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Obituary for Kenneth Carl Turnbull

Kenneth Carl Turnbull
Passed away at the Tiger Hills Health Centre on Tuesday December 8, 2015 at the age of 92 years, Kenneth Carl Turnbull of Treherne MB.

Ken leaves to mourn his passing his loving wife of 65 years Opal (nee Lee), sons Grant (Michelle) of White Rock B.C., Everett (Esther) of Sliema, Malta, daughter Joan Turnbull of Winnipeg; grandchildren Andrew (Julie), Carl (Natalia),Jennifer, Alexander; great grandchildren Judah, Abigail, Anna Bella, Landon & Hudson. He is also survived by his brothers Ronald (Audrey) & Glen of Treherne, sister Lucille Hogg of Charlottetown PEI as well as numerous extended relatives & friends. Ken was predeceased by his brother Ross (Phyllis), sister Frances (Frank) McKee & also brothers-in-law Bill Hogg & Keith Howie.

Funeral services will be held on Monday December 14, 2015at 2:00 p.m. in the Treherne United Church with Rev. Chuck Ross & Pastor Andrew Turnbull officiating. Interment to follow in the Woodlands Cemetery. Friends that so desire, memorial donations can be made in Ken's memory to the Tiger Hills
Health Centre Medical Clinic Expansion (Municipality of Norfolk Treherne) Box 30, Treherne MB R0G 2V0, the Tiger Hills Area Foundation, Box 342 Treherne MB the Treherne United Church, Treherne MB or to the Manitoba Agricultural Museum, Box 10, Austin, MB, R0H 0C0.
Online condolences can be made by visiting www.willmorchapel.com. Jamieson's Funeral Services of Holland in care of arrangements. 204-526-2380.

Excerpts from
“Memories of a Meticulous Mechanic”
Written by Tori Hill, Sept 11th, 2015

Ken Turnbull, my Great Uncle was born on June 10th, 1923. He was a short-statured, always clean-shaven, typical Manitoban boy. Upon first glance at Ken’s respectable appearance, one might think
that Ken was not one to get his hands dirty. However, upon closer examination, one would only need to glance at Ken’s hands to see just the opposite. His hands show a deep history of hours of tough, backbreaking work. The grime and grease of his lifetime’s work was forever etched into his palms and under his fingernails.

In October of 1941, at the age of 18, Ken joined the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in Winnipeg, MB.
After six months of training Ken graduated from the Aero Engine Trade School. He was then moved to Brandon, MB to prepare for transfer to the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan Service Training Schools. While in Brandon, Ken came down with scarlet fever. After recovering from its dreadful and
physically draining symptoms, instead of giving up, Ken went straight back to work. Pat summer of 1942 he was transferred to Moncton, NB where he spent one year at the “Service Flying Training School” and in 1943 he then transferred to Hagersville, Ont. “Service Flying Training School”.

After completing his training in November 1944, Ken left Halifax, NS for Yorkshire, England on the ship “The RMS Mauretania”. He was stationed at Leeming Bar, Yorkshire England no.6 Bomber Group where he serviced the Halifax and the Avro Lancaster heavy bombers. After the war ended in 1945 (VE Day) the Lancaster bombers were used to transport the Allied prisoners of war. Ken was sent to Belgium for a few days to service the Lancasters while they transported the prisoners back to England. Ken remained in England to service the Bombers for storage, which involved draining fuel, removing bombs and lubrication.

Finally, in March of 1946, Ken was discharged from the war. His voyage home was again on the ship “The RMS Mauretania”. Ken remembers “the ship was packed with passengers like a sardine can”. The voyage home was very rough. Ken himself never complained about the ship; he had an admirable mental toughness that rarely wavered, even in the most adverse conditions.

Ken received three awards from the Second World War: 1939-1945 Star, Defence Medal, and Canadian Volunteer Service medal and Clasp.

After the war Ken received some assistance from the “Veterans Land Act”. This allowed Servicemen to purchase farm land, build houses and buy farm equipment with low down payments and low interest loans. Ken said this helped a lot of World War II veterans get established that otherwise could not have. This helped Ken and his wife Opal Lee who he married on
August 5th, 1950 have a long successful career on the farm in Treherne, Manitoba.

Ken retired from the farm in 1991, since then he has restored several items for the Manitoba Agricultural Museum in Austin,MB. He has an incredibly strong work ethic and because of it, he accomplished many feats in his lifetime.

Ken’s life has been different from mine in many ways. He lived a life based on a foundation of enormous amounts of hard work and adversity. From his involvement in the Second World War, to his manual labor on the family farm, and his work on countless engines, his determination to put all of his energy in to every project never wavered. I hope to follow in his lead and replicate this unwavering determination in my future. For this I look up to my Great Uncle Ken and I hope to always remember his amazing life story throughout my life.

“My Miracle Man” – Mom
By Ken Turnbull’s Children: Dec 10th, 2015

Dad would have been 92 ½ years old today. When asked a few weeks ago “Dad what was the most significant time in your 92 years?” – he responded - “my time in the Air Force – they turned me into something”.

