The Washington Post

Melva R. Turpin, 92, a church organist in the Washington area for 50 years, died Jan. 1 at Brooke Grove Nursing Home in Sandy Spring. She had heart disease.

In 1961, Mrs. Turpin started as organist and choir director for the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration in Silver Spring.

In 1977, she became music director for St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Washington’s Georgetown neighborhood. At St. Luke’s, she was organist and directed a choir with paid soloists.

She left St. Luke’s in 1992 and continued to work as a substitute organist at churches across the region for many years.

For the past 10 years, she had been organist at Holy Family Anglican Church in Hyattstown.

Melva Ruth Pettit was born in Fairmont, Minn., and settled in the Washington area in 1941. She was a Silver Spring resident.

She was office manager for her husband’s business, Turpin’s Nursery near Burtonsville, from the late 1950s to the late 1970s.

She was a member of the American Guild of Organists. In 2005, she was elected honorary dean of the group’s local chapter.

Her husband of 66 years, Jean M. Turpin, died in 2008.

Survivors include three children, Toby Turpin of Silver Spring, Lois Landvoigt of Savage and Janina Plant of Laurel; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

— Adam Bernstein



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