July 17, 1925 - December 22, 2013 James William Turpin, known as Bill, passed away on December 22, 2013 at home in La Quinta, California. He was surrounded by his wife Mary Lu DeMille Turpin and loving family. He was born in Elk City, Oklahoma on July 17th, 1925 the first son of Mary Amanda McFarland and John Joseph Turpin. He was a month old when he rode on a pillow on his mother's lap on their journey to make a life in California. Bill grew up in Santa Monica and attended Santa Monica High School. As a boy he achieved the level of Sea Scout and an Eagle Scout. He attended the Boy Scout Jamboree (the street was named for this event) in Irvine as a boy. He missed his high school graduation ceremony because he was in basic training, having enlisted, after the attack on Pear Harbor. He served in the Pacific on an Aircraft Carrier. After the war he attended Santa Monica City College where he played football and was president of the Student Body. He transferred to Loyola on a football scholarship and was named to the all-state teams at both schools, playing in All-Star bowl games in Hawaii. He transferred to UCLA and graduated with a degree in Business Administration in 1950. Bill married Marian Luke in 1947 and they had three daughters. They raised their family in the San Fernando Valley and moved to Newport Beach in 1970. Bill worked in the Masonry business with his father and brothers in Los Angeles eventually moving on to general construction and development. His companies, Monarch Construction and Turpin-Whitebook, developed and built many projects throughout California and Nevada, including original parts of Westlake Village, the Westlake Plaza Hotel, and the Sheraton Plaza Hotel in Palm Springs. Bill went to work for Daniel K. Ludwig on his major Princess Resort Hotel projects in the Bahamas, Bermuda and Acapulco. Their corporation, Princess Development International, developed and constructed some of the first resort style hotels in world. He spent two years in the Amazon jungle as the Director General of the Jari Project, in Monte Dourado, Brazil. After his return to the US, he remained active in the building business in Southern California, doing mostly custom homes and smaller projects. He finished his last custom home when he was 84 years old and decided to "hang'um up" - even though he missed it every day. Golf was a life long passion of Bill's and he was fortunate to play many famous courses all over the world, but none could surpass Augusta National, which he said was the ultimate! He was a long time member of Big Canyon Country Club and enjoyed many years playing there. He loved the water, and while living on Lido Isle enjoyed being "at the helm" while boating with family and friends. He crewed in the Ensenada Races out of Newport Beach for many years on the San Souci and Altamar.. He was an avid reader and sports fan and never missed the chance to watch a UCLA football game. He married Marylu DeMille and they spent 20 wonderful years together, building custom homes in the Quarry, Tradition and the greater Palm Springs area - traveling, playing golf and spending time with family and friends, enjoying their life in the Quarry Golf community in La Quinta. Bill is survived by his wife, Marylu DeMille Turpin; his sister Pat Turpin Sayre and brother Jack Turpin(Theresa); daughters, Randa Rielly(Bruce), Karin Kloehn(Gary), Cathy Tash(Gary); step-daughters Deanna Spiegel(Jerry) and Dixie Farber(Jeff); grandchildren, Bill and Shawni Jackson, Karrie and Cory McCluskey, Blake Rielly, Alex Kloehn, Casey Kloehn, Allison Tash, Kylie Spiegel and Justin Spiegel; great-grandchildren; Tate, Tucker, Ella and Callan; and many beloved nieces and nephews and their families; golf buddies and dear friends.
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Published in the Los Angeles Times on Feb. 9, 2014