Velma L Turner Profile Photo
1937 Velma 2023

Velma L Turner

March 31, 1937 — November 17, 2023

Des Moines


Velma Lorraine Turner 

Velma was born March 3, 1937, in Des Moines Iowa to Rev. George Chance Turner and Francis A. Hobbs and went home to be with the Lord on November 17, 2023.  Being bi-racial, she was subject to racism on both sides so at an early age she dropped out of school due to the hostilities of racism.  However, later in life, wanting to set a good example for her children, she went back to school and obtained her general education degree.  In her teens she married Alfred L. Hall, and gave birth to four children Ryan, Taunia, Chaunci and CePaunce. 

In addition, she embraced children not born to her Tony & Allene Hall, Margaret and Denise Maxwell as well as neighborhood kids that occasionally stopped by the house.  She started her career as an office assistant for Dr. Ware one of the first Black doctors in the State of Iowa.  With an interest in communications and broadcasting she went to California where she was offered a job as a news reporter.  After moving back to Des Moines, she became the News Director of KIOA radio and later hosted a weekly radio show on KSO radio called “Black Awareness”.  This was the first in Iowa history.  During this show she addressed issues such as Sickle Cell Anemia, systematic racism, the Black poverty syndrome and black on black self-hate.  She also was a prolific writer; she wrote articles for The Omaha World Herold.  The most notable was “Black and White Make More Than Gray”.  Later in life she authored a book called “Half-Breed’s Hell” to tell her life story of growing up in a racially divided nation. 

Velma made her presence known in the community by taking part in stage work for The Des Moines Community Playhouse in the 70’s.  In 1975 she was asked to be an instructor for the Gateway Queen Pageant.  The purpose of this program was to teach young Black ladies about proper social etiquette and expose them to the finer things in life.  Participants were also given the opportunity to “test” their newly acquired skills at The Des Moines Club at the Ruan Center.   A favorite saying was “If we know better, we can do better”.   One of the ladies, Gwen Johnson, impressed mom so much that she adopted her into our family.      

Mom had a mischievous sense of humor that made people laugh.  One Halloween she tied a plastic bat to a string and tied it to a ceiling fan, so that when Aunt Carmel turned on the fan the bat looked like it was flying.  Let’s just say Aunt Carmel was not amused.

From an early age mom was baptized at St John and was involved with several singing groups most notable was the Golden Voices singing group.  They were requested to sing all over the city and state.  Later she served as a Deaconess at Kyles AME Church under Pastor Moulton.  She later joined her son Rev C. Hall at Corinthian Baptist Church as a mother. 

Velma is preceded in death by her mother & Father Francis & Chance Turner, sister Carmel &, Brother-in-law Ira Hicks and nephew Ira Jr.  Her sons Ryan and Tony Hall and granddaughter Brittany Hall.  Left to cherish her memories are her remaining children Taunia & Gary, Chaunci & Stephanie Hall, Cepaunce & Victoria Hall, Allene Hall and adopted daughter Gwen Johnson.  Nieces Elizabeth (Sissy), Tina & Dash and nephew Dobby & Dawn.  Grand Children Larry Jr. & Ariana Twitty, Tiana & Justin Lopez, Bethany & Thomas Mayo, Shavonne & big Ray, Lauren McMillian along with Ryan and Kyan Hall.  As well as a host of great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.


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Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, December 1, 2023

5:00 - 7:00 pm

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Celebration of Life

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Starts at 2:00 pm

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