Longtime Greybull resident, Melvin Turner, Sr. passed away on Thursday, July 2, 2015 at the Worland Healthcare and Rehab Center.
Melvin was born in Columbus City, Iowa on March 10, 1936 to Harry A. Turner and Mable L. (Waitsif) Turner. Melvin grew up in Iowa with his two sisters and helped his father deliver freight around Louisa County—everything from milk to scrap iron. They used a horse and wagon mostly, because Harry thought gas cost too much.
There in Iowa Melvin met Bonnie Jean Shock, and they were married in January 17, 1953. They were both 17 years of age.
Melvin came to Wyoming in 1955 with his wife and two children in a 1949 Plymouth car. Melvin and family located in the Shell Valley, working on a variety of ranches, such as Wally Mayland and Chester Whaley.
In 1960, Melvin purchased the old house on fourth street next to the elevator and stockyards with his wife and four children where he remodeled the house and worked for Wyo-Ben Bentonite Plant and Georgia Pacific Sheet Rock Plant near Lovell.
In 1963 Melvin and family, six children, now purchased the old church on north fourth street and fourth avenue north remodeling into a duplex with his parents on one side and Melvin and his family on the other end. Melvin still worked for Georgia Pacific and started with Reuben Ruffinstiner Metal Shop where he learned the trade of cutting and welding iron and metals.
Around 1966, Melvin and his father purchased the property east of Greybull and started the little ranch and the beginning of Turner Iron and Metal. During this time his two sisters, Audrey Brown with six children in Greybull and Barbara with three children in Powell, all from Iowa.
Within nine years, Melvin moved out to the property east of Greybull accompanied by his wife, Bonnie and only four children who still lived at home. Melvin and family worked with the scrap iron, cutting and hauling the cows and animals and also hauled loads of fruit up from Colorado and sold it around the Big Horn Basin.
In 1987, Melvin Dean and Bonnie Jean began their dream of a log home starting with the timbering of their own logs with their team of horses on the Big Horn Mountains. By this time Melvin and Bonnie’s business was doing good, so with his trucks and equipment he cut and hauled all the logs down, and with the help of two local contractors he started their tri-level home.
In 1989, Melvin and Bonnie moved into their beautiful log home that was self-designed and hand put together.
In 1990, Melvin followed his other life adventure of the Wyoming Centennial Wagon Train. Upon restoring his own covered wagon, just in time to go to Casper the first of June. Melvin and many family and friends had a great time with the adventure and parades. Melvin continued his wagon trips and joined the Wyoming Wagon Train Club with Terrill Gibbons going on about seven more wagon trips all around Wyoming.
Melvin lost Bonnie in 1994 and was quit lonely but continued the business and life even with his own health failing with heart surgery and the diabetes he had for many years with his eyesight failing.
In 2003, Melvin’s close companion, Fern Williams, lived with him, helping to look after him. In 2008, when he lost the ranch and business, Melvin and Fern moved into Greybull.
By 2012, Melvin’s health took a downhill slide, and he was moved to the Worland Healthcare and Rehab Center where he resided until his death in July 2015.
Melvin worked hard and played hard, but his family always came first. His life interests were hunting, fishing, horses and just being a cowboy with a family.
Melvin is preceded in death by his parents, Harry and Mable Turner; his sisters, Audrey and Barbara; his wife of 41 years, Bonnie Jean; one grandchild, Melissa Snyder; two great-grandchildren, Piper Getzfreid and Bryce Williams.
Melvin is survived by six children: Connie Snyder of Laramie, Cathie Presley of Worland, Melvin Turner Jr. of Worland, Robert Turner of Basin, Carrie Turner of Rawlins, and Lydia Heath of Fairbanks, Alaska; and companion, Fern Williams of Greybull; 8 granddaughters; 11 grandsons; 41 great-grandchildren; and 4 great-great-grandchildren; and many, many nephews and nieces.
A viewing will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, July 14, 2015 at the Atwood Family Chapel in Greybull
A funeral service will be held at the Atwood Family Chapel in Greybull on Tuesday, July 14, 2015 at 1:00 P.M. Following the service he will take his last ride to be placed beside his lifelong partner, Bonnie Jean at the Donald J. Ruhl Memorial Cemetery in Greybull. Following the graveside service, there will be a potluck luncheon at the Greybull City Park for all his family and friends to celebrate his life.
Memorials in Melvin’s name will be received at the Big Horn Federal Savings Bank, P.O. Box 471, Greybull, WY 82426. A beneficiary of the proceeds will be decided at a later date.
Atwood Family Funeral Directors assisted the family with arrangements.