Gerald Dee Turner
1924 - 2018
Gerald Dee Turner, farmer/rancher and lifelong resident of Pawnee County, died Sunday, November 18, 2018, at the age of 94. He was born in Pawnee on June 21, 1924, to John Halley and Sadie Jane (Schacher) Turner.
A lifetime advocate of farming/ranching, Gerald didn’t get his start in agriculture the typical way. He lived in town, but spent summers and after school on his Grandpa JD Turner’s farm. While in elementary school, Gerald’s first agricultural investment was a $35 bred cow he bought from a car salesman. Only Gerald Turner would buy a cow from a car salesman! He made a collar for the cow and staked it in the alley in town by his house. He would move the cow every day so it could eat fresh weeds. After the calf was weaned, he sold it for $35. After that he was hooked on the cattle business.
After graduating from Pawnee High School in 1942, he served in the Army Air Corp from 1942 to 1946. In his time as an Army sergeant, he was stationed in England, Belgium and Germany as an airplane mechanic and prison guard. He returned to Pawnee where he worked as an oil field roughneck, derrick hand and driller, all the while building a small cattle herd.
Gerald met Ella Mae Holdeman when he helped his father move her dad’s cattle from Pawnee to Perkins and later when she worked in the Pawnee drugstore. They married September 4, 1954, in Kingfisher, Okla., and moved to Gerald’s dad’s 160 acre farm/ranch near the old Lone Jack School. They would live there for the next 23 years raising their five children.
In addition to the oil field, Gerald worked several other jobs to “support” his farming, including the City of Pawnee Light and Water Plant where he pumped and treated water; Pawnee Police Department patrolman; Pawnee City Electric Department lineman; Emle Mills as an evening supervisor; Swan Rubber Company in the electric department; night watchman and pumper at Ames Oil; and lastly Benson Mineral Group watchman and pumper. He mostly worked nights so he could be home to help on the farm. In 1977, they built their current home place on 80 acres a few miles outside of Pawnee. Gerald’s exact words were “We are uptown now! We have running water and an automatic washing machine.”
He valued hard work and was passionate about instilling work ethic in his kids and grandkids. He and Ella Mae started with nothing, but they worked hard and built their farm/ranch to more than 1,200 acres of land. He felt blessed to have a good life and children and grandchildren who carry on the family legacy of being involved in agriculture. All five children and five of six grandchildren are actively involved in farming and ranching. Gerald said, “I am really proud of them. We have great children and grandchildren who got an education and have done well for themselves.”
Gerald is survived by his wife of 64 years, Ella Mae, sons Dee Turner, Pawnee; Pat Turner, Ralston; and Terry Turner (Debbie), Skedee. Two daughters, Jane Imgarten (Tom), Red Rock, and Lana Kincaid (Dennis) of Nardin. Six grandchildren, Guy Turner (Amber), Ralston; Crystal Turner, Tulsa; Wilton Imgarten (Becca), Red Rock; Jerri Imgarten (fiancé Brandon Whitley), Dodge City, Kansas; Kayla (Kincaid) Adams (Jeremiah), Kingston; and Kacy (Kincaid) Jackson (Jacob), Blackwell. Four great-grandchildren, Jackson and Johnathan Turner, Ralston, and Riggin and Tinley Adams, Kingston. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother John Robert Turner; and sister Judy Turner.
Anyone who knew Gerald can tell you he was never at a loss for words. He never knew a stranger he couldn’t talk to or share a story. We thank all of those who loved him and enriched his life with your friendship. A special thanks to Grace Baker and all his caregivers and nurses who loved him and treated him with care and respect.
Funeral services are entrusted to Poteet Funeral Home in Pawnee, Oklahoma. Visitation will be held Tuesday, November 20, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the funeral home (600 Illinois St, Pawnee). Graveside services will be at 2 p.m., on Wednesday, November 21, 2018, at Highland Cemetery in Pawnee, Oklahoma (North of Pawnee on Highway 18).
Memorials can be made to the Pawnee County Cattlewomen’s scholarship fund (c/o Joyce Freeman; 5000 S 34700 RD. Pawnee, Oklahoma, 74058) or the Oklahoma Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture (c/o Gerald Turner Scholarship Fund 2501 N. Stiles, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 73105)