Chief Petty Officer Gary A. Turner “Chief”, age 72, retired US Navy, passed away Saturday, September 2, 2017, at Durham VA Hospital, Durham, NC. after suffering from Mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure.
Gary was born in Seattle, Washington, and joined the United States Navy in January, 1965, proudly serving on numerous commands in Vietnam until he was honorably medically discharged in July, 1971, after attaining the rank of Chief Petty Officer.
Following his naval career, Gary worked for Honeywell, PerkinElmer and Exide Technologies as General Manager of Service. Following his corporate life, he began his own IT business, GAT Solutions.
Gary’s career outside of the Navy took him to Vancouver, British Columbia, where he was fortunate enough to meet the love of his life, Sandy, who became his forever “bride” on December 28, 1979. Even after celebrating 37 years of marriage, Gary still referred to Sandy as his “bride.” His love and devotion to her was obvious and eternal.
Gary and Sandy moved from Vancouver to Toronto, then to Fairfax, Virginia, back to Toronto and finally to Raleigh, NC. Each move resulted in making and maintaining hosts of wonderful friends enriching their life journey together. Friends will long remember Gary’s loyalty, commitment and constant support whenever he could lend a helping hand to all who needed him. Gary was always the voice of reason and calmness for which we are all grateful.
Gary’s passion for United State Veterans was matched by his passion for Harley Davidson motorcycles. Gary managed to merge his two passions and was an active member of Rolling Thunder honoring POW and MIA service members of all U.S. wars. His Memorial Day weekend for over 25 years was spent riding with his brothers and sisters on the annual Run to the Wall in Washington, D.C. ending at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. His service commitment continued with his founding of the local chapter of VEMA, Veterans Enforcers Motorcycle Association. Gary was also a member of the Patriot Guard Riders and would meet planes carrying the bodies of fallen service people. The first Saturday of every month found Gary at the State Capitol in Raleigh for the reading of the names of those missing in the service of their country.
Sports was another passion Gary shared with family and friends. Gary was an avid Toronto Blue Jays baseball fan and an equally avid Duke Basketball fan.
In addition to his wife, Sandy, Gary is survived by his sons, who brought so much pride and love to his life and will live to honor their father’s values; Chief Petty Officer Geoffrey Allen Turner, currently of San Diego, California, and Jonathan David Turner of Fuquay-Varina. He is also survived by Jon’s wife, Felicity May Turner and two beautiful granddaughters who provided untold fun and joy to his life, Audrey and Violet Turner, all of Fuquay-Varina. Gary is also survived by a brother, David Paul, of Seattle and is predeceased by his mother, Louise Summers.
The family wishes to acknowledge the compassion and care Gary received throughout his illness by the medical staff at Durham VA Hospital. Their kindness will never be forgotten.
A memorial service for family and friends to honor his life was held at 1 o’clock, Saturday afternoon, September 9, 2017 in the Chapel of Bright Funeral Home in Wake Forest, NC.
The family requests anyone wishing to donate in Gary’s name, please consider helping to find a cure for Mesothelioma at curemeso.org on the Tribute Wall under Gary’s name..
Friends visited with the family from 12-1 prior to the service at Bright Funeral Home, 405 S. Main St., Wake Forest (919-556-5811) and following the service at American Legion Post 187, 225 E. Holding Avenue, Wake Forest, NC.