeling he noticed up at the very top there was some writing and it was a plumbing company that he had never heard of."

Peeping through beams, painted on brick, Worth discovered the words ‘Koegel Plumbing’.

"That was actually that boss that told my great grandfather you better get to work or you're not gonna have a job,” Rohane said. “So my brother really got satisfaction in the fact that he now owns the building."

Lessons learned and handed down to Rohane, a now 4th generation plumber.

“I'm the first female in our family to get my state license,” Rohane said while pointing to a wall at the Turner Plumbing office filled with licenses dating back decades.

"I think she'd be very proud of all of us for all of the hard work we've done," Buzz said.

The reward of letting go is visible today but initially proved to be difficult for the Turner family matriarch.

“When I came into the business back in the late 70s, early 80s she always told my dad and me, 'I'll never retire. You'll never get rid of me',” Buzz said.

And while Louise's story started with loss, it ends with great gain.

“She worked up until she was 88 years old,” Buzz said. "She walked into the back and told my dad and I she said 'I'm going home.' We said what do you mean what's wrong? and she said 'I'm retiring.' She walked out and never walked back in."

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