Harold “Hal” Turner

Published 5:05 pm Thursday, January 4, 2018

Harold E. “Hal” Turner of Tryon, N.C. passed away, Wednesday morning, January 3, 2018 at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center, Spartanburg, S.C.

Mr. Turner was born June 17, 1933 to Harold M. and Dorothy K. Turner in Englewood, N.J. As a child, Mr. Turner excelled in sports, eventually settling on baseball and basketball as his specialties. Mr. Turner went on to play both baseball and basketball at his beloved Duke University, eventually helping the Blue Devils to the ACC semi-finals and their first appearance in the NCAA basketball tournament at Madison Square Garden in the 1954-55 season. 

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After Duke, Mr. Turner was drafted into the U.S. Army in Fort Dix, N.J. He soon reported to Fort Knox, Ky. where his baseball and basketball talents were quickly discovered. He spent the next two years playing baseball and basketball for the Fort Knox team. As his Army service obligation was coming to an end, Mr. Turner and several baseball teammates were told that Brooklyn Dodgers scouts were working out pitchers just off post. In early 1958, he married Noretta Smith and became one of the first players to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and headed west to play Triple-A ball with the Reno Silver Sox. 

The news of the pending arrival of a baby ended Mr. Turner’s baseball career and he began anew as a salesman with Reynolds Metals Company. The rise of aerospace had Mr. Turner and a growing family move around New York State, to Florida, Missouri, New Jersey, and Vermont where he retired in 1995 after a career spanning 35 years, four children, the death of his first wife, marriage to his high school sweetheart Jean Lincoln, and the addition of her three children to the family. Retirement found the Turners searching for warmer weather and eventually they settled in Tryon, N.C. in 2005. 

Mr. Turner is preceded in death by his parents, first wife Noretta Turner (Smith), and second wife Jean Turner (Lincoln). 

He is survived by six children and twelve grandchildren. Surviving children include Jo Anne White of Hopatcong, N.J., Jeff Turner (Cathy) of Chandler, Ariz., Tammy McDowell of Orlando, Fla., Lauri Johnson (Danny) of Tryon, N.C., Brian Turner (Andrea) of Lake Saint Louis, Mo., and Rob Turner (Lisa) of San Diego, Calif. 

Grandchildren include Michael Johnson of Inwood, W.Va., Jeremiah Johnson of Hickory, N.C., Austin McDowell of Orlando, Fla., Caitlin Turner of Seattle, Wash., Ashley McDowell of Washington, D.C., Ian Johnson of Winchester, Va., Morgan Turner of Chandler, Ariz., Taylor Brown of San Diego, Calif., Anna Turner of Lake Saint Louis, Mo., Nora Turner of San Diego, Calif., Phillip Turner of Lake Saint Louis, Mo., and Ryan Turner of San Diego, Calif.

A funeral will be held at 5 p.m., Saturday, January 6, 2018 in the McFarland Funeral Chapel, Tryon, N.C. with Dr. Chris Osborn officiating.

The family will receive friends prior to the service Saturday from 4 – 4:45 p.m. at the funeral chapel.

There will be a reception for friends and family immediately following the service at the Turner Home in Tryon.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Mr. Turner’s name to the Duke University Alumni Association.

An online guest register is available at www.mcfarlandfuneralchapel.com.

McFarland Funeral Chapel & Crematory, Tryon, N.C.