Kenneth Dean Turner, husband of Betty Sue McPhail Turner (d.7/2/10), father to Sherry Turner Beard, Debra K Hauser (Kip Hauser), Nancy Turner Singh (Surinder Singh) and Kenneth D. Turner, Jr., (Laura Murel Turner). Grandfather to Sarah Lynn New (Wesley New), R. Kip Hauser, Maya Turner Singh (Dustin O’Brien), Xander B. Singh, Alissa Rose Turner, Alexander M. Turner, Cheryl Hauser, Carie Hauser Agustin, Cathy Seelye Huber (George Huber). Great Grandfather to Lucas, Landon, Jake, Halle, Anna, Emma, Laken, Cyrus, Naveen and Raveena. Kenneth died March 12, 2018. He would have celebrated his ninety-fourth birthday July 20th, 2018.
Kenneth was the second son of Edgar Gaston and Leo Roberts Turner. He is survived by his older brother EG Turner, and his sister, LuReah Turner White, his cousin Jean Everett, his four children, nine grandchildren and ten great grandchildren.
Despite being two months’ premature, Ken enjoyed a healthy and long life. He survived his wife, Betty, by nearly seven years. He achieved fame in the world of boxing at the tender age of seventeen, achieving the title of Golden Glove Bantam Weight Champion in his hometown of San Angelo, Texas. With a winning record of 212 to 1, only losing one tournament to the National Golden Glove Champion, he came back to win a rematch against this fierce opponent. Ken continued to box once he joined the Navy but his focus quickly became the health and well being of his fellow sailors.
At nineteen years of age, Ken felt called to serve as his country was fighting in both Europe and the Pacific during WWII. He chose to enlist January 28, 1943 in the US Navy, alongside his brother EG (submarines) and his brother-in law to be, Alvin White (Flying Tigers). Ken was quickly selected to lead his peers in training, first in Corpus Christi, Texas, and later in Brooklyn, New York. He was selected to receive additional training in the medical corps in Michigan and Louisiana with a neurosurgical team. Once assigned to a US Naval Ship, he quickly gained the moniker ‘Doc’. He was the only medic on board for much of his tour of duty. He was assigned to the USS Skagit and sailed from Brooklyn, NY to Marseille, France May, 1945. Arriving in France on June 16, the ship then sailed to Manila in the Philippines. Arriving August 15, 1945, Ken was there to care for the many US service members who had been captured and served as prisoners of war. He was proud to have witnessed the Surrender Ceremony in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945. After several months in the waters of Asia on search and recovery missions (Okinawa, Guam, Tientsin, Tsingtao and Shanghai), Ken finally returned to US waters in December of 1945. He received an Honorable Discharge as Pharmacist’s Mate, First Class USNR on March 18, 1946 in San Diego, California. He was awarded the Victory Medal, WWII and the Good Conduct Medal.
During his time in the Navy, Ken wore many hats, surgeon, nurse, doctor, food inspector, fire drill instructor, confessor and chaplain. He was ready and willing to serve in any way that he could. Ever the champion of those unable to advocate for themselves, Ken took on this role later in life in the assisted living and memory care homes he lived in the last several years of his life.
Making his way back home to Texas soon after discharge, Ken learned that his parents had relocated to Little Rock, Arkansas. After joining them he soon met his beloved Betty. Ken and Betty married November 7, 1946 in Little Rock, Arkansas and began their family. Ken devoted the remainder of his life to taking care of his family.
He made his living in the men’s clothing business. Owning a small men’s store in Texas, later moving his family to Southern California and working for large retail stores as Men’s Clothing Manager and Buyer for Robinsons, May Company, Steinfeld’s in Arizona and then moving again to Seattle, where two of Betty’s sisters lived. He worked as a Buyer and Manager for the Bon Marche first and later represented clothing manufacturer Ratner. He traveled again to Europe and Asia, but as a businessman this time. He received many accolades over his career as top salesman in his various roles.
Ken and Betty loved to entertain and over the years there were many parties held at their home. He loved a cocktail in the evenings, his favorite was a single malt scotch. And he loved to dance! He and Mom enjoyed ‘cutting a rug’! We kids loved to watch. Dad danced with his daughters and his daughter-in-law and his grand daughter, Sarah at their weddings and any other occasion he could muster. Ken enjoyed visiting his daughter and grandchildren in Boston for many years. He taught his daughter to garden and his grandchildren to golf. He was the loudest clapper in the audience of many a play. He was always the life of the party….or he was the quiet observer in later years. He danced up until the last year of his life, with enthusiasm and joy! He loved a good joke and he loved good old Southern cooking. BBQ Ribs, fried okra, biscuits and gravy and pie! Cream pies, pecan pies, peach pies and cobblers. He never met an ice cream he didn’t like. Dad’s favorite little treats during his last years were chocolate malts, Boehms’ Fudge and Sees Coconut cream candies. He had a sweet tooth and we loved to indulge it!
Dad didn’t talk much about his accomplishments, we had to pull out the stories over time but he was proud of his family. He proudly displayed his son’s ceramics and told people about Kenny’s immense talent. He bragged shamelessly over his daughters’ business acumen. Like father, like daughter. He was equally proud of his many grandchildren and enjoyed hearing about their lives, looking at their photos and FaceTiming on occasion. He had lived a full and happy life. May we all be so fortunate in our lives. He is watching over us.