Remembering Thomas Turner 
May 18, 1942, to July 27, 2008)


By Howie Levy


"Tom was someone who entered everyone's hearts."
─ Michele Turner ('69)
                                                                                                             (Tom's sister


Thomas John (Tom or sometimes, Tommy) Turner, Jr. was one of the most popular, respected and charismatic members of Oceanside High School's class of 1960. Ours was (is) a remarkable class, and Tom was one of our most remarkable classmates.

As a senior at OHS, Tom was vice president of the G.O. (General Organization) the nucleus of all student activities, which sponsored all athletic competition, publications and assemblies; he was also co-captain of our varsity wrestling squad, starting halfback

on our football team and president of his fraternity, Omega Gamma Delta.


Photo courtesy of  Shannon Turner

 Maza (Tom's daughter) 


As our grappling co-captain

On the gridiron with Rudy Santoli (center) and the late Hal Wilensky (right)

At our post-30-year reunion Sunday brunch in 1990, surrounded by old friends:

From left: Cathy Hassett, Kathy Cullen, Paula Moll, Tom, Carole Hassett,
Bob Renselaer

Front row from left: Terry Brennan, Tom, (the late) Barry Wolff
Back row from left:  Gene Gelling, Jack Beaulieu, Rudy Santoli,
Gary Schwartz, John "Cochise" Cachiane

Tom was a graduate of the University of Toledo. After college, he remained in Toledo where he owned and operated three college bars, which he later sold. He then relocated to Arizona where he dabbled in real estate before settling in Orange County, California, in 1977 and began doing what he really loved woodworking.


Below are expressions of remembrance received from some OHS alumni, mostly our classmates, upon learning of Tom's untimely passing:


One of the real good guys is gone from our midst. Joe Kunkel

Terrible news about Tom Turner. I can remember meeting Tom for the first time when he matriculated to the Oceanside school system from St. Christophers. I knew instantly that we had another quality football player and great guy to be around. My most memorable Tom Turner moment was his long run for the winning touchdown against Massapequa in our senior year. He will always be a great memory of my most formative years. Hal Wilensky [now also deceased]

So soon after losing [my twin brother,] Mike, I was very troubled and very saddened by the news that we lost Tom, too. Tom was a very special person. An elite athlete and a leader in our school, Tom always had a smile, a big hello and a warm welcome for his classmates. His inclusiveness was very uplifting to everyone who knew him, good friend or acquaintance. I liked Tom a lot even though we weren't good friends. He was always very gracious to me, very friendly. I appreciated it. I was so glad to see him at our 1990 reunion, hoped he would come back to each reunion thereafter and was always disappointed when he didn't. He will be sorely missed. ... my deepest sympathies to his family. ─ Jay Katz

Very sad to hear about Tom, I was very fond of him and have great memories of many fun times together.  He was so adorable in high school and sweet as can be.  His smile  will be missed. ─ Doreen Silverstein

Tom Turner was a friend to so many and a special friend to both of us; he provided  advice and support when we needed it most, and an inspiration to us all. We will miss his stories of OHS and of his life as an amputee. His humorous, friendly, positive and gregarious ways made him a treasured part of our history. ─ Jack and Nancy (Koller) Beaulieu


I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear of Tom's passing. I have many fond memories of Tom during our high school years in football practice and  the many exciting football games. One humorous story occurred during football practice when one of the many times Coach Joe Scanella was ranting and raving about something we did wrong and looking for someone to punish. We all held our heads down and wouldn't look at him; all but Tom. Well, Joe saw Tom and singled him out to run laps. When you screwed up you had to run laps. After practice, I asked Tom why Coach picked him to run laps. That morning, Tom had a mother-son conversation in which his mother told him to always look at the person that is talking to you. Well, Tom's head was the only one that was up and staring at the Coach so he got nailed. I saw Tom two years ago and had a great conversation about family and life. He always had a positive attitude and will be missed by all who knew him. ─ Rudy Santoli   






