Richard Tad Turner, age 84, of Rochester, MN died Saturday January 30, 2021 at Cottagewood in Rochester, MN of natural causes.
Rick was born George Charlton McKay on February 7, 1936 in Inglewood, CA, to Mabel Edith McKay (Poole) and Leo Murdock McKay. Following his parent's divorce, Rick was adopted by his Mother's husband Emmitt B. Turner in Springfield, IL in 1943. Rick grew up in Springfield and Lake City, IL, and graduated from Feitshans HS in Springfield in 1953. He joined the United States Air Force in 1955 and attended basic training at Lackland AF Base in San Antonio. In 1956, Rick was assigned as a Fire Control System technician on the F-102 aircraft at Lowery AFB Denver. In Denver, Rick developed his love of snow skiing, and in 1957 he was transferred to McChord AFB in Tacoma, WA and then to his final assignment at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage, AK.
Following his Honorable Discharge from the Air Force in 1959, Rick started his career with Burroughs corporation in Springfield, IL. In August 1960, Rick met Barb through an introduction by Barb's Aunt. They were married December 29, 1961 in Quincy, IL.
In January 1961, Rick and Barb moved to Carbondale, IL and Rick enrolled at Southern Illinois University. While at SIU, he developed interest and skills in photography, and took photos as a side job. After Rick took an introductory computer course and went to work at the SIU Computing Center, he found his calling as a computer programmer.
Rick graduated from SIU in June 1964 with a BA in Math with a Physics minor and began his career at IBM. Following IBM training in Bethesda, MD, Rick and Barb moved to Omaha, NE to work on IBM's USAF SAC account at Offut AFB.
Rick's son Mike was born in Omaha on December 9, 1964. In June 1965, he took an exciting IBM assignment working on NASA projects and the family moved to Deer Park, TX just outside of Houston. Rick was fortunate enough to do IBM work as part of NASA's Gemini and Apollo programs. In 1967, Rick got a new IBM assignment in their Government division, and the family moved to Creve Coeur, MO in July. It was at IBM St. Louis that Rick began extensive work on IBM's Data Management / Systems Engineer capabilities, which would lay the groundwork for multiple patents he developed for IBM and for the world-renowned computer consulting expertise he would develop later in his career. Rick's daughter Pam was born in St. Louis on July 17, 1967.
In 1973, IBM asked Rick to move to their Rochester, MN laboratory and manufacturing facility to work on the IBM System/38 as a Systems Engineer. In 1980, he accepted an IBM assignment at State Farm's headquarters in Bloomington, IL. Following a short one-year relocation to Bloomington, the family returned to Rochester. Upon his return to IBM Rochester, Rick began his System Performance work at IBM, which would encompass the remainder of his IBM and private consulting career. He became one of the world's foremost experts on AS/400 Systems Performance. Rick's role with IBM took him to countries across Europe and Southeast Asia as he assisted both local IBM offices and large customers. Rick also became an established technical magazine author and published technical books on the AS/400 operating system.
Rick retired from IBM in 1993 to start his own AS/400 Performance Consulting firm. He did extensive US and International work with IT departments for large companies. Rick partnered with Malaysian-based Silverlake, and beginning in 1995 he worked extensively on location with Silverlake's clients in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. He developed a Performance Analysis class for IBM and taught clients on location in Australia and China as well as the U.S. After an illustrious, substantial and very impactful career, Rick permanently retired in 2013.
In 2008, Rick went on a personal mission to locate his half-sister Linda Heritage (McKay), and made contact with her and other members of his family that year. Although late in life, the connection to his sister Linda was a source of great joy that he valued immensely.
Rick served two terms as the President of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Rochester and was a faithful and supportive member of Zumbro Lutheran Church. He valued his faith and relationship with the Lord.
He was an intensely passionate and avid golfer and long-time member of the Eastwood Men's Club. He was always very appreciative of the City of Rochester's excellent courses and the terrific Golf Professionals, Greens Keepers, and great staff who made it easy to enjoy his life's sports passion. He deeply valued the friendships with his golfing partners. Rick also was a Rochester Youth Hockey referee for 11 years, and especially enjoyed referring with his son Mike later in his career.
Rick is survived by his wife Barbara Jean Turner (Maiers), half-sister Linda Heratige (McKay) of Tucson, AZ, son Michael Andrew Turner (Kim) of Woodstock, IL, daughter Pamela Christine Sweere (Jim) of Lakeville, MN, grandchildren Jordan Richard Turner, Joshua Michael Turner, Laura Elizabeth Sweere, Samuel James Sweere and his nieces, nephews, and other family members.
A private Committal service will be held for immediate family on Saturday, February 6th at Zumbro Lutheran. A Memorial Service and celebration of Rick's life will be held on Saturday May 22nd at 11:00am at Zumbro Lutheran Church with a reception immediately following. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be made to Zumbro Lutheran Church or to Channel One Food Bank.
Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Turner family. To share a special memory or condolence, please visit www.ranfranzandvinefh.com
Rochester, MN 55902
I was saddened to hear about Rick's passing from one of my colleagues at IBM. Rick was my mentor in 1993-94 before he retired. I moved to Arizona in 2000 but I usually caught up with Rick when I would return to Rochester to teach a DB2 performance class or work with a customer in the benchmark center.
I was a sub-contractor when I mentored under Rick, I believe what I learned from him helped pave the way for my eventual hiring by IBM. He was a great mentor and friend.
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I did not know Rick like the rest of you, but what an outstanding person. The best conversations I had with him was breakfast at Denny's. I have missed not playing with him the last couple of years, but will always fondly remember him. -- Gary Reinholtz
Thanks so much for the updates on Rick. It was really appreciated. Like Norm I met Rick at church when we moved up here from Winston-Salem in 1980. While playing golf with Rick a few years ago we were talking about our families and Rick mentioned how blessed he was to have such a great wife in Barb. Still remember that. A great tribute. Probably about 5-6 years ago both Rick and I received a call from Chuck Johnson asking us to take over the coffee function for the annual Christmas bazaar and luncheon at Zumbro Lutheran church. This was a pretty big deal as a few hundred people are served lunch in under 3 hours. We met Chuck for training. I took a couple of general notes but Rick in typical fashion took copious notes. The next day we received a three page document from Rick outlining the whole procedure. Needless to say Rick became the brains making the coffee in the 2 huge urns and I became the gofer delivering the coffee to the 5 smaller urns located around the gym. Then a couple of years ago Barb called me and said Rick wouldn’t be able to do the coffee function anymore due to his medical situation. I recruited 2 friends to replace Rick one of them being Dave Whiting. One person wasn’t going to be enough. -- Wayne Debruin
I am having trouble with the reality that Rick will not be there when I return this Spring. He was the unique type of friend who was almost always available to go golfing, or to the coffeehouse, or to just show up unexpectedly. Although he could put on a gruff face momentarily (much to the hilarity of his golfing buddies), he was among the most gentle, caring and reliable persons I have known. On the course, he was, in terms of distraction, the opposite of Hogan. He heard and was affected by everything in his backswing. And his reactions, eruptions were legendary, but brief. It was only because he was essentially serious about his golf as well as about everything in his life. – Doug Wright
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I was Rick’s colleague and golf partner for 20 years. I don’t think that Rick was a gambler, but I do know that he never played his best unless there was at least $1 on the line. Even though he had an open invitation, he never came to visit Mae and I in Florida. I believe there were two reasons for that. One, Barb did not like to fly. And more importantly, Rick did not like to play on any golf course with water! I think that’s why he liked Eastwood so much. He sure did like to travel around southern Minnesota and play all the little golf courses though. I hope that you are all well and if you ever get to southwest Florida, look me up. I’m still playing golf four days a week year round. And, of course, I’m running a weekly golf league down here. I also have a summer job. I am a volunteer tournament chairman and senior rules official with the Florida State Golf Association. -- Bob Collins
Rick and I did a lot of work together at IBM. We shared a number of U.S. Patents. A patent is good for many years, and I used to joke that I’ll know when I have gotten old because my patents will have expired. I just looked up the last one that Rick and I worked together on. It expired in 1996. We got old. And then a lot older. So life goes. I have missed Rick’s presence on our golf outings for the last couple of years. But we did have plenty of good side conversations at our breakfasts. Always bright, gentle and enjoying reminiscing over our shared times at IBM. This is the way I’ll remember Rick. -- Bill Kempke
I’m sorry to hear about the passing of Rick. I did not know Rick like most of the golf group as I didn’t work at IBM or attend Zumbro Lutheran Church. My contact with him was only golf and breakfast which was always enjoyable and informative. My condolences go out to his family and friends. -- Gary Schmit
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Rick deserves a good write up (obituary) in the Post-Bulletin. I tried to make him a Democrat, but he wouldn't bite. A smart and interesting guy. I enjoyed the beer and conversation after golf, almost as much fun as golf. You two together were a special match. Fun. Fun. Fun. Rick was a terrific golfer. He knew how to screw up my putting by offering me lessons while I was putting. Ha. Ha. Competitive. Enjoyed winning. A great life. Set a good example for others. --Dave Grimsrud, Zumbrota
Craig, thanks for keeping us informed. I will really miss Rick. -- Ron Stevenson
