UK official Larry Turner hailed for strength, faith, humility

HERALD-LEADER STAFF WRITERMay 22, 2007 

When Larry Turner's father died, Turner wrote in his journal that his dad had long been his rock.

Clay Turner tearfully used those same words yesterday about his own dad, Larry, who died in the crash of Flight 5191. He prays he lives up to the standard both men set.

"I hope that God can give me strength so that some day my own sons can say the same thing about me," Clay Turner told a gathering of nearly 1,200 yesterday at Southland Christian Church.

Family and faith figured prominently in the hourlong service, which was moved to Lexington's largest church to accommodate the crowd. Turner, 51, had been a longtime member of Christ Church.

Judge Tim Philpot remembered his longtime friend at that Methodist congregation as a nearly perfect person, not because he always did things right but because he was a humble man who strived to live perfectly in his faith. Larry Turner, Philpot said, also loved nothing more than his family: Clay, wife Lois and daughters Amy and Molly.

Although Turner, head of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Office, oversaw 1,000 people, Philpot said, few at Christ Church knew of his academic accomplishments.

In his university office. Turner -- who had survived cancer and a nearly fatal car accident -- kept a brace that he'd worn on his head after the car wreck. According to brother Wayne Turner, Larry would say that, if he was ever having a bad day, he could look at that brace and be reminded that things weren't so bad after all.

That optimism, that ability to persevere, that faith should be Larry Turner's legacy, Philpot said. Those who mourn him should remember Turner's life, he said, and consider adopting a motto he plans to embrace: "Live like Larry."

Staff writer Art Jester contributed to this report.

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