Frank Turner GRD ’71, recently appointed University Librarian, professor of history and former University Provost, died suddenly this morning at the age of 66.

University President Richard Levin announced Turner’s passing in a campus-wide e-mail this afternoon.

“We’re all just absolutely devastated,” said Amanda Patrick, director of library development and communications.

Associate University Librarian Kendall Crilly said Turner, who also served as the director of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, was known for his encyclopaedic knowledge of the university, the strong, collegial relationships forged over the years and his constant desire to make more “friends for the library.”

“The library can never have too many friends,” Crilly recalled Turner saying.

Turner, who worked at the University since 1970, was “institutionally-minded” and a faculty member often asked to serve on or chair committees, Deputy Provost Lloyd Suttle said in an e-mail Thursday. Suttle, who worked with Turner since the 1980s and served as associate provost while Turner held the provost post from 1988-1992, said his colleague will be difficult to replace.

“He loved Yale, and he loved the Library, and he had a wonderful vision for how the Library should support faculty, students and scholars, not just at Yale but around the world,” Suttle said.

Turner is survived by his wife, Ellen Louise Tillotson. Tillotson is the rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Torrington, Conn.