Lornet Turnbull


Lornet Turnbull, an award-winning journalist with a rich career of story-telling, close friends around the world and an abiding love of nature and the outdoors, died of cancer on Jan. 11, her 59th birthday.

Her beloved husband Steve Haile was at her side in their Seattle home, surrounded by her sister, Lorna Turnbull, and niece LaToya Harrigan of St Thomas, USVI, and niece Sharriann Turnbull of Laurel, MD, and close family and friends.

Lornet is remembered as genuine, sincere, vibrant, determined and engaging, with a warm and beautiful smile.

Lornet was born and raised in the British Virgin Islands on the island of Tortola and spoke often of her warm childhood memories with family and friends.

After graduating with honors with a degree in journalism from Florida A&M University, Lornet went on to work as a reporter for newspapers in Lansing, Michigan; Columbus, Ohio and Akron, Ohio, before joining The Seattle Times in 2004. There, she covered immigration, homelessness, marriage equality and other high-profile issues. While she broke many front page news stories on her beat, her specialty was delving deeper into the lives of everyday people most affected by these highly-charged issues, writing about them with care, dignity and respect.

Lornet left The Times in 2014, later working as an editor for YES! magazine and freelancing for The Washington Post.  Many of Lornet’s stories were instrumental in transforming individuals’ dire situations into positive outcomes.

Lornet was diagnosed with late-stage cancer in 2020, whereupon she began an intense and ongoing treatment regimen that sometimes slowed her, but did not quell her desire to explore life to the fullest.  In the fall of 2021 she and Steve set out on a six week cross-country trip in a small motor home that Steve’s brother loaned them, visiting national parks, riding their e-bikes and striking up new friendships as they made their way to Maine and back. She wrote about their travels for The Washington Post and how pleased she and Steve were to meet so many kind strangers along the way, and is best quoted from that story, “I can close my eyes and travel back there in my mind, reabsorbing all that kindness and humanity we encountered on the road.” She had just completed a freelance story for REI three weeks before she died about her e-biking adventures with Steve.

Along with her husband, sister and nieces, Lornet is survived by stepchildren Megan (Gaelan Kelly) Haile of Seattle,WA, Ryan (Colette Simanello) Haile, of Oakland, CA, and Dylan (Kristin Rosa) Haile, of Santa Cruz, CA; sister Luette (Gary) Pless, of Atlanta, GA; brother Lawrence (Yvette) Turnbull, of St.Thomas, USVI; brothers Larren and Lendell Turnbull, and Irwin Smith of Tortola, BVI.  Additionally, Lornet had a host of aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, great niece and step grandchildren.

A celebration of Lornet’s life is planned for February 19.

RSVP to celebrate the life of Lornet Turnbull. (CLICK THIS LINK)

11 Responses to “Lornet Turnbull”

  • MErlin says:

    Lornet I’m still trying to come to terms with the fact that when you dropped me to the airport just four months ago that that would be our last time together. Thanks for all the beautiful memories through the years. You’ll live on in every mountain range and every trail I roam and every tree I hug. I found this quote and thought it was meant to help me accept the fact that you are no longer here physically.
    “May the breeze whisper that life never ends. Only that it changes and continues forever in a more beautiful place.”
    Goodbye my friend.😭

  • Tee-Ta says:

    Lornet! My oh my! We had such great conversations🙌🏾! I’m so grateful Steve brought us together. Your wisdom, writing & insights were profound and thought-provoking! I’m incredibly thankful we had an authentic connection. Yes, you’ll be thoroughly missed. However, your legacy lives on🫶🏾❤️🤎!

  • Arlene says:

    “And when great souls die, after a period peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly. Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration. Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us. They existed. They existed. We can be. Be and be better. For they existed.” (Maya Angelou)

    Dearest Lornet! My heart aches for you. Thank you for a life-time of beautiful memories, my high school bestie. Love you forever!

  • Cynthia Thomas says:

    My heart aches you’re no longer here, Lorni. Missing you something awful but will forever cherish all the memories and our numerous travels to cities, states, and countries together. Rest peacefully, my friend and beautiful soul.

  • Adrienne says:

    Words cannot express what I am feeling right now. There hasn’t been a day since you departed this earth that I have not though about you my dear friend. You have cultivated so many enduring friendships, created such amazing memories and shared timeless lessons during every season of your life-journey. I will forever cherish every memory and conversation we shared. I will miss you today, tomorrow and forever. Rest In Peace.
    Love always A

  • Ave & John says:

    We were heartbroken to learn about Lornet’s passing. She was an amazing friend. She was special, and even though she’s gone, she will never be forgotten.

    To Steve and the family: Please accept our deepest condolences.

    RIP, our dear friend

  • Narima says:

    Dear sister friend Lornet,

    “I learned that every mortal will taste death. But only some will taste life.”Rumi ; Lornet you lived and tasted life to the fullest in all your stories and adventures.

    What a lasting impact and legacy you left. You will always be remembered as the angel who came into our lives when all hope was lost and you saved our family through your front page Seattle times story in 2010. I never thought our encounter as strangers will result in close friendship. Your brilliance, your heart, compassion, and depth in your journalism and reporting skills will be one the next generation will look to.

    Thank you for the gifts you brought to this world and the lives you impacted. Thank you for your caring always including me and wanting me to know your cherished circle of friends. May those angel wings and your soul rest in peace and power. Thinking of you in the highest of heavens. -Narima-❤️🌻🌻🌻❤️

    In loving memory
    Narima, Masud, and Iman

  • Potter says:

    Lornet, my friend, where did the time go. Seems like just yesterday I texted you I would be in Seattle next summer. I couldn’nt make it for labor day when Adrienne and Merlin were visiting. Yeah, here I was, planning for next summer, like I control time. But time is fleeting and life is but God’s grace. God graced you with a happy and adventurous spirit, and now He graces you peace! Peaceful rest my friend.

  • Ozzie says:

    Lornet, we both came from small British islands in the Caribbean.  But, the first time I met you was in Ohio far away from home, and the last time I met you was in Washington, even further away.  Between those two times we became fast friends.  You befriended me at a time when I was like a fish out of water and needed strong people beside me to help me cope. I will be forever grateful for your friendship, and that warm smile that you were always so willing to share. You have gone, and that makes me sad. I will always remember you.

  • Sharon Rummery says:

    Along with splendid writing and a commitment to the truth, it’s the job of the reporter to maintain a friendly relationship with the public affairs officers who help them with information. Lornet, you went so far further than that to become a dear and valued friend who always made me feel loved and cared for. I’ll carry your memory always, with gratitude for the fun times we shared. Sweet friend, you’re sorely missed.

  • Prof. Michael E. Abrams, Retired says:

    I am saddened to learn of the untimely death of Lornet Turnbull. Lornet was my journalism student at Florida A&M University. For a professor to remember a student from 40 years ago, the student must have been exceptional. As a new professor at FAMU, just out of Universty of Missouri, I learned that my students were as capable as any and could be great journalists someday because I had students like Lornet who were born writers. Reading of her career, of which I knew the start. and her courageous fight against cancer, and her family and so many friends, I think she reached the hearts of many.

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