SHREWSBURY, Mass. - Turquoise Taylor Grant, born Julie Kristine Upper in Shrewsbury, died of cancer at home with her family, in Ventura, CA.
She was the beloved daughter of Cathlyn White Ortega and William J. Upper; sister of Ethan Dole Upper; niece of Julie White, Phil White, George Upper, and Kristine Upper Ablashi; and also leaves her ex-husband Barton Caplan. She was preceded in death by her grandparents Seward and Clara White, of Santa Paula, CA, and George and Louise Upper, of Providence, RI, and uncle Michael Upper.
Turquoise was born Julie Kristine Upper in Shrewsbury and graduated from Shrewsbury High School. At the University of Syracuse she studied vocal music and dance. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Her genealogical heritage included an ancestral link to the Dole and Rowell Hawaiian missionary families, as well as Sanford B. Dole, the first president of the Provisional Republic of Hawaii, and later governor. Also, she was descended from John Howland, one of the Mayflower Pilgrims.
Extraordinarily talented in many arts, she was famous for her wit and deliciously wicked sense of humor. Turquoise wrote pithy captions for Anne Taintor products, and kept a popular blog. As an actress, she had a deft touch with comedy, both in writing and performing sketch comedy for TV shows in San Franciso. One of her best-known works was a high comedy satire on the perils of living together, divorced - taken from personal, on-going experience.
Turquoise was also an artist, a painter of oils and watercolors in a range of styles from gentle pastoral landscapes to edgy Fauvism. As a singer, she had a powerful voice and sang and composed lyrics for a band called Strange Bird.
After college she worked in marketing for Wells Fargo in San Francisco. Then she took a hiatus in Tucson working on environmental political projects. In Ventura, CA, she worked for the City of Santa Barbara as the executive assistant for the Community Development Director. A lifetime sailor, she joined a racing team out of Santa Barbara Harbor.
She loved to laugh and was the very center of our gatherings. And with aplomb, she graced every segment of society, and took note.
A service will be held at the Universalist Unitarian Church in Santa Paula, CA, at 5:00 p.m on July 29, 2012.
Donations in her name be made to The Nature Conservancy, especially for their work in California protecting the island foxes on Santa Cruz Island - a project Turquoise supported.