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Denton Community
Historical Society

Tales & Trails
January 2012


Glenn Everett Turner

By David G Loos, Nephew - April 23, 2011

See the Biography of Dr. Glenn E. Turner

Dr. Glenn Turner was well known in the Rokeby area and in Lancaster County. Several months ago, David Loos, his nephew, presented to DCHS a portion of Dr. Turnerís biography written in 1991 as it pertains to his years at Rokeby High School. (Davidís father was Merrill Loos, and Dr. Turner married Merrillís sister Elizabeth). We are pleased to present a small portion of the biography and also an entertaining article by David.

Born: 10 Aug 1903 Plymouth, Jefferson County, Nebraska, USA
Death: 28 Jul 1999 Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska, USA
Burial: Lincoln Memorial Park Cemetery, Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska, USA
Marriage: Elizabeth Josephine Loos 26 Dec 1933
Son: Roger Skiles born 10 Oct 1934
Rokeby School: Fall 1929 to Nov 1940
Lancaster County School Superintendent: Jan 1943 to Jan 1983

I had read Uncle Glenn's life story several years ago and felt there was considerable information about the Rokeby School that could be shared with the Denton Historical Society. While waiting for the scanner to complete its process, I remembered several things about my Uncle Glenn that I thought I would also share.

I do not remember much about Uncle Glenn when I was very young. I suppose because Cousin Roger was around to entertain me. I do know that he was very proud of us. He usually took a quieter role at family get-to-gathers, unless he was telling a story.

There was always considerable laughter especially at Christmas with all of the gag gifts most of which had a PG-rating. Being born in 1940, presents were scarce during the war years. Except for a few of Roger's hand-me-down toys, almost all of my toys were made of wood. After the war, the quantity and quality of presents greatly improved. However, gifts from Mom and Dad always seemed to be clothes. I mention this as I always looked forward to the presents Uncle Glenn and Aunt Elizabeth gave me for my birthday and Christmas because they were never clothes.

One of my first recollections of Uncle Glenn's involvement was the Fourth of July probably about 1946 or 1947. That was the first time I can remember the nighttime fireworks displays. He really enjoyed the fireworks. We had so many fireworks that Roger and I rarely were able to set them all off in one day.

When we lived north of Emerald in the early 50s, Uncle Glenn and Aunt Elizabeth would come to visit and Roger would shoot up everything in our trash pile. I was not big enough to hold a rifle by myself, so Uncle Glenn would lay the barrel across his shoulder and then I could target shoot. We would keep shooting until out of ammunition which probably helped to explain his loss of hearing in his later years.

About this same time, I had one very trying year at school. This was during the fourth or fifth grade. There were a half dozen of us older boys and we all got along very well. My best friend, Leon, and I were the only two boys that lived north of the school and all of the others lived south. We had a coal-burning stove in the school. It was a job of the boys to fill the cob basket and coal bucket each morning. We usually did this project together and we were always getting coal dust on our gloves. One morning, we got to running after each other trying to wipe coal dust on each other's faces. Well, we all got it quickly cleaned off when the school bell rang, except Leon. The teacher took one look at Leon and inquired as to who had wiped the coal dust on his face. As I was the primary depositor, she sent me home. Mom and Dad got the story and nothing happened to me. The Superintendent of Schools, Uncle Glenn, and the School Board had to decide whether to let me back into school. In any case, I went back to school the next day.

Dr. Glenn Turner (Continued)

All went well, until spring. It was toward the end of the year and we were at recess one afternoon. One of the boys, not me, found a dead mouse. This poor mouse looked more like a piece of rawhide and was as stiff as a board. As could be expected, we started to chase each other around throwing the mouse at each other. Just before the bell rang, I had the mouse and ran by Virgil, an eighth grader, and whipped it on his head. Well, of all things, it went right into his mouth. He was still spitting when the bell rang. When the teacher was with another class, we had a code we used if we needed to go to the bathroom, which I might add was an outhouse. We would raise one finger or two fingers. I never did understand why they wanted to know which one we were doing. Did they keep a record? Did they put the totals on our report card? "During the last report-ing period David did three number ones and one number two." After a time, Virgil raised his hand but he did not raise any fingers. Normally she would just nod giving permission. As Virgil did not have any fingers raised, she finally had to stop and ask what he wanted. Virgil says, "I need to go spit." Of course, that just broke up all of the boys. She finally got to the bottom of why he needed to spit and off I went biking my way home. Again, nothing happened to me. Another Superintendent and School Board telethon and I was back in school the next day. She had trouble with other students, but never any boys of the School Board. Hmmm!!

Things worked out better for me than it did the schoolteacher. That spring she had a boyfriend who would come to visit. On one of his visits, right at the end of the year, the door to the school was locked and our recess lasted until just time to go home. I am sure a number of the kids went home and talked about the long recess. The worm had turned and I knew that she was going to have more than a telethon with the Superintendent and the School Board. I was disappointed she was not sent home. In any case, we had a new teacher the next year. As I look back, I have often wondered what Uncle Glenn thought that year when his nephew could not seem to stay in school. I am probably lucky he did not come out and beat me to death.

During high school, whenever I was in the courthouse, I always went up to visit. Uncle Glenn would bring me into his office and ask me what I had been doing and was always glad I stopped. Of course, he might have been just checking to see if he was going to be getting any more calls about my school adventures.

He prized an education and was glad I went on to college and disappointed when I quit to farm. He told me one time how glad he was that I went back. When I had graduated and was working as an agricultural statistician, I occasionally had to go to the courthouse for work. Then he would take me down to meet all of the elected Lancaster County officials, to tell them all about me, that I had a degree in math and statistics, and have me tell them about my job. It also gave them a good chance to catch up on their PG-rated stories. He always made sure they knew I had the degree in math and statistics. I know he was very proud of my accomplishments or possibly just amazed.

As so often happens, my job took me all over the country and I did not get to visit with him much during the last 25 years of his life and that was my loss.

The following excerpt was taken from his Life Story dated December 25, 1991

Several years ago Elizabeth asked me to write something about my life for the benefit of my descendants. She said that too often descendants know very little about a parent, a grandparent, or a great grandparent. After giving it some thought I realized she was right and I agreed to do it.
At present my descendants are my son Roger, my granddaughters Kathy Lowman, Kris Norvell, and Kari Turner. My great granddaughters are Kim Norvell and Jessica Lowman and my great grandsons, Jeff Norvell and Joshua Glenn Lowman. I love them all. We have had many good times together and I treasure the memories.

Much can happen in a period of eighty-eight years. In the following one hundred seventy-nine pages, I have attempted to tell most of what has happened to me that might be of interest to others. Elizabeth told me to do it in my own handwriting and I have.
December 25, 1991

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Denton Community Historical Society of Nebraska