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TURNER – William George

January 29, 1944 – April 2, 2011

William Turner beloved husband of Catherine Turner, passed away on Saturday April 2, 2011 at the Southwood Hospice in Calgary.

Bill was born in Regina, lived in Winnipeg and moved to Calgary when he was in his teens. He attended the U of C where he received his B. Sc. in 1969 and his B. Ed. in 1971. He enjoyed 34 years as a science teacher with the Calgary Public Board of Education, most of those years at Forest Lawn Sr. High. Bill was a kind, generous, thoughtful man and the teaching profession suited him admirably. He was an amateur beekeeper for 40 years and an active member of the Calgary and District Beekeepers. The science of the honeybee was a constant source of fascination for him. Other interests included hiking, skiing, cycling and traveling – especially in the many vans he owned over the years.

Bill is survived by his wife Catherine; daughters Elizabeth (Wayne Silliker) and Rebecca (Dallan Hughes). He is also survived by his brother Richard (Michele) Turner, and sister Jo-Anne (Terry) Bertamini; mother-in-law Helene MacCalder; brother-in-law Rod MacCalder (Rita Boucher), sister-in-law Pat MacCalder; nephews Mike, Todd, Luke, Matthew, Mark, John, Adam, Daniel and Chris; nieces Nancy and Rennie; godson Brad Colpitts.

He was predeceased by his parents Isabel and Bill Turner and father-in-law Al MacCalder.

At Bill’s request we will not be having a funeral. Family and friends are invited to share memories of Bill at an open house at the family residence on Saturday April 9, 2011 from 1:00 until 4:00 p.m.

Flowers are gratefully declined. If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to the A.L.S. Society of Alberta, Suite 250, 4723 1 Street S.W., Calgary, AB T2G 4Y8, You may forward condolences through

The family would like to thank those who provided help and care for Bill, especially the staff at the Calgary ALS Society, the staff at the ALS Clinic at the Foothills Hospital and the staff at the Southwood Hospice.

In living memory of William Turner, a tree will be planted at Big Hill Springs Park, Cochrane by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Crowfoot Chapel, 82 CROWFOOT CIRCLE N.W. Telephone: (403) 241-0044.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Hi,

    I was a junior high school student of Mr. Turner’s back in the mid-70’s. He was a great science teacher and contributed to me becoming a geologist. He also had us on a hiking/fishing trip to 40 Mile Creek, and I still hike and fish this river to this day. There is a particular pool on this creek that we call “Mr. Turner Pool” and I think of him, and will going forward, every time I get there.

    He made a real difference in my life!!

    David Dolph

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  2. Dear Mrs. Turner and Family,

    Bill was a remarkable man. He helped me, and many others learn the way of the bee. He was a generous, excellent human being and the world is less because of his passing.

    I’ll think of him as I tend my “girls” this year.

    God be with you in your sorrow.

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  3. Rennie MacCalder - Yardley :

    I will forever remember my uncle, his bees, the trips in the VW van…..and his love. I will forever miss him. I love & miss you Aunt Cathy.

    Rennie & Sean.

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  4. David Hopkins :

    Mr. Turner was one of those extraordinary people that come along in your life and you remember them forever. It was 1971 – I was in Grade 8 at Bishop Pinkham, and Mr. Turner, fresh out of University, taught me Science. I remember his enthusiasm and his zest for teaching and the subject matter. I remember I was envious of his orange Volkswagen van and him telling me of his weekend camping excursions – his sanctuary from us spoiled Lakeview kids, I’m sure. Interestingly, my wife Jill (Lightle) taught with him at Forest Lawn and conveyed her fond memories as well. Jill and I are both saddened to read of Bill’s passing.

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  5. Jerry Westland :

    Catherine & family,

    I was very sorry to read Bill’s obituary today. We were close friends during university days and I still considered him a friend even though we haven’t kept in touch for quite a few years.

    He was a very kind person and I know he’ll be missed a great deal.

    Jerry & Ruth Westland

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  6. Shirley MacKay and Wayne Cox :

    Dear Catherine, Elizabeth and Rebecca,

    We were so sad to hear about Bill’s passing. I remember him as such a kind, caring father to you girls and I was always aware of his excellent reputation as a teacher. Wayne and I wish to extend our deepest condolences.

