Theodore Turner Jr.

Obituary of Theodore Sheldon Turner Jr.

TURNER, Theodore S., 88, of Vancouver, WA, formerly of Tucson, AZ, passed away peacefully on January 31, 2021, at his home. Theodore adored his wife of 43 years, Helen Padilla Turner. Ted leaves his sister, Elsie C. Turner, and brother, Robert C. Turner. His sister, Helen E. Turner, passed away in 2010. Ted is survived by his daughter, Gayle, of Pinole, CA, his daughter Lauren and her husband, Wade Owens, of Vancouver, and his son Christopher, of Tucson. Ted and Helen’s marriage blended two families into one, and he loved frequent family gatherings with Helen’s son James Hostetler and his wife Junie, and sons Mark Hostetler and Daniel Hostetler, and all the Arizona family, who affectionately called him “Theo". He is survived by grandchildren Erin, Lea, Julius, Gabriel, Kora, Dominic, Audrey and Emmy, and many great-grandchildren. Ted was born in Seattle, WA in 1932 to Theodore and Elizabeth Turner, and he was raised in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood. He graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1950, and attended Whitman College briefly before serving in the US Navy during the Korean War. He graduated from the University of Washington, and began a long career as a physicist and optical engineer, first in Connecticut and later in Tucson and Albuquerque, NM. Among the many optical engineering projects on which he contributed was the Hubble Space Telescope. He ended his career with the University of Arizona’s College of Optical Sciences in Tucson. Ted came from a family of musicians and grew up playing chamber music with his parents and siblings. He played violin and viola in community orchestras throughout his life, most recently with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, and the Lake Chelan Bach Fest in Chelan, WA. Ted shared with his family a life-long love of the great outdoors, and was an active mountaineer for many years, from the Washington Cascades, to New Hampshire’s White Mountains, the Adirondacks and Shawangunks of New York State, and the mountains around Tucson. He was an avid skier and hiker, loving the desert, the mountains, the ocean and all natural places, especially his beloved Puget Sound. He never walked in the valley, he climbed mountains. It’s no wonder that he fell in love with optics, the study of light, that mysterious, magical source we take for granted, coming from the immensity of the universe, a world he escaped to often, where his mind could soar in the infinity of space and where, in his mind, he heard music always. He’s home. And every time I look up into the sky I think of him now in that glorious space of the mind and soul of the universe. (from his loving wife Helen) In lieu of flowers, please consider the Plant A Tree tribute, or a direct donation to American Forests or the North Cascades Institute.
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