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Former Arizona lawmaker Stan Turley dies at age 93

Stan Turley

Stan Turley

Stan Turley, a native Arizonan who served more than two decades in the state Legislature and was a former Senate president and speaker of the House, has died. He was 93.

His daughter Tauna Lowe said Monday that Turley died of natural causes Saturday at his Mesa home.

“Stan was a statesman in every sense of the word,” Gov. Jan Brewer said in a statement, calling Turley “one of Arizona’s finest public servants.”

Turley, a Republican, won a seat in the Arizona House of Representatives in 1964 and was elected speaker in 1967.

After eight years in the House, Turley served in the state Senate for 14 years. He was elected Senate president in January 1983 and served two terms until his retirement.

His family said one of the achievements Turley was most proud of was the State Comprehensive Water Law passed during his Senate tenure.

It helped fashion the state’s groundwater-management code, designed to ensure secure water supplies in Arizona’s rapidly growing urban areas.

From 1989 to 1998, Turley was on the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency.

His family said he “always had a soft spot for the ‘down and out’” and Turley corresponded with several prisoners for more than 30 years.

Born in Snowflake and raised on a cattle ranch, Turley attended Brigham Young University on a football scholarship from 1938 to 1941 before serving his Mormon mission.

He later enlisted in the Army, married his college sweetheart, Cleo Olson, owned a cotton and potato farm in Queen Creek and worked as a bank liaison to farmer and ranchers before getting into politics.

Turley and his wife were married for 60 years until her death in 2004.

He is survived by seven children, 28 grandchildren and 56 great-grandchildren.

Funeral services are scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mesa.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

2 comments

  1. Most Arizonans remember Sen. Turley for his service as a legislator, but he was on the Board of Executive Clemency (formerly, the Board of Pardons and Paroles) for almost a decade. He was a compassionate member who took his responsibilities seriously and was willing to give a prisoner a second chance as long as the prisoner had demonstrated admirable qualities of redemption, remorse and service to others while in prison. He was keenly interested in inmates who were released from prison and their subsequent successes. I remember his strong support — in the face of opposition by fellow members of his own political party — to my husband’s admission to the state bar after release from prison, graduation from law school and passing the bar exam. His words of encouragement and support were very much appreciated. His passing is a loss to all Arizonans. We extend comfort and sympathy to his family and loved ones. James and Donna Leone Hamm

  2. Stan Turley is my grandfather. I grew up by him and spent my entire childhood living nearby. He was one of the greatest men I’ve ever known. I was privileged to be with him the day he passed and he kept good spirits through it all. He loved to help people and was very generous. He loved Arizona more than anyone I’ve ever known and knew more about the state and it’s history than most would imagine. He was a family man who worked very hard and never had a sense of self-importance as many politicians these days seem to have. I will miss him dearly and feel blessed to have had him in my life.

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