Indeed Dad “learned” a very skilful trade in the Air Force, but the “knowledge” of how to apply his trade-skill developed over many years, including during his time in the Air Force, but more so during his farming life with his brother Uncle Ross Turnbull. They couldn’t stop modifying and creating machines. How
many people do you know would modify a perfectly good M front end loader tractor and completely reverse it to be an even better back end loading M tractor?

Dad was a dawn to dusk farmer for close to 40 years. He loved the smell of the dirt and the feel of a head of wheat in his hands. After the war, Uncle Ross Turnbull and Dad farmed jointly for many years. Soon after Mom and Dad were married, Dad began building our eventual home across the field west of Uncle Ross’ where Dad had purchased a half section with the help of a Veteran’s loan.

We remember Dad as always working on behalf of his family. Some years were good and some were not. We milked a few cows and separated the cream to sell to the Treherne Creamery. Often the cream cheque was needed for the groceries.

Later Dad purchased another half section of land south of Treherne from Grandpa Lee. This was Mom’s home farm. This land was hilly and full of stones. The spring and fall stone picking days were surely some of the least favourite days of Dad’s life, and ours too when seconded to help.

After Dad “retired” from farming, he began his next career as a re-builder of vintage cars and trucks. He began his last major project when he was 89 years old. This project was the complete construction of a World War I Field ambulance for Rick Vanderpol. We think this was Dad’s favourite project, but it is
hard to say as he put his heart and soul into every project and there were many.

Dad also rebuilt several early 1900’s tractors that operate now at the Austin Agricultural Museum including the Flour City and the Sawyer Massey. At any time, he would drop what he was doing to Lx a neighbour’s lawn mower or their snow blower, or even the sausage machine at Jenkinson’s Meat
Market.

All the while Dad did his share of community service. He served as a Municipal Counsellor. He was an active member of the Treherne United Church. Dad served on the Treherne Recreation Commission when the skating rink was built. Dad was an active member of the Legion. He served on the Treherne Hospital Board and he has been active at the Austin Agricultural Museum for many years.

Since 1950, Dad was a dedicated brother of the Treherne Masonic Lodge. As children, we would often see him sitting in his chair with his lips moving but no sound was coming out. He was practising and memorizing his Masonic verses and prayers. Dad’s service to the Masons led to his election in June
of 1986 to become the 105th Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba.

Surely this time as Grand Master was one of the highlights in his life. During that year Dad travelled to all
corners of Manitoba to attend lodge meetings with his fellow brethren. He attended with Mom to special Masonic lodge events in Banff, Kentucky, and in Edinburgh to attend the 250th year anniversary celebration of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. We believe his service and dedication to his Masonic duties was inspired by his desire to provide support, comfort, and leadership to his fellow brethren, all in keeping
with the Masonic traditions. A few weeks before his passing, Dad received his 65th year Masonic bar from the current Manitoba Grand Master, Ron Church.

Over the years Dad and Mom travelled to many places in Canada and the USA. They twice ventured half way around the world to visit Everett and his family in Malta. Dad always enjoyed his travels, although he was always glad to get home. We think it was because he simply loved this place called home: Treherne.

In his “spare time” Dad read many books with war history books being among his favourites. He loved to read and memorize poetry as well. Robert Service and Robbie Burns were two of his favourites. Dad could recite from memory the lengthy “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” or ‘’The Cremation of Sam McGee’’ by Service. Some will recall when Dad dressed up as the full breasted “lady that’s known as Lou” in a local skit about the shooting of dangerous Dan McGrew.

Perhaps you witnessed Dad recite Burns’ “Toast to the Haggis” at a Robbie Burns Night. On one eventful evening, as Dad vigorously waved his home-made cleaver above the haggis as he recited the blessing, the cleaver slipped from his hand flying towards the audience in attendance! Fortunately, and no doubt only by the good graces of the spirit of Burns himself, no one in the breathless crowd was wounded or
received an unwanted amputation!

As the years passed, Dad’s learning and knowledge, combined with his diverse range of life experiences
transformed to a higher level of wisdom. Dad would never acknowledge such a notion, but to those of us who were close to him and friends who knew him, we often experienced his wise words and profound thoughts. We also experienced his wit and passion, his kindness and sharpness, all as fitted the moment. The good thing is that Dad had a special unassuming way of passing on his wisdom, in little bits, to
every person he met.

We’ve been holding Dad’s hands a lot over the last few weeks. May we suggest that few people’s hands have done so much. Many have experienced Dad’s hands, whether in a firm handshake, as a child or grandchild holding his hands, while dancing with him during a fun night, or while watching his hands during an intense card game. Perhaps some of you have experienced his hands while sharing a grasp around a big wrench while trying to loosen a stubborn nut. We have all been left “in good hands” because of Dad.

The story cannot end without emphasizing Dad’s special love for Mom, Dad’s only love of more than 65 years. He loved to hold her hands in his. Mom shared all of Dad’s experiences except of course those many hours in the greasy shop! He loved you so much Mom; you were his “soul mate”. As Burns
wrote in his poem ‘’ My Love is Like a Red Red Rose”:
And fare thee weel, my only love!
And fare thee weel, a while!
And I will come again, my luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand Mile!
We expect Mom, that Dad will probably travel the “ten thousand Mile” back to you in an old Model T or a Studebaker.
No wonder Mom called him “My Miracle Man”!

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