BROWNWOOD – February 15, 2016 – Growing up, the children of Col. Alvin Ray and Patsy Allene Turner heard many stories about their parents’ time at Howard Payne University. Following his death, Col. Turner’s family honored his legacy by establishing the Alvin Ray Turner Scholarship fund at HPU, designed to benefit students majoring in mathematics.
Col. Turner, a 1953 HPU graduate who served in the United States Air Force, and his family moved often to various locations around the country. As he was born and raised in Blanket, Col. Turner enjoyed bringing his family back to Brown County and HPU whenever possible.
“Any time we went to Brownwood, we cruised through Howard Payne,” said Mary Alice Turner, the youngest of Col. and Mrs. Turner’s four children. “Going back to HPU was a big deal.”
According to Mary Alice, her father was very studious and received several scholarships to attend HPU.
“His family didn’t have much money,” she said. “The scholarships were a huge factor in his ability to attend college and lead an active student life.”
She reminisced about her parents’ first encounter in college.
“Dad was a football player and basketball player and, back then, the athletes ate lunch before everyone else,” she said. “He saw Mom and waited for her outside the cafeteria. He asked her to go to the Wednesday night prayer service with him.”
The pair eventually started dating.
“They became big sweethearts,” said Mary Alice. “My parents were one of the couples on campus in those days.”
The Turners were married in 1954 following her graduation from HPU and his earning his wings from flight and pilot training. Shortly after, Col. Turner left for Thailand and Korea. He later served in Vietnam as well. Upon his retirement from the Air Force with 27 years of service, the couple settled in Florida.
Col. Turner was a lifelong learner. In addition to the Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and secondary education he received from HPU, he also earned both a bachelor’s degree and Master of Business Administration degree from The University of West Florida in Pensacola.
He and his wife were both active in many churches and served as Sunday School teachers and in lay leadership. The Turner children created a scholarship fund at HPU to honor their parents’ fondness for the university, love for each other and their faith in God.
“My parents’ love for the Lord always inspired me,” said Mary Alice. “Their marriage was 100 percent based on their faith. It was a huge testimony to us kids. Dad, as a local boy, and Mom always remained supporters of HPU as well.”
To learn more about the Alvin Ray Turner Scholarship fund, contact HPU’s Office of Institutional Advancement at (325) 649-8006 or 800-950-8465.
Alvin Turner, pictured in HPU’s 1951 Lasso yearbook, was crowned Harvest King during his sophomore year.
Mary Alice Turner, the Turners’ youngest child, recently wore her father’s Howard Payne letterman’s jacket out to dinner.