Charles William Turok, 96, of Paducah, passed away on April 1, 2021, at his home with his children near him.
Charles was born in Dowell, Illinois, on Jan. 5, 1925, to the late Mary Dohanich Turok and Charles (Vasily) Turok.
Charles was a member of Grace Episcopal Church in Paducah where he worshipped and served in many capacities for more than 50 years.
Charles graduated high school at 16 and learned skills of welding and surveying in the WPA before moving to find work, first to Chicago, and then to Detroit, Michigan. In Detroit, he found work in an ice cream cone factory to help support his older sister Christine, and younger brother Frank, still living in Southern Illinois.
After WWII broke out Charles enlisted in the Army and initially was sent to study at Michigan State University, but soon was required to train as a cryptographic technician, before being assigned to 3118th Signal Corps and shipping off to England where he was part of a secondary wave of soldiers sent to follow and support the D-Day invasion forces at Normandy.
He landed on Omaha Beach in June 1944, two weeks after D-Day. Heading inland he was wounded in the back by shrapnel or debris. A medic filled out the paperwork to qualify him for his Purple Heart, but he never received it. He spent three days in a field hospital and then went back to his half-track and his other three crew members. By December he was with the forces fighting the Battle of the Bulge.
Post-war service included being assigned to aid the Monument Men, due to his knowledge of the Russian language, to recover art and treasure stolen by the Nazis. He also played baseball in the “European World Series.” His team finished in 2nd place. After the war, Charles turned down an offer to play for Cleveland Indians but chose to go back to Michigan State and there met his wife of 46 years, Patti. He also received his Masters at Southern Illinois University and there participated in their tennis and baseball programs. Math, physics, and chemistry were his scholastic interests and this field of study led him to Paducah and work for Union Carbide’s Gaseous Diffusion Plant where he enjoyed a career lasting 38 years until retirement.
Charles’ time in Paducah allowed him to participate in various work-sponsored sports including baseball, softball, basketball, and tennis. His family activities revolved around coaching baseball, Boy Scouts (58 years of service), and serving on Paducah’s Human Rights Commission. Four Rivers Council awarded him their highest honor for supporting the Boy Scouts, the Silver Beaver Award.
His love for community and association with Oscar Cross led to a suggestion from Oscar to do something with the park area behind Jetton High School. From that suggestion and great support from his wife and even Mayor Geri Montgomery and others, he spearheaded the development of Midtown Golf Course. Outside encouragement even came from Tiger Woods’ father, Earl. In 1996 Charles received a National Service Award from the Washington Times Foundation for his efforts to provide lessons and a place to play for local kids who may never have had an opportunity otherwise. Charles served as President of the Lions Club for one year and also has been awarded honors of both Duke of Paducah and Kentucky Colonel.
Charles served proudly in the Army Reserves for 43 years of combined service and attained the rank of Lt Col. He was a Lifetime Member of the VFW and belonged to the American Legion for 76 years.
After Patti passed away his goal to play golf in all 50 states was put on pause at 49, with only Hawaii remaining. Later, after marrying Mary Jane Duncan, who also enjoyed playing golf, they did make the trip to complete his goal. During their 23 years together until her passing, they enjoyed community service in Paducah’s Red Coats.
Mr. Turok is survived by his five children, Mary Paul (Steve) of Colorado Springs, Colorado; Charles Turok (Linda) of Paducah; Kim Turok (Linda) of Summerville, South Carolina; Laura Ellis of Goose Creek, South Carolina; Bob Turok (Julie) of Paducah; 10 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren also survive.
He is preceded in death by one sister, Christina; and one brother, Frank (Norma); and wife, Patti; and 2nd wife, Mary Jane; and parents, Charles and Mary Turok.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, April 7, at 5 p.m. at Grace Episcopal Church in Paducah, 820 Broadway. Rev. Charles Uhlik will be officiating. Burial will be at Grace Episcopal Memorial Garden.
Memorial gifts can be to American Heart Association; American Cancer Society; American Diabetic Association; or Lourdes Hospice, PO Box 7100, Paducah, KY 42002-7100. Special thanks to his daily care nurses from Professional Case Management.
You may leave a message of sympathy or light a memorial candle online at www.hughesfuneral.com.
Hughes Funeral Home of Paducah is in charge of arrangements.