Robert Turner

Memorial Visitation at Funeral Home

5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Friday, March 22, 2024
Lesko Funeral Home
1209 Post Road
Fairfield, Connecticut, United States

Memorial Service

10:00 am
Saturday, March 23, 2024
Emmanuel Episcopal Church
285 Lyons Plain Road
Weston, Connecticut, United States

Obituary of Robert P. Turner

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Robert Phillips Turner, 103, died on March 9, 2024 at his home of 70 years in Weston, CT.

Mr. Turner was born on a homestead near Sheridan, WY in 1921, but after family tragedy, he and his sisters landed in an orphanage in Laramie. There he bonded with Helen Turner, a young woman who'd traveled west to ride horses, but ran out of money and took an orphanage job helping with the children. Though unmarried, she was determined to adopt him. Facing down parental resistance, societal censure and legal constraints, Helen persevered and brought Mr. Turner home to her parents' house in Garden City, NY.

When Mr. Turner was seven, Ms. Turner married Harry Bates, Sr. (defying 1920s mores that considered single motherhood an unmarriageable state.) The growing family moved to Irvington, NY, where three younger brothers were born. Mr. Turner attended Hackley School, then Cornell. After Pearl Harbor, Mr. Turner enlisted and served in the Army Air Corps.

He had a long career at Sikorsky Aircraft, and loved living in Weston, always serving on at least one town board, with especially long service on the Planning and Zoning Commission. On retirement from Sikorsky at 65, Mr. Turner became Weston's Code Enforcement Officer until he retired from that job at 90. He later said if he knew he'd live so long, he wouldn't have retired so early. And when he resigned from the Conservation Commission at 101, he stated his regret that his service to the town had come to an end.

Though Mr. Turner's western family of origin was scattered by adoption, their parents kept the siblings in touch, so despite long distance travel being uncommon in his youth, he sometimes visited his western sisters; in later years, they held annual reunions.

He had many old timey memories, such as cranking his father's car to start it, and prying open wooden crates in the days before corrugated cardboard boxes. He was an endless source of information – what is a dreadnought, how is dead reckoning conducted, the differences between military aircraft (and which features he considers a waste of taxpayer money.)

A lifelong love of boats began at his family's cottage on the Connecticut shore at Grove Beach, where his grandfather gave him a rowboat, taught him skulling, and set him loose. A longtime member of Cedar Point Yacht Club, family excursions on boats were a favorite family pastime.

His longevity might be attributed to his active life with his grandchildren, his constant work on his boat, and performing maintenance around his property (including climbing onto the roof at age 98 to cut back branches). He was fortunate to keep his sharp mind to the end, with avid daily reading of the NYTimes, the Norwalk Hour, and magazines and books covering nautical, aviation and military matters. He was surely Necco Wafers' longest lived daily consumer, keeping a stash of those pale little disks in every room.

Still, as he aged past 100, he said, "Practically everything I do is a workaround."

He is survived by his children, Robert Turner, Jr., of Trumbull, Charity Lunder (Rich), of Armonk NY, and Mandy Ianiri (John), of East Dover, VT; and grandchildren, Emily, Jamie, Hope, Mait, Robert, and Grace; along with a bevy of nieces and nephews he treasured.

He was predeceased by his beloved wife Hope Griggs Turner; his brothers, Harry Bates, of Clinton CT, Charles T. Bates, of Irvington, NY, and David Bates, of South Salem, NY; and his western sisters, Eileen Horn, Helen Bonine, and Jean Coolidge.

Calling hours will be held on Friday, March 22, 2024 from 5:00-8:00 p.m. at the Lesko Funeral Funeral Home, 1209 Post Road, Fairfield, CT. A Memorial Service will take place on Saturday, March 23, 2024 at 10:00 a.m. at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 285 Lyons Plains Road, Weston CT. Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to Emmanuel Episcopal Church or Weston EMS, 52 Norfield Road, Weston CT 06883 ( For travel directions or to sign his online guest register, please visit

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