Oil Rigs

William Judson Turner

July 12, 1923 ~ April 2, 2020 (age 96)


William Judson Turner, known affectionately as Bill, was born on July 12, 1923, in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. He and his sister Doris were raised in Tulsa, where he attended local schools and excelled in math and engineering classes. He met Dixie Barbee at church camp when he was 16 years old; they would continue to write and meet at camp every summer until the arrival of World War II altered their lives. Bill began a degree in Petroleum Engineering at the University of Tulsa, but after the United States entered the war in late 1941, Bill elected to delay his degree. He volunteered to join the Army Air Corp in 1942, where he trained to use a Norden bombsight and to serve as the bombardier on the new, highly advanced B-29 fleet. He graduated from Officer Training at Yale University in 1944, and fondly recalled the Glenn Miller Band providing on-campus entertainment. 

Bill continued his correspondence with Dixie throughout the war while stationed in Japan and the Philippines, and they married on May 23, 1947. Dixie wore a dress made by her mother from a bolt of white silk Bill acquired while stationed in Tokyo, anticipating the event. The couple had four sons: William Judson Turner Jr., John Edward Turner, Thomas Dale Turner, and Daniel Mark Turner. Bill and family moved to Dallas, Texas, in the 1970s, where he launched a career as a chief engineer in the oil and gas industry. They attended Park Cities Baptist Church, where Bill would be a lifelong member.

He enjoyed having Dixie travel with him while working on field assignments until her death in the late 1980s. He then married Maria Luz Aguilar Retta on December 9, 1989.

Bill retired in 1994 at the age of 71 and took advantage of his newfound leisure time by traveling widely. Luz died in late 2014, shortly before she and Bill would have celebrated their 25th anniversary. Bill spent the remainder of his years enjoying time with his family. 

He is survived by his son, John Turner; stepchildren Edward Retta and Myra Van Horn; grandsons William Judson “BJ” Turner III, Justin Turner, Austin Daniel Turner, and Emmanuel Van Horn; granddaughters Jessica Turner, Christina Turner, Stephanie Turner, Lucia Retta, Julia Retta, Rachel Van Horn, Sofia Retta, and Rebecca Van Horn; and five great-grandchildren, Harold William, Nicholas Judson, Johnny Crockett, Caroline, and Jackson Daniel.

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