Howard R. Turner

December 18, 1918 - May 10, 2011 

Howard R. Turner

December 18, 1918 - May 10, 2011 

Obituary for Howard R. Turner

Howard R. Turner Obituary

Howard R. Turner, Documentary Film Writer and Expert in the History of Muslim Science

CAMBRIDGE - Howard R. Turner died at the Massachusetts General Hospital on May 11, 2011 after a brief illness. He was 92 years old. He was a resident of Youville House in Cambridge, MA.

He was the brother of the late Jackson Turner of Wayland, MA and the late Constance T. (Dupee)Berrien of Beverly Farms, MA. And His lifetime Partner the late Robert M. Hertzberg of New York City He is survived by 5 nieces and nephews, 11 great nieces and nephews and 5 great-great nieces and nephews.

Mr. Turner graduated from Milton Academy in 1937 and from Harvard College in 1941. During World War II, he served as a Lieutenant in the U. S. Army, first with the Corps of Engineers and later with the 9th Air Force in England and in France.

He spent most of his 40-year career working as a researcher and script writer for documentary, educational, industrial and public relations films. While doing location- work for the Arabian American Oil Company, he became very interested in historic Islamic art and science. This led him to producing numerous film and magazine articles about the artistic and scientific achievements of medieval Islam. From 1979 to 1983, he served as Curator for Science for “The Heritage of Islam”, an acclaimed traveling exhibition of Muslim arts and science.

In 1997, he published a book, “Science in Medieval Islam: An Illustrated Introduction”. His book has been translated into a dozen languages and is used by many universities around the world as an introductory text.

In his retirement years, Howard was recognized for his volunteer activities with the theatre collections at the New York Public Library and at Harvard’s Weidner Library.

He is remembered and missed as a devoted and enthusiastic friend and relative to all that knew him.

Arrangements are entrusted to the Campbell – Lee Moody, Russell Funeral Home, 525 Cabot Street,Beverly MA. There will be no visiting hours. Burial will be Private at Forest Hills Cemetery Jamaica Plain MA. In lieu of Flowers donations can be made in Howards Memory to Dr. Kenneth L. Minaker Chief Geriatric Medicine Unit Massachusetts General Hospital Charles River Plaza CPZ 502 165 Cambridge Street 5th Floor Boston, MA 02114- 2723. Information, condolences at

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