Edward Vernon Turley (1897-1987)

Brief Biographical Sketch

Richard E. Turley Sr.

Edward Vernon Turley, Sr. was a descendant of Mormon pioneers who were participants in the expansion and development of the western United States, including Utah, California, and Arizona. His grandparents and parents continued the pioneer tradition when they migrated to northern Mexico during the 1880's to help establish the so-called Mormon Colonies in the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora. Vernon, as he was called, was born in Colonia Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, on May 30, 1897. He was the 3rd child of Edward Franklin Turley and Ida Elizabeth Eyring.

Vernon was 15 years old when the Mormon colonists temporarily left Mexico in 1912 at the height of one of the brutal Mexican revolutions. Vernon's parents settled in El Paso and remained there until 1914 at which time they returned to Mexico to reclaim their lands and properties. Vernon was able to find employment at the railroad's Union Station, first as a red cap and then in the ticket office where he worked off and on for several years. In addition to his work with the railroad, he studied accounting at the International Business School and also took correspondence courses. Vernon returned to Colonia Juarez in 1916 to complete his secondary education at the Juarez Stake Academy (JSA). During school breaks he returned to El Paso to work at the Union Station. Following his graduation from the JSA in 1918, he enrolled at the Utah State Agricultural College (AC) in Logan, Utah. His studies at the AC were interrupted when he was drafted into the U. S. Army. His time in the army was cut short when World War I ended and he chose to be discharged.

Vernon served as an LDS Missionary in the Eastern States Mission from 1919 through 1921. From 1921-1923 he served as an accountant with A. L. Pierce’s automobile business in Chihuahua City until he returned to El Paso to initiate a Seiberling Rubber Company franchise. In 1924 Vernon sold his business interests and went to work as an accountant with the American Smelting and Refining Co. (AS&R) where he worked until 1946 when he joined Gordon Romney and the Romney Implement Co., with whom he had worked since its formation in 1940 as the company's part time accountant. Vernon retired in 1987 coincident with the celebration of his 90th birthday!

His service in the Church began with his mission in 1919 and continued for the rest of his life. He faithfully served in bishoprics and branch presidencies, in El Paso, Dallas, and Chihuahua. In El Paso he served as a counselor to Bishop A. L. Pierce during whose administration the El Paso Ward’s Douglas St. chapel was finished and dedicated in 1931 by President Heber J. Grant. Because of his excellent accounting skills, Vernon was called as the ward clerk of the El Paso Ward in which position he served from 1935-1942. For 10 years, 1942-1952, he served as a high councilor in the Mount Graham Stake, headquartered in Safford, Arizona. In 1952 the El Paso Stake was organized and Vernon was selected as the first stake president in which position he served for 3 years.


Following his release as stake president, he enjoyed more than anything else serving as a home teacher. Vernon was a life-long supporter of the Boy Scouts of America and a recipient of their Silver Beaver Award. Early in his life in El Paso, he was involved in County politics, but not as an elected official. Because of his membership and participation in the Rotary Club, he was awarded Rotary's Harris Award.

Vernon married Winifred Louise Roche on the 24th of September, 1925. Winifred gave birth to 5 boys, namely, Edward Vernon Turley, Jr., Thomas Davies Roche Turley, Richard Eyring Turley, Sr., Corry Roche Turley, and Winfred Lionel Turley. Winifred, the wife of his youth, died in 1956. Vernon later married Gladys Tarpenning in 1960. Vernon died October 14, 1987 less than 6 months after his retirement and was buried in the El Paso Cemetery along side his beloved wife, Winifred.