Longtime county treasurer dies

Ozark County Treasurer Phyllis Turner

Ozark County Treasurer Phyllis Gaulding Turner died Oct. 10 of cancer, the second consecutive Ozark County treasurer to die in office. Turner, an Ozark County native, was appointed to the office in March 2012 by former Gov. Jay Nixon following the October 2011 death of the previous treasurer, David Ford. 

Turner had previously worked for Hallmark Cards Inc. and Image Technologies Corp. in Kansas City before moving back to Gainesville in 2004 after her marriage to John Turner, who is now serving his second term as Ozark County presiding commissioner. 

The Turners have owned and operated the Antler Motel in Gainesville for several years, and Phyllis worked for Bryant Freight before her appointment as county treasurer.

In August 2012, she defeated three other candidates in the Republican primary to be elected to fill the two-year unexpired term for the treasurer’s office. She ran unopposed and was re-elected to the office in 2014 and 2018. 

Ozark County Commissioners Greg Donley and Gary Collins said Monday that Turner’s assistant in the treasurer’s office, Rickie Johnston, will keep the office open during the replacement process. The commission will contact the governor’s office this week to notify it of the vacancy so that the replacement process can begin, they said. 

Those interested in being considered for the appointment should contact the governor’s office and then “fill out the appropriate paperwork,” Ozark County Republican Committee Chairman Roger Pittaway said Monday.

Pittaway noted that the Ozark County Republican Committee will gather Thursday night for its annual meeting, but the session is merely routine and is not being held to discuss a possible recommended replacement to the governor. Pittaway said it’s possible, but unlikely, that the committee would recommend a replacement. A special meeting would have to be held so the committee could meet with those who have filed with the governor’s office, but there’s no requirement that such a meeting would be held – and no guarantee that the governor would accept the committee’s recommendation anyway.

“It would just be our recommendation,” Pittaway said. “The governor will appoint whoever he wants to fill the position.” 

Likewise, the county Democratic committee might also make a recommendation for the governor’s consideration – or not.

Pittaway noted that Turner, a Republican, was originally appointed to the treasurer’s job by former Governor Nixon, a Democrat.     

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423