Rhoton Funeral Home


Ben Oliver Turner

24 August, 19483 February, 2021

U.S. Navy Chief Ben Oliver Turner was born on August 24, 1948 in Dallas, Texas and received his final orders to report to the Supreme Commander on February 3, 2021.

Ben graduated from Northwest High School in 1968. He then attended Tarleton State University, and North Texas State University. Ben worked at Braniff Airlines and then enlisted in the United States Naval Reserves in 1968. He went on active duty in the regular United States Navy in 1972. After retirement from the Navy in October of 1993, he attended Locklin Technical Center in Milton, FL and received his Accounting Certificate. He also attended the University of West Florida in Pensacola, FL and received his Associates Degree in Accounting. Ben worked for H & R Block in Milton, FL and at various H & R Block offices in the Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX metroplex from 1995 to 2012.

Ben was very proud of his military service and he was stationed in many areas across the world. His duty stations included the Naval Air Station in Dallas, TX, where he was an Aviation Machinist Mate Reciprocal (ADR); Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake, CA where he was an Aviation Boatswains Mate (ABH); Naval Air Facility, Sigonella, Sicily; Naval Air Station, Chase Field, Beeville, TX; USS Guam (LPH-9) Naval Station, Norfolk, VA; Naval Support Activity (NSA), Naples, Italy; USS Nassau (LHA-4), Naval Station, Norfolk, VA and Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana, Virginia Beach, VA. While serving his country, Ben was a part of various wars and conflicts such as the Vietnam War, Lebanon, Invasion of Grenada, Space Shuttle Challenger Recovery, Invasion of Panama, Gulf War, and Somalia.

Ben met and married his wife, Barbara of 42 years in Sigonella, Sicily in 1978. Barb saw Ben in the barracks lounge on several occasions, but always in civilian clothes and she did not know if he was a civilian or a sailor because she never saw him in uniform. When they met, he told her that he worked shift work and worked 2 days, 2 evenings, and 2 mids, and then he had 4 days off which explained why he was always in civilian clothing when she saw him. They were both active duty members in the U. S. Navy and Ben introduced Barb to Sicilian life and took her to restaurants and markets when they first met. It was a love affair that began in January 1978 when Barb arrived, and a love affair that was still strong in the end. Ben loved his family more than life itself!

An avid reader, he and Barb would read for hours on end in their apartment in Sicily with the record player playing a variety of music from Springsteen to Kiss to Willie Nelson. With coffee cup in hand and a paperback book, he was in his element. His two favorite authors were Tom Clancy and Clive Cussler.

He loved his life in the Navy and worked many hours each day. He and Barb had three wonderful sons while serving their country and when Barb deployed onboard ship after she was commissioned, Ben took his boys to work with sleeping bags, backpacks, and snacks because the Gulf War was in full force and there were no 9 to 5 working hours. The boys spent many nights with Ben at his work and then he would get them home in the morning to eat, bathe, change clothes and get them to school and/or childcare. Then Ben would go home and get some sleep before it started all over again. The boys loved it and were never in the way, and they were loved by all the sailors that worked for and with Ben.

Ben joined the HC-6 Spouses Club (formerly known as the HC-6 Wives Club) when Barb was assigned to HC-6. Ben was a Navy Chief, and the Spouses Club was comprised of the wives of the Navy pilots and officers. Ben refused to join the HC-6 Wives Club because he was not a wife and he made it perfectly clear to the President of the Wives Club that unless the name was changed, he would not be a member. The name was changed soon thereafter, and Ben became a mentor to many young Navy wives. He was "the Chief" and with three young sons of his own, Ben was quite unique in taking care of the children and the home while serving in the Navy while his wife Barb was deployed. Barb received a letter numbered #12 that read in part "the party was a success, and the wives loved our home." Barb had no idea what he was talking about except to read that the Commanding Officer's wife and several other officers' wives had been in her home at a party thrown by her husband! The next letter that Barb received was numbered #11 and explained fully the reason for the party at her home and they both had a good laugh over that story for many years. As the sole male in the Spouses club, Ben became the big brother/father to the young wives.

His grandchildren called Ben "Poppo" and he was the proudest grandfather in the world. He selected all of Emily and Morgan's dresses when they were young, and Barb had little say in that. He loved shopping for his grands. Ethan was his little cowboy and Ben insisted on buying him his first pair of cowboy boots, and a cowboy hat along with jeans and a snap shirt.

Ben loved to fish with his boys and took all three fishing for the first time in Virginia when the family was transferred there in 1990. Ben and the boys would go to the Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek when the boys were only 6, 8, and 10 years old and they loved it. Another favorite fishing spot was in Pensacola, FL at Perdido and Pensacola Beach. He loved to hunt and although he did not get to hunt as often later in life, he loved to hunt in the Hill Country (around Mason and Fredericksburg, TX) on the deer lease that his family had for years. Ben loved to travel and in addition to being stationed in Europe twice in his Navy career he loved to show his wife the Hill Country. They travelled to Fredericksburg at least once each year to go to Trade Days and shop. They also loved to go into the country to see deer and wildlife, and sneak in a little fishing on occasion, and of course look at the Bluebonnets that went on for miles in the spring.

Ben was a member of various organizations such as the AARP, American Legion Post #400 (Topeka, KS) 35+ year member, Aviation Boatswains Mates (AB) Association, Chief Petty Officers Association (CPOA), Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Fleet Reserve Association (FRA), Helicopter Combat Support Squadron SIX (HC-6) Spouses Club, National Rifle Association (NRA), and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Life Member. Ben was also a member of the Elizabeth Chapel United Methodist Church in Chumuckla, Florida.

