Fishing 04

Thomas Leonard Turner

December 2, 1942 ~ October 27, 2021 (age 78)


Thomas Leonard Turner, 78, died peacefully, surrounded by his family, at St. Mary’s Medical Center on 10/27/21, as a result of Covid-19 complications. As Shelley’s mom, Erlene, so frequently said about her son-in-law, “He was a good man.”

Tom was a good man and a kind man, a gentle man, and a humble man. He was an engineer at heart who could fix and build anything.

Tom was born in Merrill, WI on 12/2/1942, to Edward and Lorraine (Hoffman) Turner. He has one sister, Mavis, of Palo Alto, CA. Their family moved to the Twin Cities when Tom was about 11 years old. As a youth, Tom was a Boy Scout and boxed in Golden Gloves of America. He is a graduate of Edison High School.

Tom began his career at Aljon Tool, Inc. in Plymouth, MN. Aljon specialized in the development and manufacturing of precision fabricated metal parts and assemblies. He started at the bottom, as a janitor, but his intelligence, dedication, and strong work ethic paved the way for Tom to work his way up the ladder to Senior Vice President and part owner of the company.

Like most young boys, Tom’s passion for cars began at an early age. He loved working on all kinds of cars…racing cars…anything with wheels. Initially, he was attracted to the speed and momentum provided by go-carts. As he grew older, he began restoring old cars including a 1935 Ford, a 1963 Mercedes 190SL convertible, and a 1965 Porsche 356. Tom’s motivation to get ahead was fueled by the notion of one day being able to own and race his own sports car….and so he did. He bought a 1972 Porsche and raced it at Road America, Brainard International Speedway, and Lime Rock Park, to name a few notable racetracks.

Tom’s other passions were building remote control airplanes and crafting fishing lures. He LOVED to fish, almost as much as his two partners, Mike Persson and Wayne Balsevich. Tom was a proud member of Muskies, Inc, and the Hayward Bass Club. He participated in Fishing Has No Boundaries and the clubs’ youth events. He was a school and church volunteer, Cub Scout leader, and a coach. He never missed one of Ryan’s soccer, football, softball, basketball, Nordic Kids, track and field practices or games. He was a member of First Lutheran Church.

Tom and Shelley were invited to Hayward in the early 90’s by Tom’s late wife’s sister, Lenore Engstrom and part-time Hayward resident, Don Larson. One day, Don introduced Tom to his realtor who took the four of them out to see a property, on Moose Lake. After looking around, Don said that if Tom did not buy it (the property), he (Don) would. So, Tom bought it, tore down the cabin, built a house, married Shelley, and relocated their two families to Hayward, in 1997…where they lived and fished happily ever after.

Tom was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Kay (Engstrom) Turner, and beloved cat, Rocket.

He is survived by his wife of almost 25 years, Shelley, his son Ryan (Paige), stepdaughter Carly (who called Tom her “bonus dad”), son John (Leesa), grandson Brexton, sister Mavis and her two daughters, Lori and Vicki, Kay’s two sisters, Lenore, and Vicki (Bruce) Hagberg, numerous other relatives and friends.

Tom’s funeral will be held on Saturday, November 6th at First Lutheran church, with Pastor Joel Bacon officiating. Music will be provided by The Spirit Within. Visitation is at 10:00 followed by the service at 11:00.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to First Lutheran Church, Northwoods Humane Society, or the Hayward Chapter of Fishing Has No Boundaries.

“Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.” 

Tom would have said he had a wonderful life. To his beloved family and friends, how precious we all were to him. Knowing and loving each of us was the success story of Tom’s life. He was happy to have been here.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Thomas Leonard Turner, please visit our floral store.


November 6, 2021

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
First Lutheran Church
10680 N Main Street
Hayward, WI 54843

Memorial Service
November 6, 2021

11:00 AM
First Lutheran Church
10680 N Main Street
Hayward, WI 54843

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