To say Lloyd H. “Jack” Turner loved the sea might be one of the great understatements of all time.

He grew up in Scarborough’s Pine Point, where as a child he dug clams and trapped lobster. He went to school at Maine Maritime Academy and then made the merchant marines his career. Finally, in retirement, he and his wife, Jackie Turner, were caretakers on an island in Casco Bay.

Jackie said her husband, who died of cancer on Friday at 63, loved going to sea because of the solitude and order it brought to his life, and enjoyed being a caretaker because it satisfied his desire to make sure everything ran smoothly.

“He felt that he was a steward of the island,” she said. “He loved the beauty of it. He was a caretaker by nature in many ways.”

Jackie said she had known her future husband since the two were children in the same neighborhood in Pine Point. Jack Turner’s father, in fact, sold her family their house in the seaside community.

“Jack was always on my radar, although he never noticed me until I was 17 or 18,” she said, and the couple married a couple of years after he finally took notice.

She said the couple adapted to the rhythm of life in the Merchant Marine, with him away at sea for two months and then home full time for another couple of months.

“He would come home and repair everything that broke while he was gone,” she said.

“He never liked going away,” she added, but the time at sea as a marine engineer gave him time to satisfy a voracious appetite for reading and the simple joy of making sure everything on the ship was running just right.

As their two sons grew older, Jackie said, she could sometimes accompany her husband on freighter trips to Europe. She worked for Waynflete School in Portland and had summers off.

After retiring in 2001, the couple decided to sell their home in Scarborough and travel, but then they saw an ad seeking a caretaker for an island in Casco Bay that often had 200 or so summer residents, but no one in the winter.

There were probably 80 applicants, Jackie said, but the couple got the job.

Life on the island was idyllic, she said, particularly in the fall, winter and early spring when the Turners were the only ones there.

“I often thought it was really sad that we were the only two there (in the winter) because it was so beautiful,” she said, noting that Jack loved to walk around the island with the couple’s two labradoodles, Ghiradelli and Fenway.

After a snow, she said, Jack would take out a snowmobile and go on the carriage roads, creating a trail where Jackie could cross-country ski.

The couple would take floats out of the water in the fall, button up houses for the winter, make any repairs needed after storms, take a break in late February and March and then start preparing for the return of the summer people by putting floats back in and opening up houses.

“You have to embrace the solitude (in the winter) and then embrace the community in the summer,” she said. “At first I thought it would be a ghost town (in the winter), but then I realized the island was just resting.”

Jackie said her husband also learned in researching his family genealogy that in the 1700s, an ancestor had once owned Bangs Island, which was renamed Cushing Island.

“When he found out that this ancestor had owned it, it was another connection,” she said. “I always wonder what we carry in our DNA because he said he never felt as at home anywhere else.”

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

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