|
|
|
Victor Post
  • His life was a lot more than ’Vettes

  • Caring and compassionate, hardworking and ethical, generous and astute — Victor business owner Bill Turner was a man with a quiet voice and commanding presence both in person and in his community.

    • email print
  • »  RELATED CONTENT
    • FILES/LINKS
  • Caring and compassionate, hardworking and ethical, generous and astute — Victor business owner Bill Turner was a man with a quiet voice and commanding presence both in person and in his community.
    He loved his family, friends, colleagues, community, NASCAR and dirt races. And oh, how he loved his Corvettes.
    On February 13, 2013, after a courageous battle with Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia lymphoma, William H. Turner died at age 72.
    Born in 1940, Mr. Turner was a Victor  man through and through. That’s where he spent his whole life. That’s where he raised his family and built a destination business that has been  a magnet to Corvette-lovers  for decades.
    He cared deeply about his hometown and spoke often about how proud he was of the village, and of how the town had turned out.
    His Corvette empire had humble beginnings more than 40 years ago in a little garage behind his Church Street home. At first Mr. Turner sold and repaired quality used cars, but his passion for Corvettes took over, and  he began to zero in on exotic cars, collectibles, and most of all, Corvettes.
    Even after four decades, Mr. Turner often said he still loved going to work every morning as much as ever. And it showed.
    “I respected him from the day I met him,” said Daniel Pernicone, a long-time Turner Automotive customer. “In an industry filled with fast-talking salesman and low ethics, Bill was the slowest talking, most ethical salesman I’ve ever met.”
    Pernicone remembers buying his first Corvette from Mr. Turner when he was in his twenties. After  the paperwork was signed,  Mr. Turner gave this young car-buyer some fatherly advice.
    “He showed me some pictures of a wrecked Corvette and how the young driver was killed,” said Pernicone. “He went out of his way to try and teach this young kid to respect the car and be safe. I always remembered his talk and pictures.”
    A loyal following of lifelong customers are evidence that Mr. Turner did business, and life, right. His staff and friends agree.
    “He lived by doing what he loved,” said Turner Automotive employee Nate Chandler. “He gave many people a reason to live. The Corvette is more than a car, it’s a lifestyle that can help cure sickness or sadness.”
    The family man
    For years Roseanne Turner-Adams and her sisters Bonnie and Candy Turner would cheer at parades and wave to Uncle Bill and their dad as the two drove by in a shiny Turner Automotive Corvette.
    “We were always so proud to say that he was our uncle and such an inspiration and a big part of Victor,” said Turner-Adams. “He and our father were not only brothers, but best friends for a lifetime. Our family would not have been able to experience a lot of things if it weren’t for Uncle Bill.”
    Page 2 of 3 - Mr. Turner’s son, Tom, now plays a key role in the family business. Over the years he’s learned a lot from watching his father.
    “As a kid I was always upset that he was busy working, or at a car auction or things like that,” said Tom Turner. “But my father would tell me that a man has to do what it takes to take care of his family. Even though he wasn’t home as much as he would have liked, he was always thinking of us.”
    Later on, Tom said he and his sister, Laura, learned the value of a hard day’s work, and also saw how to make room for friends and family.
    “He was a great husband to my mom,” said Tom Turner. “He was not always an overly expressive guy, but he just had a look that he would give my mom, and they just had an understanding.”
    The friend
    Tom Turner said his dad’s philosophy on friendship was simple: “If you want friends, you have to be a friend yourself.”
    That’s exactly what Mr. Turner did.
    “I’ve been with Bill since ‘76,” said Victor resident Steve Goodberlet. “We’d go to the auctions, go out and pick up and deliver cars, and I’d help in the garage. I never wanted to work for him and I never wanted to get paid — I just wanted to be his friend. He was the best. He took me on as part of his family, and I was proud to be a part of his family.”
    Robert Barlow Sr. met Mr. Turner in the old Glen Club at Watkins Glen International Racetrack many years ago.
    “Bill was friend of mine and I was a friend of his,” said Robert Barlow Sr. “He lived for his family and his family lived for him. He always made you happy and welcome, and it didn’t take long for you to be a part of his family after you met him.”
    The businessman
    Nick Cretekos, owner of Papa Jack’s Grill and Ice Cream spoke highly of Mr. Turner’s skills and character.
    “Bill was a very, very good business man,” Cretekos said. “He knew so many people and brought them in from all over the place — from the car business, from racing and snowmobiling, and boating. The guy lived a very active life. He’s been my customer, and a great neighbor, since I started in 1986. The guy was just a very, very  thoughtful, caring and hardworking guy.”
    Goodberlet affirmed Mr. Turner’s astute business sense, and balanced it with his generosity to friends.
    “He would give nothing away,” said Goodberlet, “but he would give everything away. Any time there was trouble, he was always their for you. He was a very compassionate person.”
    Page 3 of 3 - Robert Barlow Jr., son of Barlow Sr., said one of Mr. Turner’s standout qualities was that he was a man of few words.
    “You knew when he was about to say something that you had better listen,” Barlow Jr. said. “It was probably going to be something very important and you didn’t want to miss it.”
    Goodberlet agreed.
    “He was a very quiet individual. What he said, he meant. And when he talked, people listened.”
    “You’d have a hard time finding anyone who would say anything bad about him,” said Cretekos. “He’s a Victor guy right from the beginning to the end. He’s going to be sorely missed.”
        • »  EVENTS CALENDAR