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Gary Lovell Turner

Gary Lovell Turner

Mar. 26, 1942 - Feb. 11, 2024

Date of Service: Feb. 17, 2024

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BURLEY – Gary Lovell Turner, 81, of Burley, Idaho, passed away early Sunday morning, February 11, 2024, at his home with his family by his side.

He was the first born of Lovell James and Beth Wood Turner. He made his earthly appearance at the Cottage Hospital in Burley, Idaho, on March 26, 1942.  Gary grew up on the family farm north of Declo where he learned the value and joy of hard work at an early age. One of his first farm assignments came when he was just six years old.  He harrowed newly-plowed soil behind a team of horses, where he would go the length of the field. His dad would then meet him at the end of the row and turn the team around for him. Gary would then drive the horses the length of the field the other way and repeat until the harrowing was done. Gary wasn’t ever afraid of hard work or above any job, and could outwork any twenty-year-old well into his seventies.

Gary’s school days were spent at Declo Elementary, Jr. High and High Schools.  He excelled in sports and academics playing football and basketball as well as participating on the track team as a sprinter and a skilled high jumper. He sang in a quartet with three of his buddies where they enjoyed performing for many school and community events. Gary loved his classmates and could talk to anybody – a skill he demonstrated throughout all his life. He considered everyone he ever met to be his friend and he was a life-long learner. He graduated as co-valedictorian of his class in 1960.

Gary attended Utah State University that same fall, and returned to work the following summer on the family farm. He found additional employment shoveling grain at the Burley Flour Mill to earn enough money to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was assigned to the Sweden Stockholm Mission from 1961-1964. Gary absolutely loved the language, culture, and the people he served. His time in Sweden brought some of his most treasured experiences as he shared the good news of the gospel with those he met. His mission would forever bless his life and those of his family.

After returning from his mission, Gary and a group of his friends organized a rock climbing/picnic party at the City of Rocks. It was there where Glena Carter, who was on a date with his friend, caught his attention. He was immediately impressed by her natural beauty, adventurous spirit, and selfless nature. The rest is history, and they were married for time and all eternity on a cold December morning in the Logan Utah Temple. The newlyweds attended BYU where Gary received his Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics in 1967. Gary and Glena returned to Utah State a year later to earn a Master’s degree. Gary graduated in 1970 Magna cum laude with a degree in Economic Education. Gary and Glena had five children between the years of 1966 and 1977 – Craig, Cathy, Darby, David, and Shannon. Tragedy struck in 1974 when their oldest daughter, Cathy was killed in a bicycle-car accident. Family continues to be everything to the Turners, and Gary was a fun, faithful and devoted husband, father, and grandpa who is loved and adored beyond words.

Gary was born to teach. He began his teaching career at Washington Jr. High School in Rupert where he taught seventh grade math and coached football. Beginning in 1970, he taught at Declo High School. Over the next seven years he taught most subjects, but English was his forte. He even directed the junior class drama production during those years. In 1977, Gary transferred to Burley High School where he taught government, economics, sociology, and was the advisor over the senior class until he retired from the school district after twenty years. He then directed the College of Southern Idaho GED program at the Burley Campus, educating until 2004.

Gary was a master farmer. He grew green peas and sweet corn for the Del Monte corporation. He raised dry beans, hay, and grain. He enjoyed many years of farming with his oldest son, Craig. In 1994, they received a Top Ten Grower award for potatoes from the Simplot Company. They worked hard and took great pride in their harvest each year. Though tragedy struck again in 1999 when Gary was poisoned by Temic fumes and nearly lost his life, he was blessed to recover and farm another three years before retiring in 2002.

Gary enjoyed many hobbies throughout his life, and found working with wood, building, and creating to be very satisfying after he retired. He began a hobby business constructing seating arrangements for elementary school classrooms. He started his Kiva business. Kiva, meaning “special learning place.” Gary and Glena enjoyed traveling around delivering Kiva benches to elementary schools throughout the western United States. Gary was passionate about helping educators improve their classrooms and teaching methods.

Always active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Gary willingly served in many callings – counselor in the bishopric, ward clerk, ward executive secretary, a member of the stake high council, Young Mens president, Cub Scout leader, Primary teacher, stake Spanish speaking missionary, and stake mission presidency counselor. In 2005, Gary gladly accepted the invitation to return to Sweden with his sweetheart, Glena, for 18 months to serve a couples’ mission serving the young adults in Stockholm. Then, ten years later, they were called to serve in the Palmyra New York Temple. Gary and Glena enjoyed many wonderful years of serving in the Church together. One of their most favorite assignments was serving in the Twin Falls Idaho Temple as ordinance workers, where he served diligently until 2021, when Alzheimer’s no longer allowed him to do so.

