IanFest will benefit local family
Winchester — Tragedy marred the dream of a local resident who always wanted to ride cross country to the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota.
Ian Turner, 38, of Winchester, died Aug. 8 as a result of injuries from a motorcycle accident while pursuing his dream. IanFest will be held Saturday to honor him and help his family.
People will gather for an event that celebrates having fun, loving life and cherishing family — all things Ian did daily, said Dana Ridings, a family friend.
“It is probably what Ian is most known for — his family relationships as a father and husband,” said Ridings of Stephens City.
For Kristine Turner, 41, Ian’s wife, the outpouring of love and support has been overwhelming and heartwarming.
The two and a half months since losing Ian have been extremely hard on the family and especially Kristine. For her it has not only been the end of a fairy tale love but the loss of her best friend.
This year’s trip to Sturgis was a longtime goal for Ian, who had been riding motorcycles since he was 15 and wanted to share it with his wife.
Ian and a friend, Robert Conner, took six days riding their motorcycles to South Dakota, because it was “more about the trip driving there than actually being there,” Kristine said. He called and texted her and their two children — Fallon, 12, and Donnovin, 8 — several times a day.
Since Kristine’s back couldn’t have taken the long motorcycle ride, he bought her a plane ticket to meet him there. She last talked to him during a plane layover, and the couple was just looking forward to their “time together,” she said.
Ian arrived Aug. 2 in Sturgis and then headed to the airport to pick up his wife when was in a single-vehicle accident. Ian was an insulin dependent diabetic, so police think he might have blacked out, Kristine said.
Police picked Kristine up at the airport and took her to the hospital where Ian was flown in a helicopter. Their children, Kristine’s mom and Tracey Wagner, a longtime friend of Ian’s, flew out to be with them. Ian was in the hospital for a week before the family decided to take him off life support.
When Kristine and Ian met Sept. 29, 1996, in Chantilly, it was under tragic circumstances — the funeral of her brother, who was also a friend of Ian’s. But even in the midst of that turmoil, the couple “clicked,” she said.
“Within 24 hours of meeting each other, we both told our families we had met the person we were going to marry,” she said.
Ian was living in Beaufort, S.C., where he grew up, but moved to Chantilly two months later to be with Kristine.
Not long after the move, he got a job at Columbia Gas Transmissions/NiSource, where he worked until his death. He held several positions there, but the one he took the most pride in — and the one Kristine liked least — was as a “tower dog.” It involved climbing microwave towers to repair sights on top.
What many people don’t realize about Ian and Kristine is that they were married twice. Their big wedding Oct. 3, 1998 involved a large wedding party and tons of family and friends.
But the couple was first married Valentine’s Day earlier that year in a ceremony by a pond, attended only by their mothers and two friends.
“We just did it for us,” she said.
The couple moved to Winchester in 1999 and had their daughter Fallon in 2000 and son Donnovin in 2004. In 2005, they found a Frederick County home with a few acres, something Kristin always had wanted.
Ian worked hard to support his family, especially after multiple surgeries for back problems left Kristine unable to work three years ago, Wagner said. At one time, Ian worked four jobs to provide for everything his family needed.
“He lived and breathed and woke up every day for them,” Wagner said.
Knowing how important family was to Ian, Wagner said he is sure Ian would be happy and grateful to see the community rally around them for IanFest, which will be held from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday at Izaak Walton Park, 2863 Millwood Pike.
The family fun day will have games, contests, an auction, music and a pasta dinner. Some activities are ticketed and some are by freewill donation. All proceeds will benefit the family.
“Until his life insurance gets settled, Kristine and the family are having a hard time,” said Wagner of Winchester. “We are just trying to help out the family and make it a little bit easier on them.”
The event will feature live music by Kim Moon, face painting, a moon bounce and pony rides, Ridings said. There also will be a photo booth from Plan Bee Artz, a rental business Ian and Kristine ran together.
An archery contest will pay homage to the sport that Ian shared with his daughter, whose dream is to compete in the sport in the Olympics in 2020.
“That was our thing,” said Fallon, a seventh-grader at Admiral Byrd Middle School.
Donations of items for the silent auction have been steady, Ridings said. Some of the prizes will include a beach house stay, a 42-inch television, a pool table, riding lessons, an autographed Corvette picture and racing gloves from Tommy Milner, artwork, tools, jewelry and custom knives.
Celebrating Ian’s life will be both joyful and painful for Kristine. It hurts for her to look at pictures, and even the good memories are hard to think of right now.
But the thing that makes her feel proud — and what IanFest will embrace — is the way Ian knew the importance of his family and demonstrated it. “His biggest dream was to be a good father and husband.”
For more information about IanFest call 540-692-9146, email 2012IanFest@gmail.comor go to the event’s Facebook page.
— Contact Laura McFarland at firstname.lastname@example.org