Donald Edward Turnell of Lewes, Del., formerly of Oak Bluffs, died on Monday, Jan. 11 at Christiana Care Health Systems in Newark, Del., after a short battle with leukemia. He was 69.

Donald was born on Dec. 2, 1946, in Providence, R.I., to Chester and Alice (Canning) Turnell.

He lived in Rhode Island until his father’s job relocated the family to Utica, N.Y. He eventually moved back to Providence, and then to the Boston area, where he worked for Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Eventually, he and his family of three sons moved to Martha’s Vineyard, where Don was a fourth generation of settlers in the Oak Bluffs Camp Meeting Association. The Turnell family owned the Flying Horses Carousel from 1896 to the late 1940s.

On the Vineyard, Donald pursued a career in construction and also managed the Harbor View Hotel. In 1996, he met Donna Jeanne and shortly thereafter moved to Englewood, N.Y., where they were married on August 9, 1997, and lived until July 2013, when they retired to Lewes, Del.

During their 18-year marriage, Donald and Donna Jeanne traveled extensively, including 12 trips to California and the wine valleys, Aruba, Curaçao, Hawaii, London, and finally a two-week cruise to the Caribbean in November 2013.

Donald loved carpentry, and was known to be able to fix almost anything. He was a beachgoer, and enjoyed boating in his retirement. He also was an avid reader of the author Clive Cussler.

He is survived by his wife, Donna Jeanne (Schutz) Turnell of Lewes, Del.; his three sons, Don E., Alan, and Michael; five grandchildren; one great-granddaughter; his sister, Patricia Steward; his brother in law, Howard Steward; and his nephew, Scott Steward, all of Martha’s Vineyard.

A gathering of friends and neighbors of the close-knit cul-de-sac where the Turnells lived will be held at a later date, as well as a memorial service and celebration of Don’s life to be held in New Jersey.

Arrangements are by Parsell Funeral Homes and Crematorium, Atkins-Lodge Chapel, Lewes. A memorial web page and online guest book are available at