Retired Maj. Gen. George E. Turnmeyer, 92, died at his residence in Huntsville on April 2, 2018. He entered the Army as a private in 1944 and retired as a Major General in 1977.
Turnmeyer was born on July 12, 1925 in Dubuque, Iowa to Louise Kovanda and George Turnmeyer. He is survived by his son, retired Lt. Col. Robert Turnmeyer; grandson, Edward Turnmeyer (Erin); and two great-grandchildren, Zoe and Jack Turnmeyer. He was preceded in death by his wife Jean F. Turnmeyer, daughter Ann L. Turnmeyer, and grandson, James Turnmeyer.
Turnmeyer’s citations and awards include the Army Distinguished Service Medal. He completed an MBA in Industrial Management at Babson Institute.
Turnmeyer made outstanding contributions to his adopted home town, both as Commanding General of the Army Missile Command and through his community service. In retirement he devoted his time, energy and expertise to numerous civic projects for the benefit of Huntsville’s civilian and military community.
As MICOM Commander, Turnmeyer was highly regarded, not only for his professionalism and expertise, but also for his compassion for the Soldier. During his command, construction on Redstone Arsenal included the Bicentennial Chapel and a new Post Exchange and Commissary, and he was instrumental in the later construction of a New Officers Club and a modern barracks complex. Turnmeyer also recognized that a synergistic relationship between the Redstone Arsenal military community and the Huntsville civilian community was essential, and worked tirelessly to achieve this. Major contributions to the community included donation of Redstone Arsenal land for a major expansion of the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center, and for construction of athletic fields. The Huntsville Botanical Gardens were also built on this land. For his military achievements Turnmeyer was inducted into the exclusive Ordnance Corps Hall of Fame in 1990.
While retired, Turnmeyer continued to exhibit the same dedication to the Huntsville/Redstone community that he displayed during his working years. As President of the Bicentennial Chapel Historical Society, Turnmeyer organized a diverse group of local church, business and city government leaders, and active and retired military civilians, to provide the chapel with 14 stained glass windows depicting George Washington at Valley Forge, and each of the 13 original states. Turnmeyer was also co-chairman of the $4M project to rebuild Holy Spirit Church, and its school and rectory after the devastating tornado of 1989. Redstone Village is the result of his vision to create a continuing care community where Army widows could live in peace, harmony, and security. He worked tirelessly with local, state and national business and political leaders to establish Redstone Village.
Turnmeyer was active in many community organizations including Redstone-Huntsville Chapter of AUSA, Huntsville Rotary Club, Huntsville Chapter of the American Red Cross, United Way, and Meals on Wheels. His lifelong interest in trains was evident by his active role in the Redstone Model Railroad Club and North Alabama Railroad Museum. He was a member of Good Shepherd Catholic Church. When asked about his community involvement he would reply, “When we came to the Huntsville area in 1973 we liked the area and the quality of life. My wife and I enjoyed the work of others who were here before us and their contributions. I felt like it was our responsibility to give something back to the community.”
A visitation will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 11 at Good Shepherd Catholic Church, with the funeral service to follow at 11 at the church. Burial will follow at Maple Hill Cemetery with full military honors. (www.laughlinservice.com)