Cover photo for Lillian Turner's Obituary
Lillian Turner Profile Photo
1918 Lillian 2014

Lillian Turner

April 22, 1918 — December 3, 2014

Lillian Erna Turner, 96 of Rawlins, Wyoming, passed away on December 3rd, 2014. Lillian was born in Coalmont, Colorado on April 22, 1918 to Harvey Oliver and Erna Lena (Wackwitz) Turner. In 1939, she graduated from Jackson County High School in Walden, Colorado. She continued her education and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology and Education with a minor in Biology from Colorado State University in 1940. Lillian taught all eight grades for two years in a one room country school before attending Bryn Mawr summer school of Nursing in 1942. She completed her Bachelor of Science Degree of Nursing at Columbia University Presbyterian Hospital in New York City in 1945. Lillian joined the Army Nurse Corp in 1945 and was stationed in the Pacific Basin spending time in the Philippines during her Army service. She was honorably discharged from the Army in 1946 and moved to Fairbanks, Alaska where she was the campus nurse and house mother in the women's dorm for three years at the University of Alaska. She then spent three years as the head nurse at the Group Health Hospital in Seattle, Washington. Lillian was the advisor to the head nurse in the Hospital in America Samoa, Pago Pago for six years and then head nurse in the Memorial Hospital in Twin Falls, Idaho for a year before traveling to Aruba working as a nurse from 1961-1963. In 1964 she was employed by the Public Health Service and was stationed in Vietnam. She spent 1964 to 1969 in DaNang commissioned by the Navy as a Lieutenant Commander working with the youth aid program. She then worked for the State Department in 1970 to 1972 stationed in Saigon working in an ER hospital and a communicable diseases hospital. Between her tours in Vietnam she also attended graduate school at the University of Hawaii for a time. She was a nurse advisor in a hospital on the Island of Truk in the Micronesia Islands in 1972 to 1974 and then she returned to Saigon from 1974 to 1975 as a member of the Children's Medical Relief International working in a rehabilitation and plastic surgery hospital. After returning from Vietnam she returned to Hanna, Wyoming and began the next chapter of her life. Lillian started her physician assistant training at the University of Utah in 1976 and in 1978, she received her certification as a Physician Assistant. She worked at the Wagon Circle Medical Clinic in Rawlins, Wyoming from 1978 to 1989 and then ran the Energy Basin Medical Clinic in Hanna, Wyoming from 1989 to 1996. In 1992, she was awarded the Wyoming Association of Physician Assistant of the Year Award and in 1993, received the National Humanitarian Physician Assistant of the Year award from the American Academy of Physician Assistants for her outstanding service. Lillian was selected and had the great honor to be on the last Honor Flight of WWII veterans in Wyoming to Washington D.C. in 2010. She was the only female in the group and the 2nd oldest at the age of 92! She said that the experience "far exceeded her expectations". Lillian loved to garden, read, sew, comb the beaches, wood carving and was a huge Denver Broncos football fan. She had a very caring heart for children. She wanted to hug and hold them all. Lillian is survived by two sisters, Viola "Millie" Mooring of Hanna, Wyoming and Patricia (Pat) and husband Ron Sanders of Casper, Wyoming. She has many nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, great-great nieces and great-great nephews. Lillian is preceded in death by her parents, Harvey and Erna; brothers Charles (Chuck), Herb, Harvey, Richard (Bucky) and Robert (Bob) and two sisters, Hazel and Marilyn. Lillian was a wonderful person who spent her life caring for others. When asked why she never married she would simply reply, "I don't have time". Lillian is greatly loved and will be missed.
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