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Wilbur Leland Turney


04/27/1923 - 09/06/2015 Obituary
Wilbur Leland Turney Obituary
Wilbur Leland Turney, 92, moved to his heavenly home on Sunday, September 6. He passed away peacefully, with all four of his children by his side.
Wilbur was born in Porterville, CA on April 27, 1923 to Donald and Bess Turney. He attended Porterville Elementary School, Porterville Union High School, and Porterville Jr. College. He was the senior class president in high school and coordinated his class reunions for six decades. Wil was known in Porterville by family and friends as "Leland." He served as Lieutenant in the Marines from 1943 - 1946. He graduated from Santa Barbara University in 1947 with his teaching credential in secondary education, and then obtained his Master's degree from Oregon State University. In 1948 Wil began his thirty-three year teaching career at Bakersfield High School. He taught woodshop, auto shop, and mechanical and architectural drawing. It was while teaching at B.H.S. that an attractive P.E. teacher, who was also the girls' tennis coach, Miss Friel, caught his eye. They married on June 9, 1951 and shared fifty-six wonderful years together until Caroline passed away in 2007. When North High School opened its doors in 1953, "Mr. Turney" transferred from B.H.S. and was there to welcome the new students. He remained good friends with many of his fellow teachers, such as Walt Grainger, Howard O'Neil, Turk Eliades and Elmore Lund throughout the years. He taught at North High for twenty-eight years before his retirement in 1981.
Wilbur was a true cowboy. He was raised on a cattle ranch and always had a passion for horses. He also enjoyed tinkering in his workshop and Dodger baseball. He served as an elder at Fruitvale Community Church, which is now RiverLakes Community Church. He loved the Lord, Jesus Christ, and took great joy in his wife and children.
Wilbur Leland was preceded in death by his parents, Donald and Bess Turney, his wife, Caroline Friel Turney and his older sister, Elaine Lipinski (who passed away in May at the age of 94).
He is survived by his four children, Sue Brittian, Don Turney, Katy Swanson (Bob), Gail Smithson (Dennis), all of Bakersfield; plus seven grandchildren, Matt Brittian (Valerie), Kaycee Beames (Ben) of Santa Cruz, CA, Marti Hoyt (Matt), Joel Swanson (Lisa), Justin Swanson (Danielle), Katelyn Huntington (Rob), Chad Smithson, and twelve great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his younger sister, Marilyn Claverie (age 90) of Fresno, CA.
The Turney family would like to thank the staff at Brookdale Assistant Living for their loving care of Wil, and to Hoffman Hospice for helping to make his home-going peaceful.
A memorial celebration will be held in the chapel at Hillcrest Memorial Park, 9101 Kern Canyon Rd., on Monday, September 14 at 10:00 A.M. followed by a private graveside service. Pastor Milt Cole of RiverLakes Community Church will officiate. Donations may be made to the RiverLakes Community Church Missionary Fund.
Published in Bakersfield Californian on Sept. 12, 2015
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