Keiko Turner, 85, died Thursday 14 May 2020 at a nursing home in Temple, Texas. Keiko was born on Okinawa, Japan to Taijiro and Sae Higa. She married Leonard M. Turner, a marine stationed on Okinawa, on 12 December 1963 at the American Consular Office. There was a lot of paperwork the Consular had to approve. About two hours later the Vice Consular presented us with our marriage certificate, said congratulations and we were married.
Keiko stayed on Okinawa when I rotated back to the states during November 1964 and again during November 1967. Keiko came to America during May 1973. Marine Corps Headquarters informed us that I needed to stay stateside for a few years. While we were stationed at Camp Pendleton she worked at the base laundry. We went back to Okinawa during November 1976. I rotated back to the states during December 1978 and Keiko followed during March 1979. I had to attend Recruiter School before receiving our next set of orders. We were sent to Minot, North Dakota so I could recruit future Marines. Keiko was really bored by that life so she took a job as a waitress.
After N.D. we were again stationed at Camp Pendleton. Ever restless, one of Keiko’s friends got her a job at an electronics company in Carlsbad, California. The company made small motors that were used in fighter jets.
In 1983, we finally received orders to Okinawa for a three year tour. That ended as a seven year tour which was good because of the extra four years she was able to spend with family and friends. We returned to the states during November 1990 and retired from the USMC. After retirement, Keiko went back to Okinawa twice.
Keiko was a very independent individual with a strong personality. Those qualities are what attracted me to her. Keiko endured a lot of separations as the wife of an active duty Marine, always accepted the challenge and emerged the winner.
I am so lucky to have had Keiko with me all these years. The strokes took away the use of her legs and sense of balance, but never her “can do” attitude.
During her lifetime, Keiko crossed the Pacific Ocean eleven times, lived in California, North Dakota and Texas, and visited 19 other states including Washington D.C. She also visited Japan, Canada, and Mexico.
Keiko was preceded in death by her parents.
Keiko is survived by her husband Leonard M. Turner, younger brothers Kasuo and wife Mineko, Kazutoshi and wife Yoshiko, sisters-in-law Carol Sue Carpenter of Ft. Worth, Charlotte Turner of Clifton, Rhonda and Gus Patton of Clifton and nephews on Okinawa.
A memorial service will be held in Clifton at a date to be announced later.