    Shirley MacKay (Ms MacKay)

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  7. Anna Vilaysane :

    Dear Turner Family,

    My deepest condolences to the family.

    I was a former student of Mr. Turner’s in 2000-2002. Mr. Turner was an amazing teacher – he encouraged, inspired and believed in every single one of his students. He was my all time favourite teacher in high school. I continued to visit him after graduating and then one day when I stopped for another visit, I was told he had retired. I was disappointed that I could no longer keep in contact with him and in my thoughts, I wished him an enjoyable and fulfilling retirement – I was glad I had the opportunity to meet a teacher like him.

    I graduated with a teaching degree not too long ago from the U of C and currently work as an elementary school teacher with the CBE. I wished I could have shared this with him – to tell him he really made a difference in the lives of his students and how I was inspired by him. When I think about the kind of teacher I want to be for my students, I often think about the qualities Mr. Turner had as a teacher and why he was so memorable to me. He was a generous person with a great heart and he always had interesting stories to share. He was very patient and calm – always willing to listen and take the time to help you with any questions you had. He cared for his students and we all noticed it, especially me.

    I was deeply saddened and surprised when I heard he had passed away. Please know he touched the lives of many during his teaching career. He will be dearly missed.

    Mr. Turner will remain in my memory forever – may he rest in peace now.

    Anna Vilaysane

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  8. Ed and May Gallagher :

    Cathy and Family
    We were very sad to hear today about Bill’s death. We enjoyed his company very much during our European trip a few years ago. Our deepest condolences Cathy to you and the family.

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  9. Ray & Madeline Courtman :

    Dear Cathy & family,
    We were very saddened to hear about Bill. Both of us have very fond memories of you both during university days at U of C. You are in our thoughts…

    Madeline & Ray

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  10. Dear Mrs. Turner & Family,
    My sincere condolences on Bill’s passing. I was a student of “Mr. Turner” at Forest Lawn High School where he taught me Chemistry 10 back in 1980-81. Mr. Turner in my opinion was a “giant of a man” who exemplified and personified what’s best about our education system. Always there with a kind word and sage advice, Mr. Turner possessed the integrity, decency and character that so many of his students (including me) needed at that point of their lives. I particularly remember that he was always there for the “underdog” – whether a new immigrant student who needed a helping hand or someone who just needed a “friend”. He will be truly missed.

    Mike Ponto

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  11. Tom and Margaret Verenka :

    Dear Cathy and Family
    Bill was always a positive inspiration to those around him, even when he retired and could talk about his honey bees to students in the classroom or us. We are sad to hear of his passing.
    Our deepest condolences.
    Tom and Margaret Verenka

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  12. marilyn anne love :

    So sorry for your loss. I didn’t know Bill personnally, just through his immense influence in the beekeeping community in Calgary. He helped create a supportive and collegial space which encouraged me to set out to put in my first hive and work with the bees. Thank you Bill and thank you, his family, for sharing Bill with us so generously over the years.

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  13. Pam and Toivo Jurgens :

    Dear Cathy,

    Toivo and I are saddened to hear of Bill’s death, and send our love and support to you and your family

    So much time has passed since we taught next door to each at A.E. Cross, but Toivo and I have some unforgettable memories of you and Bill- Toiv and Bill deciding ballroom dancing lessons were not for them, the missing snake stories when you lived in the Lakeview apartment, and the incredible day of cross country skiing.

    Bill was an amazing man, and we are so sorry for your loss.

    Pam and Toivo

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  14. Thanh Nguyen :

    Dear Turner family,

    My condolences on your loss. I was fortunate enough to have Mr. Turner teach me biology at Forest Lawn High School in the mid-90s. I will remember his passion for teaching, his many stories, his smiles, his laughter and the way he cared about people. He was a great person who impacted many lives and will be greatly missed.

    Thanh Nguyen

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  15. Bonnie MacLaughlin :

    I just wanted to pass along my condolences. It is very difficult to watch someone whom you love decline ( I know from personal experience), especially someone like Mr. Turner whom I remember as having a great love of life and a natural curiosity. I had him as my grade 10 Biology teacher at Forest Lawn and he encouraged me to achieve and excel. As a student it is important to know your teachers believe in you this helped me to succeed. I am a lawyer with the Federal Department of Justice in Vancouver, practicing Aboriginal Law, and a mother of two daughters of my own. I know he would be proud of the life I have and the role he played along the way. I am sure many of his other former students feel the same.

