Roger F. Turner, Jr. died unexpectedly on June 2, 2021 at the age of 88 at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston after a brief illness. He was born on September 22, 1932 in Norwood, MA. He was the eldest son of the late Roger Felix Turner and Louise Lambert Turner. He was also predeceased by his sister Sandra Turner Cann, his niece Deborah Cann and his longtime partner Patricia Kelly.
Roger is survived by his brother Michael W. Turner and his wife Lynne G. Turner of Barnstable, MA and their son and Roger's godson, Ross Whittier Turner, his wife Jennifer Turner and their son Reid Turner of Tampa, FL. He is also survived by his two nephews, Gregory Cann and his wife Joanne of Stratford, CT and Jonathan Cann of Milford, CT.
He served as the town’s Emergency Management Director, and also served as Vice President of the Walpole Historical Society and as an influential member of the Historical Commission.
He had a record of service dating back decades in the town of Walpole, including as a member of the Conservation Commission, Ponds Committee, Sewer & Water Commission, Master Plan Implementation Committee, Old Town Hall Reuse Committee, and Representative Town Meeting.
Roger was known to avoid the spotlight and never sought credit for his work, and he was never keen on being referred to as an “elder statesman”. But he was widely regarded as the authority on town history; water, dams, and pond related issues; and emergency management.
He was responsible for securing many grants for emergency management supplies and equipment in Walpole, and he was known statewide as a passionate advocate for preparing for any crisis. He was a mentor and leader for countless volunteers associated with emergency management and the Medical Reserve Corps.
Roger was a contributor, often uncredited, to virtually every major Historical Society publication and research project of the past 20 years. Perhaps more importantly, he was a major proponent of preserving Historical Society collections for the future - personally overseeing the digitization of thousands of Historical Society files and photos. Roger advocated for the inclusion of a climate-controlled, secure vault in the new Walpole Public Library to ensure the preservation of many documents and artifacts. He coached others in how to document information and present it in PowerPoint programs. Even up until his death, he was still involved in a range of Historical Society projects, including preparing for the town’s tercentenary in 2024.
Roger grew up on what is now known as Turner’s Pond, where his father trained for the 1928 and 1932 Winter Olympics. In his early years, while in the service during the Korean Conflict, he became enamored with ham radios and electronics. Following his discharge, Roger built on his knowledge of electronics to become involved in emergency management preparedness and to earn his amateur radio license W1ZSA. His love for electronics and radios continued throughout his life. He was also an accomplished photographer, often seen recording events at figure skating competitions and gatherings with his father, Roger F. Turner, a seven-time U.S. National Figure Skating Champion and World and Olympic Figure Skating Competitor. Roger went on to work for newspapers and for many years as the photographer for the Walpole Police. He later joined Dean College in Franklin as a photography instructor and was in charge of their audio/visual services.
Roger dedicated his life to the Town of Walpole and will be sorely missed by the town's people and his friends and family.
Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend Roger’s visitation on Saturday, June 12, 2021 from 2:00 to 5:00 PM in the James H. Delaney & Son Funeral Home, 48 Common Street, Walpole.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Walpole Historical Society, P.O. Box 100, Walpole, MA 02081, The Walpole Town Library, 143 School Street, Walpole, MA 02081, or the charity of your choosing.
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