Obituary for Alford “Big Al” Joe Turner Sr.

Alford Joe Turner Sr., 70, passed away in his home on Sept. 21 in Thatcher, Arizona. 

Alford was born in Safford, Arizona on Jan. 19, 1952, to his beloved parents, Joe David and Doras Lue Turner. He was named after his ‘Papa’ Almer Alford whom he shared a deep bond.  He was the oldest of five children.

Alford attended Amphi High School in Tucson, Arizona, and enlisted in the Army out of high school. Alford served his nation bravely in Vietnam, where he was recognized with many military honors such as three Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star. 

Alford “Big Al” Joe Turner Sr.

After retiring from the military, he was active in Loretta Lynn’s rodeo and the rodeo circuit surrounding Kentucky, where he attended college to pursue a teaching degree. Close to finishing his degree, Al decided to return to Eden to help his Papa after a health scare.

Even though he was unable to finish his degree, Al spent his life continuing to learn a variety of trades and skills. You could say he was a real “jack of all trades.” Al attended Eastern Arizona College and was a part of their rodeo club. He ended his working years at the age of 49 when he retired from Phelps Dodge.

He loved life and lived it to the fullest.  Every day was a new adventure.  He always remained a cowboy at heart even as he explored many hobbies that included driving race cars, becoming a scuba diving instructor, and a love for the outdoors as the kids grew older.

Big Al, as he was lovingly known, is survived by his wife of 22 years, Tiffany, and their six children, Josh (Gina), Alford Joe Jr. ‘A.J’ (Timile), Tobin (Alicia), Jacob (Kandice), Jesse (Stevie), and Tylee (Sergio), along with Janeen (Billy), Justin (Kristi), and Darylin (David). He always said he waited his whole life to be a ‘Papa’ to his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren whom he loved dearly.