Former Hall County Tax Commissioner W. Byron Turk, 94, of Gainesville died Thursday.
Turk began his post as tax commissioner Jan. 31, 1961. According to his former secretary, Mildred Pinson, Turk was wonderful to work with.
"He was always effective in what he did and was always respected," Pinson said.
One of Turk's most impressive actions as commissioner came during his second year in office, in the midst of segregation. A firm believer in equality, Turk desegregated the voting forms, changing the yellow forms reserved for African American voters to the same white paper used for Caucasian voters.
As an employer, Turk respected his employees and trusted them to know their job, Pinson said.
"He had a way of making sure you understood your job, then left you alone to let you do it. He gave us the freedom to work. He expected it to be right," Pinson said.
Turk served as commissioner in Hall County for 28 years, and leaves behind a legacy of compassion and respect.
His brother, Wilburn Turk, said he enjoyed his job.
"He loved it. That's why he stayed there so long," he said.
A personable man, Turk prided himself on remembering the names of the many people he met, said those who knew him. He was a member of St. Paul United Methodist Church where he taught Sunday school and enjoyed golf. His brother said family was his main interest, especially after he retired.
Turk is survived by his son, Robert L. Turk of Gainesville; brother and sister-in-law, Winburn and Martha Jo Turk of Cumming; nieces, Eve Ferguson Odom of Gainesville, Lesa Turk (Jimmy) Whitworth of Lawrenceville, Carol Turk of McDonough; nephews, David (Pam) Turk of Oakwood, Mike (Dana) Ferguson of Gainesville, Bobby (Sandy) Ferguson of Cornelia; and many other friends and relatives.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Gainesville. Little and Davenport Funeral Home is handling funeral arrangements.