Ben was preceded in death by his father and mother, John M. Turner and Earline C. Turner. He is survived by his loving wife Barbara (Couch) Turner; sons and their families John and Amy Turner with grandchildren Ethan, Emily and Morgan Turner; Michael and Brandy Turner with step-grandchildren Elizabeth and Kaylee Tatro; son Timothy Turner and sister Lona Turner.

TAPS Day is done, gone the sun. from the lake, from the hill, from the sky, All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

Thanks, and praise for our days ‘neath the sun, ‘neath the stars, ‘neath the sky. As we go, this we know. God is nigh.


The Stars and Stripes The Stars and Stripes, they flew forever always in his heart. He was loyal to his nation and bravely did his part. Always thinking of his brother ever in his mind, He stood for love of country and most of all, mankind. Now gazing down with his Master through a light and heavenly cloud, He’s still looking out for all of us of whom he is so proud.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Ben Oliver Turner

have a memory or condolence to add?

Kerry Langley

22 February 2021

Barb, John and I were so sorry to hear of Ben's passing. We are happy that all of your boys were able to be with you during this time. Ben was a great man and we are better off for knowing him. He took great care of us when he was our "tax man"! We love you and are keeping all of you in our thoughts and prayers!

Judy Faries

22 February 2021

Barb, I am so sorry for your loss. This is a really hard time for you but know that you and the boys are in our prayers. You have always been such a help for me with WAVES NATIONAL. If you need anything please let me know. Hope to see you next time we get to Fort Worth.

Judy Faries

Michelle Hawkins

20 February 2021

Going to miss Ben's stories. He was a great guy, and the neighborhood won't be the same without him.

David Mawhinney

20 February 2021

From the day I enlisted in the Navy back in 1969 I was always told to “ask the Chief”! Ben epitomized that phrase! I first met him in at HC-6 in Norfolk Va where I was privileged to be first XO and later CO. Barb was one of my awesome Detachment Maintenance Officers which made Ben one of our squadron spouses! Because of frequent deployments our Squadron’s “Wives Club” (remember this was back in the early 90’s before everyone was “Woke”, whatever that means), was an extremely important support element for the families left behind. Ben explained to me that he was definitely going to play a major role in that effort BUT, I was going to have to rethink the groups name! Obviously I listened to him, not only because he was the Chief, but because he was absolutely right. Thus the HC-6 “Spouses” club was born. From that moment on Ben became a trusted advisor and friend! A friendship that persisted to this day. I can’t tell you how many times he explained to me the error of my ways and pointed me in the right direction. I can honestly say that a good part of HC-6’s incredible success while I was there can be attributed to his wise counsel and I will be forever grateful. My one regret is that Ben left us with me still owing him a Steak dinner! So Ben, stand by. I haven’t forgotten. When I get there you and I have a date for a really good Steak! Until then, RIP my friend! Your work here is done and I’m sure heaven is enjoying your organizational skills as we speak! God Bless! See you soon my friend. You are missed!

Kohn "YoJack" Strauss

19 February 2021

When I first met Ben and Barb, I'd just got off the airplane in Catania, where Ben collected my stuff and off we went to Beach Housing, where Ben insisted I stay awake on New Years eve (1978)...some load about staying awake will make the travel easier to recover.
My new Bride Pat arrived a month later...
Well, we four became a constant at Sigonella Italy and shared many hours together.
In fact, Patty commuted with Ben and Barb each day, while I worked as a section leader for Ben, as he ran the Naval Air Terminal Sigonella.
By the time we all moved onto our next assignments, the bond between US was continued to this day.
Folks, Chief Ben Turner provided a leadership style that was demanding, consistent and above all commanded pride and commitment to the U.S. Navy.
Few words can describe my families Love for Ben, as each and every event between US, contained ALL of him...
We have the watch now Boss, and will make you proud...proud of the person that was in your perview.

Gone but not forgotten,

Pat Strauss

19 February 2021

Barb, so sorry for your loss. Just knowing Ben and you are around has always been a comfort. Adeline is always so proud and thinks of Uncle Ben every week when she goes shopping. She can load that Honda Pilot like crazy. Sometimes the ACL is scary! So many things we learned in Sig still stick with us. And let's not even get started about sea stories. The thing of it is, is this, we love you. Have always loved you both. Please know that.

Cheryle Jenner

19 February 2021

Barb, our deepest sympathy to you and the boys over the loss of your beloved Ben! Having just lost Bill last June after 52 years of marriage I truly understand what you are going through. The orbit was so good and informative about Ben’s life. I will always have fond memories of ya’ll in Sicily! Also when you came to Memphis for a WAVES convention and we came to the Graceland Hotel to get you and bring you back to our home. Sweet memories! The door is always open dear friend!
Cheryle, Tara, and Tamara

William Deal

19 February 2021

Thank you Chief Turner for your long and dedicated service to our great nation and to our Navy. May you rest in peace. Fair winds and following seas. I salute you Chief.

William Deal, PNC(AW), USN (Ret)

Jeanne Hooper

19 February 2021

What a wonderful story of Ben’s life! Barb, I am so very sorry about your loss of him. I only met Ben a couple of times, but remember well that he said for a married military person to be successful, they must have a supportive spouse. That, he obviously was!
We had something in common too: Tom Clancy and Clive Cussler are 2 of my favorite authors!
Prayers are with you and your family. I know Ben will remain with you in your heart until you are together again.

Cathy Gerolimatos

19 February 2021

Barb. To my Navy sister: My deepest sympathies. I do remember meeting Ben during midterm conference in Grapevine--that was fun. Fair winds and following seas to you both. Standing by. Cathy

From the Family