It is with a deep sadness that the Towson University community mourns the passing of former Towson football player, Army Sgt. Major Wardell Turner, and former Assistant Athletic Director for Athletic Academic Achievement, Bobbi Madison.
Turner was killed when his vehicle was attacked in Kabul while working as an advisor to a NATO mission training Afghan troops.
Turner joined the Army in 1993 and had been deployed to Bosnia in 1995 and Irag in 2003. For his service, Turner was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart Medal and three Meritorious Service Medals, among others.
Prior to his time in the military, Turner was a four-year letterwinner for the Tiger football team and graduated from Towson in 1989 with a degree in management.
“It is with great sadness that we mourn the death of our Tiger Family member Wardell Turner,” said Tiger head coach, and teammate of Turner in 1988, Rob Ambrose. “We are humbly grateful to his service to our country and we send our prayers to his family.”
After his 25 years of military service, Turner was laid to rest with full military honors on Monday at Arlington National Cemetery. Sgt. Major Turner leaves behind his mother, his wife, five children and three grandchildren. He was 48 years old.
Madison served as Assistant Athletic Director for Athletic Academic Achievement from 2003 until her retirement this past summer.
During her tenure at Towson, Madison established the first learning specialist role in the Athletics Department, started the Faculty Fellows program and started the Pink PAWS initiative to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research with co-founder and former Tiger women’s basketball player Meredith Kennedy.
“Bobbi touched the lives of every student-athlete that she encountered and all of those that worked around her were impacted in a positive way,” said Towson Director of Athletics Tim Leonard. “She was one of the most courageous people that I’ve ever known and continued to dedicate her career to the well-being of our student-athletes even while battling cancer. Bobbi was, is, and will forever be, a Towson Tiger.”
Her hard work paid off by spring of 2008, as Towson student athletes earned a combined cumulative grade-point average of 3.00 for the first time in school history. Since that semester, the cumulative GPA among Tiger student-athletes has been at least 3.00 or higher.
Kennedy was especially grateful for the role Madison played in her life.
“I’ve been trying to find the words and courage all day to describe my sadness over the loss,” Kennedy wrote on her Facebook page last Friday. “She was my best friend, ‘big sis’ and inspiration. We started Pink PAWS together in 2009 to help those, like her, battle breast cancer with some ease and positivity. Little did I know, she would be the one helping me. Bobbi got me through a lot of tough times during college, and for that I will always be grateful. More importantly, she changed me, changed the person I was into the person I was meant to be.”
To read Madison’s full obituary, and for information on where to send flowers or cards, click here.
Video Courtesy of USA Today.