Local UT grad, aeronautical engineer, family man turns 102  

Bob Turner was serenaded at his 102th birthday party at Longhorn Village. The centenarian graduated from University of Texas, served in the military, worked on the F-16 fighter plane design, and raised a family. Now he paints and studies the Texas whiptail lizard.


Four Points News

Bob Turner has lived more than a century, keeping his wit while making a difference.

“Thank you for coming to my birthday party,” he told family and friends that filled the Forty Acre Hall at the Longhorn Village retirement center in Steiner Ranch on February 10. “I always say having birthdays beats the alternative.”

Throughout his 102 years, he served in the military, worked on the design of the F-111 bomber and the F-16 fighter planes, and raised a family. Today Bob teaches oil painting and studies the Texas whiptail lizard. 

Bob was honored at his birthday celebration with an official birthday commemoration from Texas Governor Greg Abbott. A group of ukulele players carried the tune for the crowd to sing “Happy Birthday” and Bob was serenaded as well.

“Now this floor is made for dancing, so dance,” he shared, claiming he would dance when “Mack the Knife” was played by the DJ. 

Bob Turner was born February 6, 1922 in Corsicana, Texas in his grandparent’s home. He attended school in Nacogdoches, Texas.

He received several degrees from the University of Texas: Bachelor of science in mechanical engineering in 1943 and in aeronautical engineering in 1947, and then a master of science in aeronautical engineering in 1948. 

He met future wife, Gloria Miner Turner, at UT in the Engineering School in airplane wing design class. In 1947, Gloria became the second woman to receive an aeronautical engineering degree from UT. The couple married in 1948.

The centenarian served in the U.S. Navy during World War II in the Pacific: New Hebrides, Admiralty Islands, New Guinea and Philippines.

After college, he worked for General Dynamics for 36 years. During that time, he was on the design team for the F-111 bomber and the F-16 fighter planes.

Bob has four children – Robert Turner, lIII, Nancy Turner, Patricia Turner, and George Turner – and seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Archaeology of the Northeast Texas Caddo (Native Americans) has been his lifelong avocation.  The Longhorn is also a Fellow of the Texas Archeological Society, and has numerous publications in archeological journals in the state.

Bob and Gloria were founding builders of the Northeast Texas Rural Heritage Museum in Pittsburg, Texas beginning in 1988.

Bob has been doing a one-man study of the Texas whiptail lizards’ lifestyle and hibernation habits around Longhorn Village for the past three years.

He likes to paint oil landscapes, which he started by watching free lessons on the internet during the shutdown of the pandemic. These days he teaches an art class for fellow residents at Longhorn Village.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott sent a birthday commemoration to Bob, which was given to him at the ceremony.