Gilbert Turman, former DeKalb principal and civic leader, passes

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Gilbert Turman, a former principal of Southwest DeKalb High School and founder of the South DeKalb Neighborhood Coalition, has died, On Common Ground News learned at deadline. Mr. Turman died at home at 11 a.m. on Jan. 18, friends said. He was 77.

Dr. Melvin Johnson, who was Mr. Turman’s supervisor for many years, remembered him as a “true community servant.” Mr. Turman served not only at Southwest DeKalb High School but McNair Middle and Columbia High School.

“Everybody respected him as a great administrator. He looked out for everyone,” said Johnson.

In 2017, DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis returned to office and honored Mr. Turman and several others as community champions who had a positive impact on the community.

Mr. Turman, through the South DeKalb Neighborhood Coalition, fought against the expansion of landfills in South DeKalb and he served as the volunteer advisory chairman of the county’s Code Enforcement Advisory Council.

Mr. Turman began his education career in 1962 as a teacher and head football coach in Newton County. In the DeKalb County School District, he served as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal and area superintendent in the DeKalb School District.

Dr. Catherin Turk, a retired area executive director for DeKalb County Schools, said she first met Mr. Turman when he taught in Newton.

“We both worked in Newton before we went to DeKalb. I got to know him as a teacher and a parent. Our sons played football together and later we both worked at Columbia High School in DeKalb,” Turk said. “He was a wonderful person. He had a great sense of humor. He was straightforward, very involved in civic activities. He always wanted to make the community better.”

On Common Ground News


7 comments

  • Christie Turner Hicks

    January 19, 2018 at 10:19 am

    We have lost a giant.I remember “Doc” Turman from Southwest High Scool in Atlanta. He was the magnificent Defensive Coordinator that helped our football team get to and win the 1973 Georgia State Football Championship, the last Atlanta Public Schools football team to win it.

    I’ve run into “Doc” a few times throughout the years and he was always smiling and receptive. Rest in peace “Doc”. You will always be remembered.

    Reply

  • Gwen Green

    January 19, 2018 at 10:44 am

    Mr. Turman was extremely supportive to me as,I pursued my administrative credentials while working in the DeKalb County School District. He spoke to me at length about his difficult battle to have the landfill closed that was off Moreland Avenue near I-285. I will forever be grateful for that important effort! May God bless his family and friends as they deal with his passing.

    Reply

  • Curtis. Davis. JR

    January 19, 2018 at 7:20 pm

    I’m so thankful to god for this man being aport of my life. I was bless to play football for him at southwest. High Atlanta we were able to be 13-0 thanks doc turman god bless you. Curtis Davis Jr

    Reply

  • Yvonne English

    January 19, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    Deepest CONDOLENCES
    WORKED WITH HIM AT SWD
    HE WAS PRINCIPAL WHEN MY DAUGHTER GRADUATED AS WELL.
    RIH
    GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

    Reply

  • Ivie Turman

    January 20, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    R.I.H.P. GONE BUT NEVER EVER,
    EVER FORGOTTEN!

    Reply

  • Carolyn Tuggle Cooksey. R.L. Cousins Class of '64

    January 20, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    We have lost a warrior! Whom will replace him?

    Reply

  • Alice ONeal

    January 23, 2018 at 5:49 pm

    I loved Mr. Turman. I worked for him at McNair. He was a great principal and wonderful person.

    Reply

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