BIG SANDY - Wayne Turner, 58, died Thursday, June 17, 2004, while fighting the Dammeron Complex forest fire near St. George, Utah.
A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. today at the Big Sandy airport with a reception to follow.
Wayne was born on Dec. 31, 1945, to Kenneth and Edith Turner in Great Falls. He graduated from high school in Centerville in 1963. He went to Montana State University and obtained a bachelor's degree in agricultural business and his pilot's license. He enlisted in the naval service in 1968 and served as a flight simulator instructor during the Vietnam War. He was honorably discharged in 1974.
Wayne's first love, after his family, was flying, and he always felt at home when he was in the air. He maintained a commercial pilot's license for the last 40 years. He owned and operated his own flying service, which included aerial application, flight instruction, and contract piloting. He was active in the community and the schools, and always especially enjoyed the time he spent with the kids of Big Sandy.Some of his favorite activities were coaching wrestling and the Science Olympiad. Wayne was also a volunteer fireman, EMT-I, city council member, 32nd degree Mason, and Shriner.Wayne had endless amounts of energy and loved the outdoors. It was his goal to climb the highest peak in every state. He was well on his way. Wayne was funny, enthusiastic, hard working, intelligent, and even sometimes handsome, but most of all he was "neat inside." He was always ready with a quick joke, a smile and a big bear hug. He was caring and compassionate and was always reaching out to others in need. He was still a child at heart and was never too busy to have a good "romp" on the floor with one of his grandkids.
Survivors include his wife of 37 years, Jan Turner of Big Sandy; mother, Edith Turner of Kremlin; sons, Jeff (Kristie) Turner of Kalispell and Daniel (Heather) Adams of Wisconsin; daughter, Katrina (Chad) Salois of Helena; seven grandchildren; sisters, Fay (Wes) Wolf of Kalispell, Jan Kuno of Arizona, and Judy (Dick) Seibert of Washington; brother, Ivan (Mariana) Turner of Big Fork; and numerous nieces and nephews. His father, Kenneth Turner, and his son, Warren, preceded him in death. Memorials may be made to the Big Sandy medical center and the Big Sandy volunteer fire department.