I’m originally a buckeye. A product of the midwest. My father is 1 of 4 boys born to Mildred and Ralph Turton. Grandma Turton was 40 when she had my dad putting about 15 years between him and the second oldest, my illustrious Uncle Don.
He was a Don!
Grandma Turton and Uncle Don lived right next to each other for as long as I’ve been alive. When I was a few months old, Uncle Don part way pulled out a drawer in his dresser, removed his sweaters and that became my crib. Needless to say, for 47 years he told the sleeping in his sweater drawer story incessantly to anyone who would or wouldn’t listen.
Uncle Don had his hand in raising, me, and many of my second cousins. He was a stubborn, ornery and deeply empathic individual when it came to all of us little ones.
When I graduated from High School, he drove out to Denver with my aunt and Grandma to watch me get my diploma at Red Rocks. I drove the 24 hours back with all of them and spent 3 months completely lost not knowing what I was going to do when I went back home, while he patiently watched me struggle. I’d catch him sneaking cigarettes behind the garage and he’d catch me there too. We kept it between us. Somehow he knew not to give me a hard time in my dark times….he was just there.
He was a plumber his whole life. I called him once and he talked me through replacing my sink over the phone. He lived for helping his kids, grandkids and great grandkids. He loved to be involved…..over involved much of the time.
When I left my job and decided to start this gym, I was without any official work for 10 months trying to get a spot going. I talked to him every week as I hung my heavy bag in Pratt Park. He encouraged me to keep at it and work hard. And when I had to file bankruptcy, he was there for me, lending me money and making sure I paid it back.
Up until last Sunday I talked to him anywhere from 2-4 times a month.
But last Sunday, he fell, hit his head, and passed away in the hospital just after midnight this morning.
This gym is made up of everything that I am, everything that is in between 1971 to the present. Uncle Don was a lot of the in between for me.
May my family be consoled by the memories that they have of him as he is laid to rest.