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7/1/08

Ralph Turner's Obituary

On Sunday, June 1, 2008, shortly after arriving in Estes Park, Colo., for a family vacation, Capt. Ralph A. Turner Jr., Ret. USN, collapsed. His children and then paramedics tried to revive him, but they were unsuccessful. The suddenness of his death makes his loss even more unbearable for his family.
Ralph. A. Turner Jr., was born to Ralph A. and Laura B. Turner in New York City on May 11, 1931. His father's career as a commander in the U.S. Navy kept the family moving, but in 1951, Groton Long Point became the family home.
In 1950 Ralph graduated from Maury High School in Norfolk, Va., and began attending the Naval Academy that fall. He graduated with the class of 1954.
In 1958 he married Mary June Puishys of Worchester, Mass., and together they embarked on a career as a Navy family.
Ralph served aboard the USS Renville (APA 277), USS Goodrich (DDR 831), USS Terrebonne Parish (LST 1156), USS Boston (CAG 1), USS Johnston (DD821), USS Oriskany (CVA 34), and was the commissioning commanding officer of the USS McCandless (DE 1084). In 1962 he earned a master of science degree in chemistry from the Naval Post-Graduate School. He graduated from the Naval War College in 1971 and the Defense Systems Management College in 1974. In addition to other shore duty assignments, he served as commanding officer of the Naval Station Norfolk, the world's largest Naval Station, from 1977 to 1979 and the Naval Weapons Station in Earle, N.J., from 1982 to 1984. His decorations included the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal and Gold Star, Navy Achievement Medal and Gold Star, Combat Action Ribbon, and Republic of Vietnam's Navy Distinguished Service Order Second Class.
In 1984 after serving his country for more than 30 years, Ralph retired to Groton Long Point with June. Soon after earning his teaching credentials at Connecticut College, he began his second career. He taught chemistry, physics, and math at East Lyme Junior and Senior High Schools until 1998. Long after he retired from teaching, he continued to be enthusiastically recognized by his former students.
When his wife, June, began to suffer a series of health problems in the fall of 2003, Ralph faithfully took care of her. With support from his family, Ralph ensured that June was able to remain at home, where she died on April 4, 2006. In an autobiography for his USNA 50th class reunion Ralph wrote, "Through this life journey I have made no better decision or been more fortunate than to have had June Turner as my partner. June allowed me to carry on despite the moves (20 in 26 years) and separations (too many to count). She is a thoughtful and giving person, who always put forth the effort to help my career all the while being a successful parent to our four children. Thanks to June we all turned out well."
Ralph enjoyed collecting (but not building!) models of World War II ships and planes, reading historical fiction and military accounts, and studying nature, especially birds, on walks around his neighborhood. He appreciated the dailiness of his children's lives, and he always supported them in their choices, both personal and professional. Through his example he inspired his children to live with honor and integrity. Everyone who knew Ralph enjoyed his outgoing personality and humor.
Ralph A. Turner Jr., is survived by his four children, Ralph A. Turner III, (Darlene Sherman), Barbara (Mark) Powell, Elizabeth Turner (Judy Vega), and Nancy Turner. He is the much-loved Grandpa Ralph to Laura Powell, and he is Papa to his "Audrey Dear" (Vega Turner). His third grandchild, Emilia June Vega Turner, was born the day after he died. He is also survived by Sister M. June and Sister M. Lawrence of the Order of St. Casimir, Robert and Pauline Puishys, Paula Puishys, and George Crum Sr. and Jr., along with many nieces, nephews, and friends.
On Saturday, June 28, 2008, at 10:30 a.m., the family invites friends and neighbors to attend a memorial service at St. James Episcopal Church in New London followed by burial with military honors at Elm Grove Cemetery in Mystic.
In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes memorials in Ralph's name to be made to the Nature Conservancy of Connecticut, 55 High St., Middletown CT 06457-0716 or to the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation, 291 Wood Road, Annapolis MD 21402.
The family invites you to visit www.mysticfuneralhome.com for the online guest book.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I worked for Captain Turner long ago (1978-1979) as his Yeoman while he was CO at NAVSTA Norfolk VA. He was a heck of a man. I loved him.

I also had the pleasure of meeting his wife June and teaching his daughters to drive in an old VW of his.

I have many fond memories of him and have thought of him often.

G. Covington, Chief Yeoman, USN Retired