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Life Story / Obituary
Hardworking and deeply committed Robert James Turner lived a life rich in family. Bob was a man who welcomed each day as a gift and who gave his best in all his endeavors. A kind and loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. Bob will be deeply missed and fondly remembered.
Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression, 1931 beheld a power of hope that undulated in the hearts of many. With a natural drive to not just endure but thrive in the face of uncertainty, the nation continued to put one foot in front of the other to build a better future. Nowhere was there a greater sense of hope than in Saskatoon, Canada as Alfred and Winifred (Radley) Turner welcomed their son Bob into their hearts and home on February 17.
Growing up during the 30s and 40s Bob learned the values of family, hard work, and self-reliance upon which he built the rest of his life. The youngest of the Turners’ children, Bob was always surrounded by those he loved and a lot of activity. While his father worked for the railroad and his mother was a homemaker, the family fell on hard times during the Depression. One of their six children died as an infant and another brother drown at age 12; Teddy and Harry. The family also had to live in a boxcar for a while. Despite the hardships they endured, the family found deep comfort in one another’s good company. Bob’s sister Dorothy (Dot) and brothers Alfred “Gaff” and William “Weez” proved great companions.
Known as "Skin" to his closest friends and family, Bob was a naturally gifted athlete, Bob loved to golf and earned many awards when he was younger. He attended high school through the 10th grade when he chose to quit to play hockey. He enjoyed quite the career in hockey. First playing for the Windsor Spitfires, he then played for the New Haven Blades. Eventually, he played for the Grand Rapids Rockets, a Red Wings farm club. After five years of play with the Rockets, Bob was forced to quit the game when a severe shoulder injury ended his career.
Good fortune found Bob renting a room at a home on Walker St. in Grand Rapids, where he was invited across the street for Christmas Eve dinner. There he met Barbara Jean Dauksza. Instantly smitten, the young couple began dating and soon fell in love. A year later, they married on March 21, 1953, at St. John’s Evangelical Church and celebrated afterward with a reception at the Elks Country Club.
Upon returning to West Michigan after honeymooning in Canada, Bob and Barb settled into a home on Grand Rapids’ Northeast side. In time, the couple moved to Pine Street NW where they were blessed to raise their three children; Diana, Joseph, and John. Bob provided for his family during the early days by working Construction. He later worked for Falarski Meats and eventually for the Grand Rapids Golf Course. Bob and Barb raised their children with firm family values that included not only hard work but wonderful vacations as well. Many of these vacations were enjoyed at Big Star Lake Camping and at a family cottage on Pickerel Lake in Newaygo where many fond memories were created.
Bob was a humble man who enjoyed the simple things in life. Never a picky eater, he loved to eat and would eat anything. He also enjoyed cooking. His cabbage rolls and soups were unrivaled, and his meals were always fondly referred to as “Bob’s Creation.” For a time Bob went deer hunting, but his true love was golf. He continued to be an avid golfer all his life and played many a game at Grace Will Country Club. He loved sports of all kinds, especially hockey. He was an unwavering fan of the Detroit Red Wings and all the Canadian teams. When he wasn’t cheering on his favorite hockey teams, he enjoyed catching the Detroit Tigers or Lions. Anything golf instantly grabbed his attention, and he was an enormous Tiger Woods fan. If a game wasn’t on TV, chances are the Lawrence Welk show was. Bob loved to dance and particularly enjoyed the tunes of his youth. Bob and Barb were also members of the Casino Club.
There was nothing more important to Bob than his family and was very close to his in-laws. As his children grew and blessed him with six grandchildren, his joy grew beyond measure. He relished in sharing time with his loved ones and was even more delighted upon becoming a great-grandfather to his nine great-grandchildren.
Bob retired at 58 for health reasons. Barb continued to work and was a secretary for Lear Inc. and RPC Inc. until the age of 80. 17 years ago, they moved from the family home to Dartmouth St. Two years ago as his health diminished, Bob needed a pacemaker. Bob hated going to the doctor, and he never visited a hospital. As he wished, he died peacefully in his sleep in the comforts of his home on Tuesday, May 7.
Clearly, the world feels less certain in the absence of Bob’s steadfast presence. May it afford comfort to know that whether cooking a great meal, cheering on the Redwings, golfing under par, or scratching off a winning lottery ticket, each of us will continue to share Bob’s legacy in our own lives. In this way, he will continue to inspire others as much as he inspired us.
Robert James Turner, aged 88 of Grand Rapids, peacefully passed away at his home on Tuesday morning, May 7, 2019. He was preceded in death by his parents, Alfred and Winifred Bradley; his siblings, Dot (Bill) Galley, Gaff (Ruby) Turner, Theodore Turner, an infant brother, and his sisters-in-law and brother-in-law, Rita Turner, Virginia (Dick) Wynalda. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Barbara Turner (Dauksza); children, Diana (Phillip) Peppler, Joseph (Barbara) Turner, John Turner; grandchildren, Kelly (Lukas) Dent, Katie Razmus, Ben (Katie) Turner, Gina (Shawn) Martin, Gabriel Turner (fiancé Whitney), Bart (Denise) Peppler; 9 great-grandchildren; brother, William “Wezel” Turner; sister-in-law, June (Edward) DeGrandi; many nieces, nephews and friends. A service to celebrate Bob’s life will be held on Saturday, May 18, at 11:00 am at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW, with visitation on Saturday from 10:00 am until the service begins at 11:00 am. Burial in Rosedale Cemetery. To read more about Bob’s life, to sign his guest book and to leave your own memory of him, visit his web page at www.lifestorynet.com