This biographical sketch adapted from the "News
of the Church: Elder Richard E. Turley Sr. of the Seventy" from the May
1997 Ensign on the occasion of Elder Turley's being named to The
Second Quorum of the Seventy.
“The gospel is the great plan of happiness,” says
Elder Richard E. Turley. “If we want to be happy in this life and have
any expectations in the life to come, the gospel is the way to live.”
Born in El Paso,
Texas, on 29 December 1930, Elder Turley attended Texas A&M University
before serving a mission in Mexico, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. He then
studied mechanical engineering at the University of Utah. He and his wife,
Betty Jean Nickle, were married in the Salt Lake Temple on 1 April 1954.
After receiving a bachelor’s degree in 1955, he worked
in Texas at aerospace and natural gas companies. In 1957 he returned to
the University of Utah for graduate study, and in 1966 he received a Ph.D.
in nuclear engineering at Iowa State University.
While at Iowa State, he served as first counselor
in a district presidency. After he moved to Washington state to work as
a researcher at Battelle Memorial Institute, he became second counselor
in a stake presidency. In 1972 he returned to the University of Utah as
an associate professor and helped start Utah’s Advisory Council on Science
From 1983 to 1985 Elder Turley served as president
of the Mexico Hermosillo Mission. In 1989 he became professor emeritus
and was appointed executive director of a technology finance corporation,
from which he retired in 1992. He has twice served as a bishop in the Salt
Lake Eagle Gate Stake. At the time of his call to the Second Quorum of
the Seventy, he was serving as a high councilor, as a stake family records
extraction director, and as an ordinance worker in the Salt Lake Temple.
He and his wife have 7 children and 36 grandchildren.
Their son Richard E. Turley Jr. serves as managing director of the Church’s
Historical and Family History Departments.
In addition to his family, which comes first, Elder
Turley enjoys family history work, golf, travel, and computers. He has
written books on family history, a textbook on engineering and statistics,
and articles for scientific and engineering journals.
“The only aspiration I have is to be true and faithful
in all things,” he says. “We have been blessed in so many ways.”
After serving three and a half years, Elder Turley was honorably released from
the Second Quorum of the Seventy on October 7, 2000.
Elder Turley's wife, Betty Jean Nickle Turley passed peacefully from this life
at home in Salt Lake City, Utah, surrounded by her family on June 2, 2009.