Obituary: John Turner

John Thomas Turner, 81, died March 18, 2010 after a short illness. He was born Nov. 8, 1928 in Alva, Okla. to John Thomas and Lola (Lockwood) Turner. His father died when he was a year old. His mother married Fred J. Smith when he was 6.

Mr. Turner married Ruth Arlene “Rae” Harding on Nov. 24, 1950 and always referred to her as “the love of my life.” He was inducted into the U.S. Army in 1950 and served in Korea with the 45th Division in communications. This began his lifelong interest in radio communications.

After his service in the Army he moved to Oregon where he became a police officer in the Springfield Police Department.

Later he relocated to Seattle where he dealt with farm equipment.

In 1980, the Tuners moved back to Oklahoma to be near family. In Lamont, Okla. Mr. Turner opened and ran The Landmark Cafe. Their son and daughter joined them there.

When Mrs. Turner died after a long illness, Mr. Turner moved to Enid where he and his son Alan opened the Hearthstone BBQ. The Hearthstone was a favorite of many celebrities who came to Oklahoma for the Annual Grand National Quail Hunt.

His expertise in barbecuing led to Mr. Turner’s appointment as camp cook during the Pioneer Days cattle drive along the Chis-holm Trail’s 100th Anniversary Commemoration of the Cherokee Strip. During the drive he wore a horsehair coat made by his father from one of the horses used to pull his wagon in the Cherokee Strip.

In 2004 he moved to California before returning to Oregon to live with his daughter Deborah and family.

Mr. Turner was a member and trustee of the Enid Amateur Radio Club and served as Section Emergency Coordinator for the Oklahoma ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service). He devoted many hours to both. His other love was motorcycles and he was known for riding around Enid on his Honda Gold Wing.

He was a friend to everyone and devoted many hours to helping people and always had a good story to tell. He was intensely proud of his children and grandchildren, who include a nurse, a corporate chef and two serving in the military. He spoke often of their accomplishments and never failed to tell them how much he loved them.

Mr. Turner is survived by his daughter, Deborah Turner-Buffington of Sweet Home; son Alan Turner and daughter-in-law Diana of Boise, Idaho; former daughter-in-law Laurie Turner; five grandchildren; one great-granddaughter; and brother Wayne Smith of Alva, Okla.

Sweet Home Funeral Chapel is handling the arrangements.

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