Robert “Bob” Turner, age 81, of Wausau, passed away at Abbotsford Health Care Center under the care of Hope Hospice & Palliative Care on November 3, 2021 with his loving wife Kathy at his side after a valiant battle with Alzheimer’s. Robert was born in Denver, Colorado on April 8, 1940 to Ralph and Orma Turner. The family later moved to Burlington, Colorado where Bob grew up. He graduated from Burlington High School in 1959. Bob proudly served his country in the United States Navy from 1959 to 1963 as a Hospital Corpsman, and was honorably discharged on August 30, 1963. While in the Navy he received the Navy Good Conduct Award, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal. He was a member of the American Legion WI Post 10 in Wausau.
Upon discharge from the Navy, Bob relocated to Wisconsin where he married Patricia Retzlaff (former spouse) and they had two sons, Ronald and William. In 1984, Bob met his best friend and forever soulmate Kathy Jaeger, and on April 24, 1987 they were united in marriage at St. Stephen’s United Church of Christ; a union lasting over 34 years. She survives.
Bob was the Director of Purchasing & Personnel for Good Samaritan Health Center in Merrill, Wisconsin from 1965 to 1988. Following this he worked for the State of Wisconsin Job Service, and later for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation - Division of Motor Vehicles until his retirement in 2005.
Over the years, Bob was a member of various organizations in the Merrill and Wausau community. He was a past member of the Merrill Jaycees, and served as Jaycees’ President from 1972 to 1973; a member of the Merrill Noon Optimists Club; a member of the National, State and local Gold Wing Road Riders’ Association (GWRRA); and a member of Therapy Dogs International, Inc.
Bob had a love for the outdoors, and in his younger years enjoyed waterskiing, camping, golfing, fishing, and hunting. In the late 1980s, he was the Lead Instructor for the Lincoln County Hunter Safety Program, and enjoyed teaching children and adults about hunter safety. His love of bird and deer hunting was something that he passed on to both of his sons. He also enjoyed his bird and deer hunting trips to the K-T Camp with his good friends Vern Kasper and Larry Bremer.
Bob had a passion for flying, taking flight lessons at the Merrill Airport. On March 21, 1981 he took his first solo flight, receiving his Private Pilot License on June 27, 1981. He enjoyed flying to various areas of the state, as well as to Colorado and Wyoming. His passion for flying was something he passed on to his eldest son Ron. Bob also enjoyed riding and touring on his Honda Goldwing motorcycle and taking various trips throughout Wisconsin and surrounding states with Kathy and his Chapter Q GWRRA friends.
For several years Bob was a freelance photographer in Merrill, taking wedding pictures, graduation portraits and commercial pictures for businesses. Bob’s love for photography is something that he and Kathy shared over the years; taking pictures and capturing family memories during vacations, family events and holidays.
After retiring Bob assisted the Wisconsin Sheltie Rescue with transporting and fostering rescued Shetland sheepdogs; several of them finding their forever home with Bob and Kathy. Bob was very proud of the fact that he and one of his rescued Shelties became a certified therapy dog team through Therapy Dogs International, Inc.; visiting residents at area nursing homes and bringing joy to their day.
Bob and Kathy enjoyed spending time together and looked forward to their “date nights” of dinner at a favorite restaurant followed by a movie. Bob was truly Kathy’s “prince charming”; always surprising her with little gifts or flowers just to show her how much he appreciated their life together and how much he loved her. In more recent years, even as his illness began to take away many of the precious memories they had made together, and began limiting the things he enjoyed doing in life, he still found enjoyment and comfort in spending time with Kathy and continuing their “date nights” at home, spending time with his dog Willow and his cat Marble, as well as feeding and watching the birds and squirrels in the backyard.
Bob had a heart of gold and would do anything for anyone; family, friend or stranger. He will be deeply missed by his family, and those who knew him. He is survived by his wife Kathy, his brother James (Lula) Turner of Westminster, Colorado, his grandsons Joseph, Andrew and Steven Turner all of Wausau, Wisconsin, his granddaughter Chloe Turner of Merrill, Wisconsin, his former daughter-in-law Christine Turner-Meilahn of Merrill, Wisconsin, his sister-in-law and brother-in-law Bev and Don Zabawa, his brother-in-law Clarence Schroeder, and several nieces and nephews
Bob is pre-deceased by his parents, his two sons Ronald and William, his sister Darlene Warren and brother-in-law Francis Warren, and his niece Peggy Thompson.
The memorial service for Bob will be held on Saturday, November 13, 2021, at 4pm at Waid Funeral Home. Rev. Michael Southcombe will officiate. Visitation will be held on Saturday, November 13, 2021, from 2pm, until the time of the service, also at the funeral home, with military honors being performed at 3pm. Inurnment will take place at a later date.
In-lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Alzheimer’s Association, St. Stephen’s United Church of Christ in Merrill, or the Wisconsin Sheltie Rescue in Chilton, Wisconsin.
The family would like to thank the Palliative Care Team at UW Madison Hospital for their excellent care over the past two weeks, and especially to Abbotsford Health Care Center staff, and Megan from Hope Hospice & Palliative Care in Medford for the excellent care and compassion shown to Bob during his final hours.
The service will be live streamed and available for viewing on Saturday, November 13, 2021 at 4pm, and can be found under his obituary on the funeral home website. It will then be posted as a recording for future viewing.
Waid Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Merrill is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences are encouraged and may be made at www.waidfuneral.com.
You truly were my Prince Charming, so loving, brave and kind,
I’ll treasure our memories, my love, until the end of time.
You made my life complete, my love; your love lifted me up to the sky,
And a love like ours, my husband, can never truly die.
Although you are no longer here, my love, although you’ve gone away,
I’ll cherish the time we had together until my dying day.
I will always and forever love you.
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