Dr. Robert S. Turner (1928 - 2019)

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  • "Dr. Turner was a doctor at Lovelace when I met him. I was..."
    - Dolores Chavez de Daigle
  • "Bob Turner and I met in the mid1960s when, as a young..."
    - James Parker
  • " Dr. Turner assisted in my spinal surgery in 1971. Without..."
    - Elaine Watson
  • "Dr. Turner was a friend, colleague and mentor. He wrote a..."
    - Reza Ghadimi
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Service Information
Memorial service
Saturday, Sep. 28, 2019
2:00 PM
Monte Vista Christian Church
9501 Campus Blvd. NE
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Dr. Robert "Bob" S. Turner

Dr. Robert "Bob" Stanley Turner, 90, beloved husband, father, stepfather, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, and friend of Albuquerque, NM, passed away on Saturday, September 7, 2019, after a lengthy illness.

Robert was born on Saturday, November 24, 1928 to Roberta "Ruby" Lydia McMillin Turner and Henry George Turner in Waterloo, IA. He grew up on the family farm, one of seven children, with a well-loved dog, Shep.

Robert graduated from Dunkerton Consolidated High School in 1946, where he played basketball and baseball, kept honeybees to help pay for his college education, all while being responsible for a wide range of farm chores.

Robert went on to study medicine at the University of Iowa. During the summer, he built silos for his brother Floyd Turner's company and worked at a John Deere tractor factory.

While in medical school, Robert met Dorothy Lavonne Burgess, a nurse whose work included the iron lung polio ward, on a blind date. They wed in 1953 in Charles City, IA, and had three children, Bruce Burgess Turner, Ann Marie Turner O'Rourke, and Kent Thomas Turner.

Following medical school, he fulfilled his internship in Phoenix, where he and Dorothy fell in love with the southwest. He additionally served in the Public Health Service at Tahlequah, OK, where he attended to the Cherokee community, and this was a defining time in his storied life and prolific career. He went on to complete his orthopedic residencies in San Francisco, which included treating inmates at Alcatraz prison, and later patients at Shriner's Hospital in Philadelphia.

Though he never lost his fondness for Iowa, Robert and his family settled in Albuquerque. He was impressed with the work and vision of William Randolph (Randy) Lovelace II at the Lovelace Medical Center, and after he joined in 1961, he played a significant role in the early history of Lovelace. As a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, he mentored 16 orthopedic residents affiliated with the University of New Mexico School of Medicine.

Of his many professional accomplishments, Dr. Turner performed surgery in the first laminar flow, ultra-clean room, where technology from Sandia National Laboratories' particulate-free computer rooms was modified for surgical sterility. His work was published in several medical journals over decades, and he traveled internationally to give medical presentations. At Lovelace, Dr. Turner served as the orthopedic department chair for many years, was part of the board of governors, and served twice as the president of the New Mexico Orthopedic Association.

In 1965, Robert and Dorothy became season ticket holders for the University of New Mexico Lobos and attended the inaugural game at "the Pit" basketball arena in 1966, and he continued to attend until recently.

Robert lost Dorothy to illness in 1985, and in her honor, he established the Dorothy Turner Memorial Seminar to explore a wide range of topics regarding spirituality and health.

Robert found love again and married Karen Conway in 1990. The family grew to include Karen's children, Rebecca, Geoff, and Strom Peterson. Robert and Karen traveled extensively, visiting places near and far, from Mongolia to Mexico. Turkey was a favorite spot, and they returned several times. They participated in several community organizations, and first met at Carrie Tingley Hospital, where Dr. Turner served as a board member. He supported the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and served on its Foundation board, and Robert and Karen were founding supporters of the OffCenter Community Arts Project, addressing homelessness. Robert was a long-standing member of the Monte Vista Christian Church, serving in many capacities, and on the board of the Black River Conference Center.

Robert also contributed to the development of the Sandia Tram, marking a longtime love of the Sandia Mountains. He and Karen lived at the base of the mountains for 25 years, and not a day went by that Robert did not remark on the beauty of the Sandias.

Dr. Turner was preceded in death by his mother, Ruby; father, Henry; brothers, Theodore, Floyd, Donald, Richard, and Ronald. He is survived by his wife, Karen; a sister, Ruby Schroeder (husband, Bruce); children, Bruce, Ann (husband, Kenneth), and Kent; stepchildren, Rebecca, Geoff (partner, Jacki Noe), and Strom (wife, Maria Montalvo); grandchildren, Kimberly Ann O'Rourke and Jennifer Marie O'Rourke; and a great-granddaughter, Leila Kimara Martinez, with whom Dr. Turner enjoyed coloring.

A Memorial Service will be held Saturday, September 28, 2019, 2:00 p.m. at Monte Vista Christian Church, 9501 Campus Blvd. NE. A private family Interment was held at Sandia Memory Gardens. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History (naturalhistoryfoundation.org) and Monte Vista Christian Church. Please visit our online guestbook for Dr. Turner at


Published in Albuquerque Journal from Sept. 15 to Sept. 22, 2019
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