Jon Turner, a husband, father, brother and friend to so many, lived his life knowing that “God would sustain him in all circumstances and will provide him a residence in His presence no matter what.” Jon entered the Lord’s heavenly presence on March 10, 2005 after a courageous battle with brain cancer. He was 52 years old.
Born on April 30, 1952 in Inglewood, Calif., Jon entered the Academy in 1971 majoring in aeronautical engineering. He relished his time at USAFA and graduated the top of his major in 1975 with an assignment to Williams AFB for pilot training. His active duty career included flying the T-37, T-38 (FAIPed), and UV-18. After receiving his master’s at Stanford, he spent a tour teaching Aero at USAFA. He then joined the Air Force Reserves and flew C-130s for almost 11 years, retiring as a lieutenant colonel in 1997. He was most recently in his 13th year at United Airlines where he flew the 737, 757, and 767 and instructed six years at their training center.
Jon flew his whole career, but that is not what defined him. Growing up as his son, his legacy is etched in my memories and sown in the man he taught me to be. Jon was respected by everyone. Since his cancer diagnosis in September 1994, friends, family, teachers, students, co-workers, and acquaintances alike conveyed to Jon and the family what he has meant to them. The themes were clear. He cared about people-everyone Jon met left feeling better about themselves...he touched everyone with his charm, leadership and compassion. He lived by excellence and integrity-he demanded the best from himself and others, never compromising who he was. He was everyone’s friend-not just a “hi” as he passed kind of friend, but the kind of unselfish friend who genuinely cared about how you were doing, always giving advice, always mentoring. The kind of friend that you just feel blessed knowing, but his pleasure was really getting to know you. He was a Man of God-Jon loved the Lord and desired to grow daily, if you talked to him for more than five minutes you would know to Whom his heart belonged.
Jon is survived by his loving bride of almost 30 years, Diane; sister Pam; daughter Jill and her husband, Scott Bradley (’01); son Ric (’03) and his wife, Mhari; and grandson Trevor Bradley. A wonderful memorial celebrating Jon’s life was held March 14, 2005 followed by a burial at the Air Force Academy with military honors.
If you asked Jon what he enjoyed, he’d say flying, USAFA football games, anything patriotic, and the mountains of Colorado. If you asked him what he loved, he’d say his wife, children and grandson and spending “quality time.” If you asked him who he was, he’d say a follower of Christ. Dad, we know you are now in His presence. Thank you for the legacy you left us with. Thank you for how you lived and what you stood for. Thanks for being my “wingman.” Thank you from everyone for being you...we miss you.
Son, Ric Turner '03 | March 2005