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Obituary: John Paul Turner (1973-2023)

Submitted by family–
John Paul Turner of Carmichael, California died at the young age of 50-years-old on October 30, 2023, one day before his favorite holiday of Halloween, after a long battle with cancer. Lovingly referred to as “Paul” by his family, and “JP” by his closest friends, he was known for his loud laugh and the ability to make a pal out of everyone he met. His kind nature meant he always rooted for the underdog and for those who were treated unfairly, and there were many times he gave a stranger the shirt off of his back.

John Turner

Paul Turner was born on April 2, 1973 in Petaluma, California. He was the second child of John Henry and Gale Marie Turner and younger brother to Yvonne Michelle Turner. His family moved to Citrus Heights, California when he was 3-years-old to relocate to the Army base of Sacramento. During that time in the late 1970s, much of Citrus Heights was undeveloped and Paul enjoyed a youth spent catching pollywogs and crawdads in Arcade Creek and riding his dirt bike with friends in empty fields and at the dunes. When he was 4-years-old, his family adopted a Viszla dog named Betsy, and that’s where Paul’s love of animals began. He was always the first child to volunteer to take home the classroom hamster, bunny, or snake during the Christmas school break. Over the years, numerous animals found their way into Paul’s heart and home including dogs, cats, hermit crabs, fish, and the most beautiful yellow canary, which he named Pippit. Paul’s childhood dream was to be a veterinarian when he grew up so that he could help sick and injured animals.

When Paul was in 4th grade, he began attending the private Carden School in Sacramento. It was there that he joined a musical performing group called Cosmic Kids and his love of music blossomed. Paul was a natural the moment he picked up a guitar! He was quickly enrolled in piano lessons and learned to read music very easily. Some of his favorite bands growing up were Twisted Sister, Men at Work, Dead Kennedys, and Social Distortion. Paul’s love of music and his ability to play any instrument continued until the very end of his life. He recently gifted his young nephew Finnegan with an electric guitar in hopes that he would follow in his Uncle’s talented musical footsteps.

Paul spent his freshman year playing football at Jesuit High School before he decided that he wasn’t particularly interested in team sports, and preferred to forge his own athletic path. He continued to build and ride skateboards and construct many wooden ramps and half pipes, which overtook the driveway and front lawn of his parent’s house and became the go-to spot for all the kids in the neighborhood. Tony Hawk would have been proud! Paul’s athletic abilities and love of everything outdoors led him to enjoy the summer months kayaking, snorkeling, and whitewater rafting on the Sacramento and American Rivers, followed by a giant barbecue of course! He spent winters skiing and snowboarding the mountains of Lake Tahoe. If you were a friend of his, he would have invited you to join him on one of his outdoor adventures. And for those whose first time it was, he was ever so happy to teach you the ropes and share his excitement with you.

Paul followed in his mother’s footsteps, and joined Pacific Bell in 1998 as a Staff Clerk in the Kings Way, Sacramento office. He attended school to study human resources, personnel, and payroll issues. Paul furthered his education with the phone company by accepting any training and overtime that was offered to him. He was soon moved in to a technical position and loved working in the 911 troubleshooting center, where he walked field technicians through repairing the network when phone lines failed anywhere in California. Paul’s most recent position was as an ENOC Technician in the Marconi office where he would diagnose and troubleshoot infrastructure problems in the Network Operations Center. In 2019, he was awarded the AT&T Customer Service Award for Excellence. Paul was also a very active Executive Committee member with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 9421, a labor union representing roughly 1,500 members in the Sacramento region. Again, always fighting for the underdog.

Paul was preceded in death by his grandparents Margaret & Charles C. Turner and uncle Charles L. Turner of Fort Bragg, California; grandparents Evelyn & George Smith and uncle Clark Milligan of Charleston, South Carolina.

Paul leaves behind family who loves him deeply including parents John & Gale Turner, sister Yvonne Turner & nephew Finnegan Turner, all of Citrus Heights, California. Paul will be missed by his aunt Laura & uncle Jimmy Milligan; aunt Bonnie Figueiredo, cousins Tina Figueiredo, Tony Figueiredo, and Jeff & Courtney Figueiredo; aunt Mary & uncle Frank Hollis, cousins Pati Moretto, Frank Hollis, Jeff Hollis & Anela Alvidrez, and Heather & Tony Cardoza.

Paul’s friends in the local community, his coworkers at AT&T, and colleagues at CWA Local 9421 will remember him fondly.

A funeral will be held on Saturday, December 9, 2023 at East Lawn Mortuary, located at 5757 Greenback Lane, Sacramento, California 95841. Visitation will begin at 10 a.m., with the funeral service at 12 noon, and a graveside service afterwards. Paul’s plan before passing away was to bring his friends together for a barbeque celebration of life. One of his greatest joys was to cook a variety of foods, but especially to barbecue! His family asks that you join us in honoring that final wish with a Reception BBQ at 1:30 p.m. following his services.

In lieu of flowers, please feel free to make a donation in memory of John Paul Turner to the Sacramento SPCA at

You will remain in our hearts forever.

*Publisher’s Note: As a free service to family members who have lost a loved one, The Sentinel publishes online obituaries of Citrus Heights residents or former residents at no cost. To submit an obituary, click here
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