Richard Eyring Turley—known familiarly as Dick to friends and family—was born on December 29, 1930, in El Paso, Texas, to Edward Vernon Turley and Winifred Louise Roche. During his youth, he visited family in Colonia Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, where his father had been born, and he enjoyed participating in ranching activities there. Intellectually bright, he skipped two grades and entered college at Texas A&M when he was sixteen years old.
He served as a Latter-day Saint missionary in Mexico, Guatemala, and Costa Rica from 1950 to 1953. On April 1, 1954, he married Betty Jean Nickle in the Salt Lake Temple, and they became the parents of seven children and grandparents of thirty-six, with a large and growing posterity today.
After his marriage, he graduated from the University of Utah with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering and took a job at General Dynamics in Fort Worth, Texas. He later became an engineer for El Paso (Texas) Natural Gas Company, where he worked until recruited to the University of Utah as an assistant professor of engineering.
In 1963, he became an assistant and subsequently associate professor at Iowa State University in Ames. After receiving a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from Iowa State in 1967, he worked as a manager at the Battelle Institute in Richland, Washington. In 1972, he became an engineering professor at the University of Utah and executive director of the Utah Nuclear Energy Commission, a position that evolved into his becoming the first science adviser for the state. As the years went by, he became executive director and later president of the Utah Technology Finance Corporation.
Throughout his adult life, he served actively in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, holding many callings. He served as a bishop’s counselor, bishop (three times), high councilor, counselor in a district presidency, and counselor in a stake presidency. From 1983 to 1985, he served as president of the Mexico Hermosillo Mission. He served as a General Authority Seventy from 1997 to 2000, spending part of that service as a counselor in the Mexico South Area Presidency and the balance as an Assistant Executive Director in the Church’s Family History Department.
With all his other accomplishments, nothing meant more to him than his family. He was preceded in death by his wife Betty Jean Nickle Turley in 2009. He is survived by his wife Ana-Maria Garces and her daughter, Elena Noguero; his seven children and their surviving spouses, Winifred Jean Nuttall, Richard E. (Shirley) Jr., Stephanie Jane (Blair) Dowd, Teresa JoAn (Carey) Wise, William Nickle (Joan), Jeffrey Dahlman (Lisa), and David Roche (Sheri); and many other descendants, relatives, and friends.
Funeral services will be at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, October 22, 2021, at the Ensign Stake Center, 135 A Street, Salt Lake City. A viewing will be held the night before from 6:00 to 8:00 at Larkin Mortuary, 260 E. South Temple, Salt Lake City, as well as from 9:00 to 10:30 Friday morning at the stake center. Those who cannot attend the funeral in person can watch it remotely via the following Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87434881177
Dr. Turley was one of my professor's up at the IE department at the U. I completely enjoyed our one on one's when I did independent study in reliability engineering. He was a great teacher.