Tom and I were good friends from the ninth grade and started to get together more often over the past 10 years or so. He had friends all over the world, so I'm just one of the many who will sorely miss him. My condolences to [Tom's siblings] Michelle, Holly, Nancy, Dick, and Tom's children. ─ Terry Brennan

Tom  with Terry Brennan  (at right) at an
Omega Gamma Delta  reunion in 1999,
courtesy of daughter, Shannon Turner

Hail and farewell to a brother, boon companion, and true friend. Tom enriched every life that he touched. He is sorely missed by our entire family. ─ Bob Morgan ('61) [sent from Venice, Italy]

So very shocked and saddened by Tom Turner's passing. A loyal teammate who gave everything he had whether times were good or bad, he loved life and a good time. His infectious optimism was a joy to behold., his life, a true profile of courage from the OHS Class of '60. Godspeed, Tom. Gene Gelling


Tom Turner was an extremely likeable and friendly person.  I knew Tommy mainly through wrestling and the Leader Corps, and I was always strongly impressed by his easy-going personality and the respect he showed everyone.  I was very saddened when I learned of his passing, as we certainly lost one of our best. ─ Don Fine [now also deceased]


I was saddened to get the information about the passing of Tom Turner. I have the fondest memories of Tom as the starting halfback on our football team and as a good guy. Tom always seemed to have a smile and friendly greeting for everyone, and I remember how everyone naturally just seemed to gravitate to him. Tom is one of the enduring memories of my high school years. ─ Bob Renselaer [our class president]

We were so shocked and saddened to hear of Tom's passing.  He was a terrific guy with a vibrant personality and a friend to all.  He will surely be missed.  Our deepest sympathy and prayers are with his family at this time. ─ Jay ('59) and Ginny (Beedenbender) Schaefer 


Wow! This was a shock to me. Tom and I started out at the University of Toledo in the Fall of 1960. We both wrestled for the university team. I wrestled for 4 years, Tom, I believe, to a 2nd place at our MAC Conference meet in his sophomore year. Tom was a good wrestler, and everyone on the team appreciated his leadership and sense of humor. Tom and I ... were up for the World Cup Wrestling Tournament being held at the university. ... That was the summer that Tom had his tragic accident.  ... once in a while I'd help him out in his bar called The Tabard Inn (I think that is how it was spelled). His place was a gathering spot for a lot of us college professionals. Tom had a great number of friends and was well liked. I remember Tom at the 30th reunion ....  That is the last time I had any contact with him. ... I liked his family and they were great people. Tom will be missed by his friends from Oceanside, Toledo, and everywhere else Tom was known and loved. ─ Roy Johnson

I just went to the memorial page for Tom, and it brought tears to my eyes.  What a wonderful tribute to the wonderful, fun, friendly, outgoing person that he was. Too sad, too soon. My condolences to the Turner family. Nancy Keegan

Tom was quite proud of his school years, and he had to work hard at all his achievements. ─ Michele Turner ('69) [Tom's sister]


Click here for additional memorial messages from Tom's family members, college friends and others.

Many of you know that Tom lost a leg in a tragic accident after high school, but it was also well known among us that he never let it dampen his spirit, his winning smile, his warm sense of humor, or his ability to be a great friend to many. As Tom's wrestling and football teammate, Jack Beaulieu, alluded to in his message above, when Jack lost his both of legs in another tragic accident shortly following our 40-year reunion in 2000, Tom came to his aid and provided invaluable advice and support to Jack and his wife, Nancy Koller Beaulieu.

Tom left six devoted children, eight loving grandchildren and four siblings. His family valued his warm smile and his love of life, conversation and travel.

Our most recent photo
Courtesy of  Shannon Turner
Maza (Tom's daughter) 


Come back to this special memorial page now and then when you are thinking of Tom or to see if anything has been added. And if you would like to add anything about Tom, or of you would like a copy of a video slideshow of Tom Turner's life and loved ones made by his daughter, Shannon, please write me.

Classmates and other visitors are invited to submit material for a special
memorial page like this for any other departed classmate. Just e-mail it to me.


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