Alec Edward Turner
1924 – 2014
Alec, cherished husband of 65 years to Vi Turner of Salmo, BC, died Saturday, June 7th at 90 years of age in Ashcroft, BC. He was born in Kieghley, Yorkshire, England, and immigrated to Canada in 1929 at age five with his parents. Alec grew up in Rossland BC.
In 1941, at age 17, Alec left school and voluntarily enlisted in the Royal Canadian Navy with the rank of Boy Seaman. He is remembered on Rossland’s St. George’s Church roll of those “who have volunteered for active service with Canada’s Fighting Forces.” He was trained as a Telegrapher and saw duty in the Fisherman’s Reserve patrolling the west coast on the: BC Lady, St Thomas and Nitinat. On November 29, 1944 Alec was assigned to the HMCS Gatineau in the Battle of the Atlantic. The ship participated in the “D Day” operations of June 6, 1944 that began the Battle of Normandy. After V – J Day Alec saw duty on the River Class frigate the HMCS Grou. From December 1945 through July 1947 he was assigned to the HMCS Uganda. She was the first Canadian Naval vessel to sail on a goodwill tour after the end of WWII. Uganda departed Esquimalt February 1946 circum- navigating South America and returning to home port May 1946. Alec’s Navy engagement expired March 8, 1949. During his duty in the Royal Canadian Navy he was awarded: The Canadian Volunteer Service Medal, The 1939-1945 Star, The France & Germany Star, and The 1945 War Medal.
Alec married Violet Florence Chesney in December of 1948. Their daughters were born in 1949, 1952 and 1954, respectively. Alec and his family lived in Nelway, BC from 1955 to 1966 when they moved to Salmo.
In 1952 Alec joined the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 14 at Rossland, BC. His lifetime activities were at Branch 217, Salmo, BC. He served in a number of capacities on the local Legion Executive and assumed Zone commander West Kootenay. Alec was instrumental in leading a negotiation and administration team to establish the Independent Living Quarters in his community of Salmo, BC. He was recognized as a Life Time Member of the Royal Canadian Legion in 1981. The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 217, Salmo awarded Alec a Certificate of Merit in 1983 in recognition of “years of Exemplary, outstanding and consistent work for the Legion.” On May 2, 2004 RCSCC, Hampton Gray VC invited Alec to attend to the Laying of the Wreath during the Battle of the Atlantic Commemorative Service at Nelson, BC.
Alec’s service to his country extended beyond his Navy enlistment and Legion membership. He saw a 32 year career in the federal Public Service as a Customs Officer that extended from 1949 to 1981. He worked primarily at the Port of Nelway, BC; but, he had also been posted in Patterson, and Waneta in the West Kootenay, as well as Roosville, BC in the East Kootenay. In 1967, the Government of Canada recognized Alec’s contributions to his country by awarding him a Centennial Medal for “valuable service to the nation.”
Alec was also a committed community member. He helped build the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 217 facility in Salmo, BC, was a member of the Salmo Golf Port, as it was known, and helped build the course’s clubhouse. He was much loved and recognized for his cartoons of local golfers that were featured on the walls of the golf club’s 19th hole. Alec was an active work crew member that created the volunteer operated Salmo Ski Hill on Brushy Mountain. He was a member of the Salmo Volunteer Fire Department.
Alec was an avid sportsman. The winters’ of his youth were spent skiing Red Mountain, the summers’ caddying at the Rossland Golf Course. As an adult he could reliably be found on the Salmo Ski Hill or the golf course. In later years Alec and Vi spent winters on the Big Island of Hawaii.
He is remembered as an honorable, modest, and dutiful man with an exceedingly dry wit who was “always a gentleman.” Alec will be lovingly celebrated and missed by his wife Vi, three daughters Danita (Greg) of Ashcroft, Dawn (Grant) of Surrey, Diane (Eric) of Pahoa, Hawaii, three grandchildren Darcy (Yona), Lauren and Matthew and great grandson Makana.