One of the first men to join the League of Women Voters, Turrill provides a unique perspective into the organization’s political work. Born in Hawthorne, California and raised Seattle Washington, Turrill went to Africa with the Peace Corps and then pursued a career as a computer scientist. His involvement with the antiwar movement blossomed into a commitment to civic and political activism, with a particular focus on political reform. As a member of the state board of Common Cause, Turrill worked to make government more transparent through sunshine laws and other reforms. The League of Women Voters’ participation in these campaigns impressed him, and he soon brought his computer science expertise to the League as a member and as Chair of Technology.
Turrill’s family life illuminates the changing economy and gender dynamics that characterized the Baby Boom generation. Shortly after he met met his wife in 1969, he moved with her to the Midwest where she went to attend medical school. As the husband in a dual career household, Turrill shared the child care responsibilities.
Much of Turrill’s work with the League of Women Voters, especially while on the National Board, were products of his educational accomplishments, which influenced much of the projects he pursued with the league. In the early 2000’s, Norman Turrill served on the board of the Portland League, and in 2008, he was elected as the first (and only) man to serve on the National Board. Much of his work while on the national board involved technology; he oversaw the creation of the League’s website and developed the
“League Geeks” who use social media to broaden the League’s membership and expand its voter education efforts.