Turner retiring from city after 40 years

Published 10:43 am Friday, December 14, 2012


FRANKLIN—When Ronald “Butch” Turner retires in January as athletic specialist for Franklin Department of Parks & Recreation, he will leave behind a 40-year career.

“He has been a big asset to our programs,” said department Director Frank Davis. “He loves what he does. Anybody can tell you that.”

“It’s time for him to sit back and enjoy life,” Davis added. “I think it’s something he is looking forward to.”

Clay Hyatt has been named interim-athletic specialist and the position is being advertised in-house.

Larry Rose hired Turner in 1973 while serving as the city’s first recreation director.

“Butch has always loved working with kids and improving facilities,” Rose said. “He is a very conscientious person and a driving force behind making the department better.”

Turner felt lucky to get the job. A parks and recreation major at Virginia Commonwealth University, he dropped out to take care of his first daughter.

Over the years, he has seen multiple generations of families go through recreation programs.

Turner runs athletic programs, including basketball and baseball, and maintains the football and softball fields at the Armory and Hayden High School and the softball field at Paul D. Camp Community College.

A 1969 Franklin graduate and triple athlete, Turner has cared for the facilities he played on in his youth.

“The field that FHS girls play softball on at the Armory is the same field I grew up on playing little league baseball,” he said.

Turner also has overseen the new football field at the Armory Field since it was installed in 2004.

“We get compliments from teams that come in about how good our field looks,” Davis said. “Our facilities are the best there is. Butch puts a lot of time into the work he does.”

“When you love something, you love taking care of it and you want them to be great,” Turner added.

His main plan for retirement is to get his wife, Victoria, healthy again. A retired gym teacher for Isle of Wight County, Victoria has suffered from back issues since a 2010 car accident.

Turner also wants to volunteer and coach football at Smithfield High School.

“I believe in a saying (Hayden) Coach Robert Sandidge once said ‘Find something to do after you retire or else you’ll go crazy,’ and I intend to stay busy,” Turner said.

The Turners are the parents of Stephanie Ann Edwards, Kimberly Burgess and Kandi Turner and grandparents of Hunter Edwards, 9, and Ethan Phelps, 8.