Turkington, Mary

Year Inducted: 
Mary Turkington
  • January 17, 1997 declared Mary E. Turkington Day in Topeka, KS
  • Executive Director of Kansas Motor Carriers Association from 1968 until 1977
  • American Transportation Association S. Earl Dove Award winner in 1996
  • Kansas Turnpike Authority Chairman 

        Mary Turkington graduated from the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University Of Kansas in 1946. After graduation Mary went to work for Kansas Motor Carriers Association where she stayed until her retirement in 1997. She was named Executive Director of the Association in 1968 and stayed in that position until 1997. She represented the highway transportation industry before the Kansas Legislature throughout her 51 years with the agency. Just before her retirement, January 17, 1997 was declared Mary E. Turkington Day in Topeka and the state of Kansas by Governor Bill Graves and Topeka Mayor Butch Felker.  She has been known as “The First Lady of Kansas Trucking.”

        In October of 1996, Mary was awarded the S. Earl Dove Award at the American Trucking Association convention. The Dove award is the ATA’s most distinguished honor. It was awarded in recognition of her 50 years of service and leadership to the trucking industry. The award is given to recognize an individual whose dedication and contribution of energy, intelligence and time have advanced the interests of the trucking industry, trucking associations and the country.

        Mary was quoted in a news article saying about her retirement, “I’m not going to go into the woodwork.”  She had made good on that promise. In 1998, the Governor appointed her Chairperson of the Transportation 2000 Committee – a group of Kansans whose six-month study of the state’s transportation needs was designed to create an inventory of future projects.

          A resident of Topeka, Kansas, Mary was first appointed to the Kansas Turnpike Authority in May 1997 by Governor Bill Graves. She was elected Chairman of the Authority by the other board members in October 2000, and was reappointed to the Authority by Governor Kathleen Sebelius in May 2005. Governor Mark Parkinson reappointed her for an additional four-year term in May 2009. She is also a founding member of the influential Kansas Economic Lifelines organization, and has been serving as co-chair for more than a decade.

          Mary is also active in organizations related to highway safety and the commercial vehicle industry, and serves on many civic and business boards. She is the past Board Chairman, and currently on the Executive Committee of the Kansas State Historical Society, Inc. Member of Kids Voting Kansas, Inc. Board of Directors in Topeka, and past Chairman and current board member of the Capital City Area Chapter of the American Red Cross.

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