I worked at the IBM lab in Rochester for 18 years before moving to take a position with IBM in Cary, N.C. Rick was one of my closest friends for most of those 18 years and also part of our weekly golfing foursome (Turner, Collins, Martens, and Harvey). We used to tee off at sun up on Saturdays and be done with 18 holes by 9:30. We also played together in the IBM golf league. I will share a great golf story about Rick at a later date. For now, let me just say that Karen and I were so saddened by the news of Rick’s medical issues and what the family had to endure prior to his passing. Our prayers go out to all family members and friends. I worked with Rick on System/38 architecture, performance modeling and tuning. He was an exceptional software engineer. I can still picture us locked in an office with Dale Dahl and Bob Collins debating the merits of MI support for Events and Exceptions (you had to be there). We really felt like we were breaking new ground, at least within IBM, to be architecting an entire system from the ground up. I am so fortunate to have kept in contact with Rick over the years after leaving Rochester...and even returning to play golf on a couple of occasions. Rick was the ultimate “down to earth” conversationalist. One of a kind. We talked about family and work and health (we both had experienced a heart attack) and golf over the years and were in touch as recently as last September. I swear, we had a lifetime conversation going about putting technique although I don’t think we advanced the state of the science. In September Rick wrote me “I’ve been golfing about once every two or three weeks of summer. Just don’t have the motivation to work on the swing and the mid-game has pretty much abandoned me; chipping is a little under average. I’m lucky to get on in two over...hitting drives about 155 or 160, a real terror”. But that was Rick. He always golfed better than he gave himself credit for. And he was a saint compared to me on the golf course when things were not going as he expected. Well...except for that one time with the putter...but it was just that one time. And in September when he talked about health issues they were dealing with, it was Barb’s health that was his concern. He never mentioned his Dementia or Parkinson’s. But that was Rick. I was so lucky to have been his friend. He will be greatly missed. -- Dave and Karen Harvey
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From: Craig Martens, and Rick's friends that are golfers
The following memories and condolences are from some of Rick's friends that also play golf. As you can see, Rick will be missed by all of us, and we all send our condolences to Barbara, Pamela, Michael and all of Rick's family and friends.
Barb phoned a few minutes ago and let us know that Rick passed away today at approximately 2:00 p.m. By all outward signs, he passed peacefully. At the time of his passing, a Pastor from his church was there and was singing to Rick his favorite hymn.
I am feeling very sad - Rick was a good friend and a good person and I'm going to deeply miss him. For me, Rick was one of those "most unforgettable characters" who had so many good and interesting qualities. He always brought something of value to others. – Norm Rasmussen
Rick and I have known one another, golfed together, needled one another, for over 40 years and Rick was a was a dear close friend. Rick knew what to say when there was a good golf shot and if he had a bad golf shot, he could also think up something to say. I will miss those rounds and the companionship that went along with them. Rick was an individual with a true Programmers mind. Just this summer we discussed Glenn Henry's description of the development of the IBM S/38. We also went back to the history of the S/3 and some of initial design that he did while a System's Engineer in St Louis. I will miss Rick, and won't be able too send him an email to ask him if he wants to play golf.
My condolences go out to all his family and friends. -- Craig Martens
Sorry for your loss. I had the privilege of working with Rick on S/38 and follow on systems. I always considered him the father of system performance. Anyone who has or will consider performance of that family of IBM systems is following a path he blazed. He was a special colleague.
So sorry to learn of Rick’s passing. I have golfed at Eastwood for many years and met Rick there. We golfed together several times but it was always great to see him there and chat or just wave from another spot on the course. He was a great guy. My sympathy.
Barb and family. I enjoyed getting to know you and Rick through our friendship Zumbro. Thanks for sharing this wonderful tribute to Rick's work and activities. Blessings and peace from Ruth and I. Bob
Pam, MIke and Barb, It was my goal sometime to be able to beat your dad at golf, unfortunately I don't think I'll be able to do that. Mike, I remember how much fun your Dad had officiating hockey with you. Pam your dad really adored you. I remember working with him when he was president of Holy Cross. Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers. Becky Schmieding
Rick was one of those folks I have met and worked with during "the IBM days" that ... just plain made you feel better and want to do a "better job" at whatever you were doing. Being a long time Rochester-ite, I first met and worked with Rick when he was at IBM - Creve Coeur, MO. Years later we met again at IBM Rochester on "performance stuff." Being a "non-golfer," I lost contact with Rick over the years though I knew of his golfing expertise from mutual acquaintances, - until we would run into each other somewhere in Rochester. We last spoke on the phone back in November 2020. Condolences to his family and am confidant he is helping those in heaven who still have golfing or improving performance issues!
I have such fond memories of Rick from family functions. Barb, Mike and Pam I will keep you in my heart and in my prayers during this most difficult time. I hope you are able to draw comfort from God's eternal promises. And I must say, my grandkids still think Rick having them say "purple underpants" rather than "cheese" as he was taking photos is epic. We'll miss him.
So sorry to learn of Rick's death. We spent many hours on the golf course, including Rick's thoughts on the design of Hole #1 at Northern Hills Golf Course, and our differing political opinions. A very smart guy...
Enjoyed our rounds of golf together years ago very much Rick. Wonderful afternoons on walking and talking on sunny fairways. I will miss our little golf chats filing out of Sunday church at Zumbro Lutheran. Rest well friend