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David McGowan Turner, longtime entertainment director for the U.S. Army community in Giessen, Germany, died last week of complications from cancer.

Turner was associated with the Keller Theatre for 22 years, initially as a volunteer. He stepped into the director’s role 12 years ago. The job entails overseeing all aspects of a production, from casting and directing to stage lighting and construction.

“He was the Keller Theatre,” said James Sohre, entertainment director for Installation Management Command-Europe. “He was synonymous with it.”

In 2003, Turner received the Department of Army Entertainment’s Irving Berlin Award for programming excellence, and in April he was recognized for individual achievement with the All-Army James T. Martin Award.

“There is great camaraderie among all the guys that run the Army theaters in Europe,” said Charlie Fontana, entertainment director for U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, “and I know that David was held in high regard by all of us.”

That was especially true of his loyal army of volunteers, Sohre said. Over the years, up until the Giessen community closed this past summer, Turner could always count on them to work together toward a common goal, that of putting on a first-rate theater production.

“Dave had great skill at making people feel their contributions mattered, that they had value,” Sohre said.

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