Geills Turner

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Geills Turner
Spouse of the Prime Minister of Canada
In office
June 30, 1984 – September 16, 1984
Preceded by Maureen McTeer
Succeeded by Mila Mulroney
Personal details
Born Geills McCrae Kilgour
(1937-12-23) December 23, 1937 (age 79)
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Citizenship Canadian
Spouse(s) John Napier Turner (m. 1963)
Children 4
Relatives David Kilgour (brother)
Alma mater McGill University
Harvard Business School

Geills McCrae Kilgour Turner (first name pronounced "Jill";[1] born December 23, 1937) is the wife of John Napier Turner, a former Prime Minister of Canada.

Life and work[edit]

Turner, the eldest of three children, was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She is the great-niece of John McCrae, author of the poem In Flanders Fields, and the sister of long time Alberta Member of Parliament David Kilgour. Her father was David Kilgour, Sr., who was the chief executive officer of Great West Life Assurance Company.[2] Turner grew up in a wealthy family. She excelled in science and mathematics, and graduated from McGill University with a degree in math and physics.[2] She enrolled in the post-graduate business administration course at Harvard Business School. After graduating from Harvard, she left the United States since investment firms in New York City were not interested in hiring a woman.[2] Turner moved to Montreal to work for IBM. Author Gordon Donaldson called her an "upper-crust pretty [girl]".[1]

She met John Turner when she was a campaign worker for his first election campaign[2] and she "brought computers into Turner's campaign."[1] They married in 1963 and have four children: Elizabeth (born 1964), Michael (born 1965), David (born 1968), and James Andrew (born 1972).[2][3]

Besides this, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation states that "She was not keen to subsume her personality to further her husband’s goals, and for the most part stayed out of the spotlight." She also did not like the way she was portrayed in the press and therefore tried to stay away from it.[4] In his book Birds of a Feather: The Press and the Politicians, Allan Fotheringham claimed that Turner tried to exact her revenge on the press during the 1988 election campaign by secretly taking photographs of journalists partying on a campaign bus, with an eye toward publishing them in a magazine. The photographs were never subsequently published, however, and Fotheringham states that John Turner himself most likely killed the idea.[5]

After the family returned to Toronto, Turner enrolled in a four-year photography program at Ryerson University.[2]

In 2001, Turner made news when she crashed her minivan and was charged for careless driving. She claimed that she had momentarily stopped driving responsibly to save her dog.[6]

In March 2008 Turner brought an action in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice against the City of Guelph, claiming ownership of several of John McCrae's wartime medals which were donated to the McCrae House in 1997 and 2005. She was seeking to have personal possession of the medals. The action was settled in 2012 with an agreement for the medals to remain with the museum.[7][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Gordon Donaldson, The Prime Ministers of Canada, (Toronto: Doubleday Canada Limited, 1997), p. 306.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Gall, Nancy (June 15, 1984). "Geills Turner: Athletic, intense, and 'very much her own woman'". The Montreal Gazette. p. A7. Retrieved October 19, 2014. 
  3. ^ Martin, Douglas (June 18, 1984). "MAN IN THE NEWS; NEW LEADER FOR CANADA: JOHN NAPIER TURNER". The New York Times. Retrieved October 19, 2014. 
  4. ^, "Leaders: Geills Turner," URL accessed 22 December 2006.
  5. ^ Allan Fotheringham, Birds of a Feather: The Press and the Politicians, (Toronto: Key Porter Books, 1989), p. 216–217. ISBN 1550131664.
  6. ^ "Former PM's wife chooses dog over car", Alaska Highway News. Fort St. John, B.C.: July 27, 2001. pg. A.2.
  7. ^ City reveals it faces 14 lawsuits. Guelph Tribune, March 15, 2011.
  8. ^ "Poet John McCrae's medals to stay in Guelph". Guelph Mercury, February 9, 2012. Retrieved 2014-01-14