Christopher Madison Turman III died of natural causes on April 24, 2020 at his home in Chestnut Hill. He was 85. Known for his friendly demeanor and generosity, Chris, lovingly known as “Christy” to family and close friends, was often seen walking with his poodles, offering greetings to friends and strangers alike. He was a tireless fundraiser for charities, raising millions of dollars over his lifetime and often joked about people seeing him and crossing the street to avoid a solicitation. An avid reader, Chris was also an accomplished sailor, a hunter, lifelong fan of Philadelphia sports and even a Nantucket Lightship Basket weaver. He loved spending time on the beach with family and friends. Turman was the President and CEO of Morris Wheeler, & Co. Inc., a leading Philadelphia steel company, which for 175 years was owned and operated by his family—one of America’s longest continuously family-run businesses. Morris Wheeler steel supports William Penn’s statue atop city hall, the roof of Independence Hall, and the fence around Christ Church, among many other important historic business, government and cultural landmarks across the Delaware Valley. Turman attended Germantown Friends School through the eighth grade. In 1953, he graduated from Woodbury Forrest School in Virginia and followed his father in attending the University of Virginia, earning a BA in 1957. He was a member of Delta Phi Fraternity. As a freshman varsity college wrestler, Turman suffered a career-ending injury in a pre-season match against Gallaudet University, the nation’s preeminent university for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. In an ironic twist of fate, Turman dedicated 31 years to volunteer service to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (PSD), the last six, as its Chairman and CEO. He, along with a handful of others, are credited with relocating the campus and significantly expanding its programs and outreach, thereby impacting a generation or two of Philadelphia’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. Turman also served on the Boards of Germantown Hospital, the Mid-Atlantic Steel Service Center Institute, the Allegheny West Foundation and Springside School (now known as Springside Chestnut Hill Academy). He was active in his later life as a volunteer at the Philadelphia Free Library’s Chestnut Hill Branch. His extensive charitable work was recognized by both the Philadelphia Phillies and Eagles, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Council of Southeastern Pennsylvania, PSD, Germantown Hospital, among many others. Turman is survived by Molly Cornelius Turman, his wife of 55 years; daughter Elizabeth “Binney” Turman Granade and her husband Erik Granade, son Tim Turman and his wife Wendy Deats Turman; son Christopher “Friffer” Turman IV; grandchildren Grace Granade Riley and husband Tim Riley, Eliza Granade, and Madison Turman; his sister Elisabeth “Betsy” Ervin and brother-in-law Robert Ervin; and dedicated longtime caregiver, Florence Parker. A memorial service will be held at a later date. In this pandemic time of dire need to drive hunger from our community, donations in his memory can be made to Philabundance, attn: Turman Memorial, 3616 S. Galloway St, Philadelphia, PA 19148.
To order memorial trees
or send flowers to the family in memory of Christopher Madison Turman, III, please visit our flower store