Gary was preceded in death his daughter, Cathy; a granddaughter, Mallory Beth Monroe; his parents; and two brothers, Dale and Garth. He is survived by his wife of almost 60 years, Glena; his children, Craig (Michelle Hansen), Darby (Tod Stapelman), David (Sandra Bradley), and Shannon (Matt Monroe); 17 grandchildren, Sara, Emily, Mike, Jacob, Breanna, Carly, Carter, James, Josh, Taylie, Kalyssa, Jordyn, Kynli, Annyka, Abby, Kate, and Luke; one great- granddaughter, Eliza Kristine; one brother, Ron (Linda) Turner; one sister, Joye (John) Simpson; and one sister-in-law, Colleen Turner.

The funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, February 17, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – Burley Stake Center, located at 2050 Normal Avenue, in Burley, with Bishop Jacob Goedhart officiating. Burial will follow at Pleasant View Cemetery.

Family and friends will be received from 5 until 7 p.m. Friday, February 16, at Rasmussen-Wilson Funeral Home, located at 1350 E. 16th St., in Burley, and from 1 until 1:45 p.m. Saturday prior to the service, at the church.

A live webcast of the Funeral Service will be available and maintained at the following link: https://youtu.be/t_wJimvSNyk.

Condolences for Gary Lovell Turner

Comments may be screened and removed by the staff as deemed appropriate.

