Thursday, March 24, 2011


If you have been following along, you already know of my interest in death. Since my friend Mary C. Leto found the mystery items hidden in a heating grate, and we collaborated on an artists book that expressed the plight of those buried on Hart Island (potter’s field for New York City), I have been encountering many connections which have lead me down a circuitous path that has culminated in my hosting an A Book About Death ~ Memento exhibition at the Willo North Gallery in Phoenix this May.

During my research about Hart Island, I learned of Julie S. Lantz whose brother died in 1972 at the age of 24 and had also been buried on Hart Island. I was deeply moved by the story of this Honorably Discharged Air Force Veteran, John S. Turner AF 18844546, and his sister’s efforts to have his body exhumed and brought home to Southern California. Initially Julie had been told that her brother’s remains were found, however, to her profound disappointment, a bureaucratic mistake had been made. In addition to the long-overdue military burial Julie was trying to obtain, she wanted to include John’s personal items (his mementos) with his body. Unfortunately without John’s remains, no plot or niche could be used to bury only his things.

While I was putting together the upcoming ABAD ~ Memento exhibition, I contacted Julie with the proposal that I would like to base my postcard entry for the show on John’s story. In addition, Julie agreed to loan all of her brother’s personal items to me, and they will be displayed in a special area of the gallery, telling the unique story of a long forgotten soul, an Air Force Veteran and a beloved brother.

A special ceremony will be performed to honor all of the people represented on the amazing postcards in the show.

1 comment:

  1. This is a wonderful idea. Such a sad story and a great way of honoring the memory of John (and by association, all the other lost and forgotten).