Billy “Rex“ Turner, age 77, of Pluto, Texas, beloved Dad, Pa-paw, and Coach, departed this earth on Thanksgiving day, November 28, 2019. His passage to heaven was peaceful, surrounded by his beloved family members. The burial will take place at Turner Cemetery in Itasca on Wednesday, December 4th, at 11:00 a.m. Then beginning at 1:00 p.m., a Celebration of Life will be held at the First United Methodist Church, 315 East Elm Street, Hillsboro, TX. Reception immediately following at the Eagle Historic Warehouse, 116 East Franklin Street in Hillsboro until 5:00 p.m.
Rex’s life was marked by grit, hard work and spirit, always quick with colorful commentary that a foreigner (non-Texan) would need a translator for – a sense of humor and a love for tall tales “big enough to burn diesel,” as Rex would say.
For Rex, family came first, then football. A coach and teacher for more than 25 years, Rex first fell in love with the sport in high school playing for the Itasca Wampus Cats and then as a three-year letter winner for the Bobcat Football team at Southwest Texas State College, now Texas State. A standout running back and kicker, Rex led the team in scoring in three consecutive seasons. The 78 points he scored during his senior season set the record for most points scored in a single season, and to this day, it ranks 8th all-time in Bobcat Football. In 2013, Rex was inducted into the Texas State Football Hall of Honor.
Following graduation from Texas State, Rex pursued post-graduate studies at Tarleton State University before beginning an expansive 25-year career as a coach and teacher.
Rex served as head football coach and athletic director at both Killeen High School and Alvin High School for a combined 21 years, followed by three seasons as assistant football coach at Aledo High School. Rex also coached track and field for 13 years during his career.
As head football coach, Rex maintained a 70 percent winning record, coaching four All-American players, two first-round NFL draft picks, and eight professional football players. Rex also introduced the six-day high school football playoff rule to the UIL and was a member of the selection committee of the Houston Touchdown Club. In track and field, Rex led the Killeen High School track team to its first state championship in 1978.
Rex commanded respect from his players. He expected them to work hard, no excuses. He made it his mission to identify each player’s best skills and then maximize those. His goal was always to make good players great.
Rex married Sherry Ward January 30, 1965, and they had three children together, Tracey, Jeff and Meridith. In his retirement years, Rex enjoyed “piddling” his way between his daughter Meridith’s ranch in the Texas Hill Country and his home in Itasca, where he leaves behind a storied collection of everything from golf clubs (maybe thousands) to cars, building materials, and every single piece of artwork or award his children ever created or received.
His family will miss him deeply, bidding him not farewell, but see you soon, and “be careful dammit” - until they meet again.
Rex is preceded in death by his mother and father, Estelene, and Manton Turner, and his brother, Bobby Turner. He is survived by his children, Tracey Richardson, Jeff Turner, and Meridith Nussbaum; his sons in law, Bucky Richardson and Drew Nussbaum; his grandchildren, Jordan, John Paul, Jenna, Trent, Cade, Knox, and Sloan; his brothers, Malvin and Pat Turner; numerous nieces and nephews; and many other loved ones.
Flowers can be sent to Marshall & Marshall Funeral Directors, 2495 Corsicana Highway, Hillsboro, TX 76645.
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