From Lyle Elmore:
Greetings Glenna: This is Lyle Elmore, a fellow Swedish Missionary with Gary, and I will always remember that
Gary (and I hope you) were double dating with me and my then girl friend Linda Mitton from Boise Idaho. I ask if Gary would give me 20 minutes alone with Linda because of my plan to ask her to marry me. (A scary moment for me). She said "yes" thank goodness and has remained with me for 58 years, again thank goodness. I have read the obituary and the comments made by many and I would certainly say amen to all of the wonderful comments. He is truly a great man.
From Diane and Erin Gierisch:
Dear Glenna and family, we were sorry to hear of Gary's passing. We have many happy memories and are so sorry for your loss. He was a wonderful man and a terrific friend. May God give you comfort.
From Gaylen and Carolyn Smyer:
We are so sorry to learn of Gary's passing and our thoughts and prayers are with his family. Our association began as a couple of his Declo High School English students to include participation in the Jr. Play "Grandad Steps Out." Working with him as a colleague at Burley High School helped to improve instructional effectiveness. The opportunity to teach and work with Craig are still among my favorite memories. For several years I assisted with the Del Monte harvest of green peas on Gary's farm and watched him take pride in the land and his ability to raise a quality crop. May the Lord bless your family in the coming weeks and months as we all adjust to the passing of this exceptional man. May a life well lived and full of wonderful memories along with a family legacy, of which Gary was very proud, help comfort family members and friends at this time of loss.
From Ardella Miller:
Glena, I was deeply saddened when my Kirk called me to tell me of Gary’s passing. I’m so glad that I was outside the day you and Gary drove by and we had a chance to chat a little. I have loved both of you and enjoyed being your friend. I had no idea that he was sick. Always a smile on your faces and you always treated me like I was special. My prayers are with you and your family and I really did enjoy living by you all in the house on Hiland. God bless your heart and soul that you will find comfort in knowing that you will be together again. I can imagine the reunion with Cathy and her dad and they are so happy! Love you my friend.
From Laura Bradshaw:
Dear Glena and family, we are so sorry to hear about Gary's passing. I was able to listen to the wonderful service today honoring him. Dan and I both recall how impressed we always were with his Gospel Doctrine lessons he taught in Mom's ward whenever we visited. He was so knowledgeable and humble about it as was mentioned today. You have been blessed with a "celestial thinker" & a beautiful family. May you be comforted and be able to move forward even with your loss. Love, Laura & Dan Bradshaw
From Randy Hess:
Gary and my mother, (his Aunt) were very close. He was my bridge to my mom. He was my Economics and U.S. Government teacher first at Burley and later in Declo. I always looked up to Gary as a pillar of strength and good. He was always encouraging and upbeat. I'll miss you cousin.
From Lottie Hurst :
Sending love and prayers of comfort, to a dear friend family.
From Brent Chugg:
Myrl and I extend our love and sympathy to Glena and family. I cherish the experiences I had with Gary while working at Del Monte., and while living in the same ward.
From Art & Jan Douglas :
Glena and family, I think back on all of our trips to WDC and national conventions with Farmers Union. We had some great times. Gary was dedicated to helping the farmers and ranchers of Idaho. He knew all the representatives and senators and they had a lot of respect for Gary. We are sorry for your loss. Art and Jan Douglas
From Curtis Richins:
Gary is a good man and a good friend. I enjoyed working with him at CSI.
From Lorana and Frank Dye:
We loved working at the temple with both of you. Our prayers are with you Glena and your family. Love, Frank and Lorana Dye
From Glenn and Susan Hunsaker:
Dearest Glena, we were so saddened to hear of Gary’s passing. You both were such a wonderful influence for good as we worked together in the Twin Falls Temple. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.
From Heidi robbins:
So sorry for your loss. He worked in the temple with my parents Glen and Susan Hunsaker and they loved working with him and Glena. He actually trained my dad. Love and prayers.
From Leland Swenson:
It was such a great honor and privilege, as President of National Farmers Union, to work with Gary in his service on our national board of directors. Gary not only represented farmers from throughout Idaho but the nation. His knowledge and ability to speak to issues that affected farmers, rural residents and their communities was respected by all members of our board and members of the organization. It was always so wonderful when Glena would travel with him to our events in Washington DC as well as our National Conventions. Gary loved his family! My most sincere condolences and sympathy to Glena and your family, friends and community. You are all so loved by everyone.
From Art & Jan Douglas :
Glena and family I think back of all our trips to WDC and national conventions with Farmers Union we had some great times.Gary was dedicated to helping the farmers and ranchers of Idaho he knew all the representatives and senators they had a lot of respect for Gary. We are sorry for your loss.Art And Jan Douglas
From LeAnn Jorgensen Tinney:
Ron, Linda, & Family, I’m so glad you were friends with my parents. I started babysitting your kids when Valerie was only 3. It was fun watching them grow. I was in college by the time Melanie came along, but I will always remember your family. So sorry about Gary.
From LeAnn Jorgensen Tinney:
Glena, my parents, Lee and Margaret Jorgensen , were great friends with you & Gary. Cathy was my brother, Paul’s age. I’m sure my mom was there for the “Welcome back to Heaven,” party. So Sorry for your family.
From Linda:
Glena, we send our condolences and prayers for you and your family. It’s a blessing to know where he is. Steve and Linda (Fillmore)Wright
From Tom & Alice Mann:
Condolences to the entire Turner family. Our thought and prayer are with you all.
From Lynne and Kent Larson:
Dear Glenna—So sorry to hear about Gary. You two were the best! We will never forget Gary and what a fine man he was. Always the perfect gentleman. We are happy to hear that you were able to go to Sweden and to Palmyra and do so many other things you enjoyed together. May the Lord bless you and your family at this difficult time.
From Louise Ward:
Dear Glena, I smiled and cried at the same time when I read the notice of Gary's passing. My sincere condolences, prayers, and love to you and the family at this difficult time.
From Wendy Granata:
Gary and Glena were so friendly and fun when George & I moved to Burley to start our life there. We enjoyed sharing time, children and social outings. I will always remember Gary as a kind, helpful and fun guy who was so sweet to his wife, Glena. I miss you both and look forward to reunions on both sides of the veil. May you feel peace and comfort at this time, Glenna.
From Janet Richins Treadaway:
Mr. Turner was my biology teacher at Declo High in 1976, the year my family moved from Southern California to Albion. I remember him telling us that he had never taught biology so he studied our lessons the night before he taught them. I learned a lot from him that year and came to have a deep respect for his determination to help all of us sophomores, not only to understand, but to enjoy biology. My condolences to his family.
From Diane Beck McVity:
My heart and love go out to Glena and family. You have been a good friend Glena and I think of you often. I know you have been blessed by your life with this great man by your side. May the Lord bless you and your family in the future and the goodness you bring to others. Love to you.
From Leslie Taylor Joyce:
I remember “Mr.” Turner as being such a nice, nice man. He was my Government/Econ teacher. My sincere sympathy to his family.
From Joanne Craner:
Jerry spoke so often about the fun he had with Gary. Although Gary was a couple of years younger than Jerry, he was one of his favorite cousins. What a reunion.
From Laura Petersen Ringe Chapman:
Jim and I are sorry for your loss. Gary was a classmate from Declo High School and was a friend for many years. We will remember his friendliness with a smile.
From Lori:

I was driving back to Utah Sunday morning listening to music as I drove. A song came on that I’d heard many times before, but for some reason brought me to tears this time, and made my heart ache. I wondered why it, all of a sudden, had such an effect on me. I learned a few hours later that Gary had passed that morning. I now know why it made my heart ache.

“It ain't easy
To ever say goodbye
It ain't easy
Letting' go of the ones you love
But believe me
We'll meet again by and by
If not here
Somewhere up above”

I can’t even begin to list the many memories and life experiences I learned from this amazing man! Until we meet again, Pops Turner.

I love you all, and think of you all often!
From Mark Parker:
The list of memories is lengthy. Farm work of all kinds, Economics class, motorcycle/camping trips, church lessons, life lessons, a friendly smile and a warm handshake, a dry sense of humor, and a heart as big as the sky. Rest well Gary Turner, and peace to the family.
From Janette Turner :
So sorry to hear about Gary. Prayers for your family.
From Mike and Nan Matthews:
Condolences to the family. Gary was a great person and educator! I have many fond memories of associations and working with Gary. Nan and I wish all the family the best.

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