Mystic - Raymond M. Turrell Jr., of 1 Whitehall Pond Road, Mystic, formerly of Old Lyme, passed away quietly Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, at home surrounded by his family.
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He was born in Waterbury, on Nov 4, 1928, son of the late Raymond M. Turrell Sr., and Anna (Lynch) Turrell. Ray grew up in Waterbury and Woodbury, before joining the Army Air Force in 1947. He studied at Lackland Air Force Base, Randolph School of Aviation Medicine and Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas. He attended his first optician's school at the St. Louis Medical Laboratory. He served in Yokohoma, Japan as a World War II occupational soldier, optician and surgical technician. In his spare time, he spent many hours playing baseball and toured Japan with the 5th Army Medical Service Team. Upon his return, he was the Pomperaug League Batting Champion. He was also a Babe Ruth baseball coach in New London.
Upon honorable discharge in 1949 and under the G.I. Bill, he pursued a career in opticianry and studied at Bridgeport and Hartford Universities, Hillyer and Mitchell Colleges and received his Connecticut Optician's License in 1953. Under the tutelage of doctors, Robert Haines and Anastasia George, he learned the art of testing and refracting eyes. In 1954, he opened Professional Opticians, the first retailing optical establishment and ophthalmic laboratory on 18 Meridian St. in New London, where it soon expanded to Groton, Pawcatuck and Hartford. In 1961, inspired by an article in The New London Day about Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt explaining the advantages of hearing aids built into eye glasses, he trained to dispense and fit hearing aids.
He actively participated in both political parties and was acknowledged by President Richard Nixon for coordinating his 1962 re-election in Old Lyme. He continued his political career as a candidate for the 20th District Senate Office. He was also appointed to the Boards of Finance and Selectman by the chair of the Democratic Party, Maurice MacCarthy. Connecticut Governor Thomas Meskill, appointed Ray to the Connecticut Commission of Optician and was re-appointed by Governor Ella T. Grasso, as the president of the Commission of Opticians in 1975.
Mr. Turrell was a fifty year member of Brainard Lodge of Masons 102 AF and AM elected master in 1976 and 1980. He was initiated a 32 Degree Scottish Rite Mason in 1964. He served as patron of the Order of Eastern Star, #54. He also served as a Connecticut Auxiliary State Police Officer and enjoyed flying single engine airplanes.
After many years of business, politics and the death of his son, he retired in 1990 and sold Professional Opticians to his associate, William D. Foreman. Upon retirement, Raymond and his wife, Lois, purchased a 135 acre farm in Litchfield, N.Y. and established the Litchfield Christmas Tree Farm. Here, he returned to his love of horses and the countryside, reminiscent of his childhood. In the late 1990s, the Turrells returned to their Old Lyme home, and more recently, Mystic.
In 2003, he self-published a memoir, entitled "Today is Tomorrow's Memories." Copies are available to read in the Groton, New London, Waterford, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Essex, Woodbury and Waterbury Public Libraries.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Lois Lillian (Litfin) Turrell of Mystic, formerly of Middlebury; three daughters, Carrie T. Callahan and her husband, Patrick, of East Machias, Maine, EmmaLee T. Goddiess and her husband, James, of Mystic, and Allison L. Turrell and her husband, Lyman, of Austin, Texas; three grandchildren, William Raymond Turrell of Warwick, R.I., Rachelle Lee Goddiess of New Haven and Bethany Adeline Goddiess of Mystic; and his siblings, Dorothy Forino and Maebelle Ramos, both of Waterbury, Franklin Turrell of Torrington and George Turrell of Waterbury.
He was predeceased by his son, Robert Raymond Turrell; and sister, Ethel Jervis.
Calling hours will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, at Byles Memorial Home, 99 Huntington St., New London, with a Masonic service at 3 p.m. Private burial date in Woodbury to be announced.
Donations in his name may be made to Masonic Charity Foundation, 74 Cheshire Road, Wallingford, CT 06492 or Hospice Southeastern Connecticut, 227 Dunham St., Norwich, CT 06360.
Please visit www.byles.com for directions, to sign his guest book or to share a memory.
Byles Memorial Home - New London
99 Huntington St New London, CT 06320
860 442 0343
Published in The Day on Dec. 15, 2012