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Tobe Turpen

1923 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Tobe Turpen Obituary
Tobe A. Turpen

Tobe was born on August 25, 1923 in Flagstaff, AZ to Tobe A. Turpen, Sr. and Irene Harris Turpen. He left this world on October 28, 2017 at the age of 94. Tobe was a very special person â€" generous to a fault. He was an outstanding businessman, a good friend, and a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.

Tobe spent the first five years of his life on the Navajo Reservation, where his father ran the trading post at Shonto, AZ. In 1928 the family moved to Gallup, NM where his father, Tobe Sr. opened a trading post on Third Street, which was the hub for Indian trading at the time.

Tobe, Jr. attended Gallup schools, including Sunnyside Elementary, and graduated from Gallup High School in 1942. There he played center for the Gallup Tigers football team.

After graduation, he attended Texas A & M University for one year. He left school in 1943 to enlist in the United States Navy. He flew 63 combat missions off the aircraft carrier USS Savo Island (CVE-78) in the Pacific Theater during World War II as a Navy gunner on a Grumman TBF Avenger.

Upon returning to Gallup following the war, Tobe worked with his father in the trading post. He learned the business, and in 1954, he bought the trading post from his father. Tobe Turpen's Trading Post remained at the Third Street location until the construction of I-40 forced him to relocate to South Second Street.

Tobe met his wife, Doris Stanich, in the trading post in Gallup. After graduating from nursing school in Minneapolis, MN, she and 40 other nurses were assigned to Ft. Defiance. Doris came into the store one day to shop, and the rest is history. They were married on May 12, 1948 in Chisholm, MN. They raised four children in Gallup.

Tobe served as president of the Inter-Tribal Ceremonial Association in 1960, and was a Gallup charter member of the New Mexico Amigos.

Tobe and Doris donated the land to Gallup McKinley County Schools for the new Jefferson Elementary School, which was recently completed, and they also donated the land for the Tobe Turpen Elementary School in the Mentmore area.

Tobe was an avid golfer, card player, and fisherman; he and Doris went fishing on their honeymoon! Tobe loved attending sporting events, especially college football games. He also attended a Super Bowl, a World Series, the Indianapolis 500, and the Winter and Summer Olympics.

Tobe was preceded in death by his parents, Tobe, Sr. and Irene Turpen; his wife, Doris; and brother, Charles. Tobe is survived by his children, Shelley Barker, Joyce Kozeliski (George), Corby Turpen Dickey (Dwight), and Tobe Turpen, III (Shawn); grandchildren, Andy, Will (Christy), and Kate Kozeliski, Jessica Buchan (Andrew), Tobanna Barker, and Michael Barker (Heather), and Satori and Savanna Turpen; great-grandchildren, Brynn and Ryan Kozeliski, and Avery and Evelyn Buchan; and dear friend and companion for ten years, Jean Porter.

A Celebration of Life for Tobe will be held Monday, November 20, 2017 from 3:00 â€" 6:00 p.m. at The Solo Club, 2500 Candelaria Rd., NE, Albuquerque, NM. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Tobe's name to Rehoboth Christian School, P.O. Box 41, Rehoboth, NM 87322. Please visit our online guestbook for Tobe at

Published in Albuquerque Journal on Nov. 12, 2017
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