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William J. Turner

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William J. Turner Obituary
William J. Turner

Melbourne, FL

William J. Turner, 87, died on Sunday, June 29, 2014. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Florence Turner; sons, Ralph Turner and Mark Turner, and daughters, Sandra McCullough and Debora Nelson. Bill was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN on August 18, 1926. He enlisted into the Army Air Corps during WWII as an aviation cadet for pilot training. While still in high school he started taking flying lessons so as to obtain his private pilot license. At the end of WWII he returned back to civilian life to continue his love of flying.

By 1947 he had his commercial pilot license along with the flight instructor rating. For several years he taught civilian student pilots in the Minneapolis area then by 1949 he flew a sea plane for a resort in Northern Minnesota doing charter work while flying fishermen in and out of the best fishing lakes.

In 1950 he reenlisted in the Air Force to gain experience in large twin engine aircrafts. He was flying the 13-25 when the Korean War started, then was flying the Douglas A-26 in night combat introduction for 55 missions. During that time he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Metal while flying night interdiction in the mountains of North Korea. Returning from the war he was assigned to the Air Research and Development Command at Hanscom Field in Bedford, MA. He met Florence Robitaille and was married six months later. At the end of his enlisted time First Lieutenant Turner resigned his commission rather than accept indefinite commission.

By that time he had been hired as a pilot for Eastern Air Lines. Bill flew 27 years with Eastern, while raising four children on Long Island, NY. After his retirement from Eastern in 1982, they eventually moved to FL, living several years in Daytona Beach. By 1987 they became permanent residents of FL, first in Suntree for 10 years, and then Indian River Colony Club, Melbourne.

Services are Wednesday, July 2nd at 10 a.m. at Ascension Catholic Church, 2950 N Harbor City Blvd., Melbourne.

Published in FLORIDA TODAY on July 1, 2014
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