William John Turkula, M.D., 87, passed into his beloved Angela’s arms on March 29, 2012, attended by his children.
Born to Ukrainian immigrants Stefan and Anastasia Turkula, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and younger brother to sisters Mary and Dorothy, William was first educated at both Ukrainian and public schools. He obtained a teaching degree in English and Mathematics at the University of Manitoba after serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force during WWII. He next taught multiple grades in a 1-room schoolhouse, shortly after which he met and married the Irish-born Angela Cleary at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Winnipeg, Manitoba. William then followed his dream of becoming a doctor by entering the U. of Manitoba School of Medicine, graduating in 1955. After almost ten years and four children, he had practiced in both Alberta and Manitoba as a true country doctor, little black bag, house calls and all, treating everything from “runny noses” and childbirth to tonsillectomies and severed fingers. He was sometimes paid in bags of produce left on the back doorstep.
In 1963, William moved with his family to Devils Lake, ND, where all became U.S. citizens and involved community members. William was a partner in Lake Region Clinic, where his medical practice concentrated on families and children. He delivered two generations of Devils Lake and its surrounding towns, and served many years as Ramsey County Coroner. He retired from medical practice in 1984, only to return, by request, to aid the Clinic during the Gulf War and other critical times. He served on St. Mary’s High School Board and was active in the Knights of Columbus of St. Joseph’s parish. William and Angela were longtime supporters of the Community Concert series and other programs of cultural enrichment in Devils Lake. Although seen frequently on “the links,” William was much more content in his woodworking shop or in his large garden and back yard, tending to vegetables and rose bushes.
William is survived by his proud and grateful children, Dr. Louise D. Turkula of the Minneapolis, MN area, Denise (Joe) D’Asto, and Thomas (Grazina) Turkula of the Chicago, IL area, as well as grandchildren Jon Turkula, Kathleen (Brandon) Bogue, Stefan Turkula, Manuel Pinto, Sophia Pinto, Adam Turkula and Ian Turkula, and brand new great-granddaughter, Quinlan Anastasia Bogue.
William was preceded in death by his parents, by sisters Mary (William) Nebozenko and Dorothy (Terrence) Soles, and by his loving wife, Angela, and loyal son, William Denis.
Funeral arrangements are through Gilbertson Funeral Home, with Visitation on Friday, April 13, from 2 – 5:30 p.m., with the Rosary and Scripture Service at 5:30 p.m. The Rosary will be led by the Knights of Columbus. A burial Mass will be celebrated at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Devils Lake at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, followed by a reception at the Devils Lake Senior Center.
In lieu of flowers, donations would be appreciated as directed to: THE STARKEY HEARING FOUNDATION (ON BEHALF OF DR. WILLIAM J. TURKULA) 6700 WASHINGTON AVE S. EDEN PRAIRIE, MN 55344 OR ONLINE AT starkeyhearingfoundation.org By Phone: 866-354-3254