    Yours truly,

    Bonnie MacLaughlin

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  16. Audrey Haerle :

    To the family and friends of Mr.Turner,
    I am good friends with his daughter Becki and had the pleasure of knowing the Turners since we played soccer together as kids. I regret that I am not able to be in Calgary during this difficult time. I wish I could be there and have been thinking of you all very regularly since my last visit. At this time, I am filled with much sorrow but also many great memories of Bill and my visits to your warm home.
    Reading through the comments posted by others in the past week, I am not surprised at the many great stories and depictions of his wonderful character. There are so many great things to say, but all I kept thinking was “What a great man”. He has influenced so many of his past students and others that surrounded him. People from all over, from many generations and backgrounds have been moved by his amazing character and selflessness. He was so humble and intelligent that he naturally became a role model to those he met.
    I particularly loved his appreciation for nature. I was always amazed to hear about how he would bike across the whole city to work, even in the winter! His resourcefulness and knowledge of the outdoors has certainly impacted Becki. This sense of adventure and independence left me in awe.
    Whenever I came to visit the Turner house, he would greet me at the door, and always had some of freshly baked bread or cookies to offer. I liked to keep a jar or his honey and especially enjoyed it after moving away from Calgary. Everytime I would see it in the cupboard, I was reminded of the great company he was at dinner, often poking fun at Becki and Liz in his endearing way.
    Although he is no longer with us, it is apparent that he will continue to inspire us all. His presence will echo in the many communities he was involved with, as he truly shows us what it means to make the world a better place. I am grateful to have known you Mr. Turner.
    Audrey Haerle

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  17. Marion and Ed Verrier :

    Cathy, I just can’t believe such a vibrant man as William contracted ALS and that he died so young. My heart goes out to you and your loved ones. We were computer tutor friends together you and I. Where has the time gone? We send you our deepest sympathies and love. Marion and Ed Verrier

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  18. Karen and Derek Whyte :

    Dear Cathy, Michele and Rick have kept us informed about Bill over the past year. Sadly, Derek’s brother also died of this dreadful disease last year, so we have kept you in our thoughts and prayers continually.
    We have enjoyed any time spent with you and Bill over the years. Rick brought us honey each time he visited the Island so we would chat about the two of you then. I guess it isn’t the number of times we see friends, it is the quality of the time.
    We are sorry we can’t be with you at this difficult time, but know that we are thinking of you.
    With deepest sympathy, Karen and Derek

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  19. Pam and Ken Wright :

    Our honey will never be as sweet. An admirable fellow who will be missed.

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  20. Margaret Crichton :

    Dear Cathy,Becky and Liz,

    Your Bill was such a lovely man …I have so many happy memories of camping with him, Brownie field trips, his super bread and waffles, his honey …I think Bill really knew what was important in life – his wife and his girls, doing an important job ( teaching) with all his heart and soul, enjoying his bees and trying in a hundred and one ways to make our world a better place by, for example, assisting his Kenyan friend get his education … he was one of life’s really good guys … generous and kind and always living life with purpose .. I will miss his energetic walk, his competance, his kind and lovely self..

    I hope good memories help you all ..

    Margaret, Jane and David

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  21. Allan Campbell :

    Upon our return to Calgary I was saddened to learn of Bill’s passing. He was a fine colleague, admired and respected by staff and students alike. There are no better words to describe him than those you have used- kind, thoughtful, generous, and admirably suited to teaching. Talking as we biked towards our respective homes at the end of each spring day added to the quality of life at FLHS for me. I am grateful to have known and worked with him.

    My condolences to the family

    Allan Campbell (AP-FLHS ’91-94)

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  22. jennifer foster :


    I just want to say how sorry I am for your loss. I was taught for 3 years by Mr. Turner, he was a great person who taught me to believe in myself and convinced me that I could do anything I put my mind to. Yhanks to him, I worked extremly hard in high school and went to school to be a nurse. I am truly sorry to hear of your loss, he will be dearly missed and forever remembered.

    Jennifer Foster

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  23. Hooda Sadden :

    My sincerest condolences to you Mrs. Turner, and your family. Mr. Turner was my biology and horticulture teacher in high school and he had a remarkable impact on my life.

    He will be missed and I am sorry for those students who will not benefit from his great knowledge.

    Hooda Sadden

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