- Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 January 2022 19:16
George Turner who passed away on December 1, 2021 lived a long life of 91 years and never left his Rostraver Township roots. Some of his outstanding traits which his community remembers include loyalty, character, service and a deep patriotism to his country, serving four years in the Air Force following his 1949 Rostraver High graduation.
His heritage is most interesting beginning with descendants who came over on the Mayflower. One of his great grandfather’s James Calvin Turner was a Southern soldier of the Virginia Cavalry who was killed on May 6, 1864 at the Battle of the Wilderness. George’s father, Arthur “Buddy” Turner, was the man who called the political plays in Westmoreland County like an expert chess player for over two decades. In fact, his political machine was invincible with only one county judgeship loss in 1937 with the election of Judge George H. McWerter. Buddy was a “Boss” in every sense of the term in mid-20 century America. Throughout his career the Pricedale native was satisfied to be the appointed Chief County Detective, and he never aspired to elective office. But he ordained who would win Rostraver Township and county offices from judges down. He was a Republican when that was in style, and when it ceased to be, he became a Democrat. As an authentic boss he was a shrewd judge of men and their strengths and weaknesses. His influence at large has never been replicated after his passing in 1959. His funeral was one of the largest turnouts of dignitaries as well as the common folk who held him in affection and admiration.
George grew up in the shadow of his powerful father. He excelled on the gridiron as a lineman and was named first team tackle on the Mid Mon Valley Conference All Star team as well as WPIAL All County. In 2004 the Belle Vernon Area Football Hall of Fame selected George as an inductee. He served his country in the Air Force Security Services during the Korean conflict. After working for five years at the Pittsburgh Steel Corporation, he was appointed a Westmoreland County Deputy Sheriff, a position he held for 36 years. On October 3, 1987 he received the Outstanding Career Service award which was presented by the Deputy Sheriff’s Association of Pennsylvania. He was appointed a Rostraver Township Commissioner to fill a position which opened upon the resignation of Commissioner Henry Indof in 1987. Like his father, George never sought electoral office. On September 20, 2019 Turner was part of a ceremony at the Westmoreland County Courthouse in Greensburg in celebration of being inducted into the Pennsylvania Voter Hall of Fame. This acknowledgment was for having voted consecutively at every November election for the last 50 years.
Mr. Turner’s quiet approach was most refreshing for he never thought of himself above anyone. Just a few years ago he was still attending high school football games in Rostraver Township receiving warm greetings from the community he served so well.