Feb. 16, 2013
New Orleans - Former Tulane football and track student-athlete and baseball stadium namesake Robert L. Turchin, Sr., passed away peacefully on the evening of February 14, 2013. He was 90.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 17 at the Temple Israel in Miami Fla. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to St. Jude's Children's Hospital and to Hospice.
He was a long standing member of Miami Beach, Fla., and Boone, N.C. communities. He gave generously to both Tulane University and Appalachian State University. The Green Wave football team and Turchin Center for the Visual Arts were especially close to his heart.
He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Lillian, and five children, their spouses and nine grandchildren.
"Bob Turchin set the highest standards throughout his life as a Tulane student-athlete, trustee and philanthropist," Tulane Director of Athletics Rick Dickson said. "He cherished his experience at Tulane and dedicated himself to providing that same opportunity for hundreds of young men and women. He will be missed but not forgotten."
Robert L. "Bob" Turchin was born on Feb. 22, 1922 in New York, and moved with his family to Miami Beach, Fla. in 1930. He graduated from Miami Beach Senior High School in 1939, and received his bachelor's degree in business administration from Tulane in 1943. He was a member of the TU football and track programs, along with his involvement as a member of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity and the Navy ROTC. While in New Orleans, he met Lillian Athey, a native of the Crescent City, and his future wife.
Their marriage plans were temporarily interrupted by World War II when he reported for active duty in the U.S. Navy immediately upon graduation, and proudly served as a Lieutenant and Chief Gunnery Officer aboard the USS Barnett. As a gunnery and fire-control officer, he fought in some of the most significant battles of WW II, including the Normandy Invasion, and later, on the Pacific Front.
Following the war, the Turchins returned to Miami Beach and Turchin went to work for his father in hotel management. He later became involved in the construction of apartment units and began his career as a general contractor.
In 1949, he incorporated Robert L. Turchin, Inc., and for the next 36 years, he ran the company as its president and director.
Turchin served as city councilman of Miami Beach from 1963-65 and vice-mayor of the city from 1965-67. He was also active in several civic and community organizations.
On March 11, 1991, Tulane dedicated it baseball facility, Turchin Stadium, in honor of Robert and Lillian Turchin, who spearheaded the drive to build the facility in 1990. Turchin was a member of the Intercollegiate Athletic Committee of Tulane's Board of Administrators and was an emeritus member of the Tulane Board of Administrators.
"Bob Turchin was a good friend, a wonderful person and a wonderful man," said head baseball coach Rick Jones. "He was as loyal of a Greenie as there could be. The impact he had on our program due to his generosity and his passion, will never be matched. He was a role model for all of us.
"All of the times I spent with him will always be cherished."
Since his graduation from Tulane, Turchin continued to show extraordinary dedication to his alma mater, distinguishing himself as one of the University's most loyal supporters. He served on the President's Council and the Dean's Advisory Council of the Business School, and he acted as chairman of the Tulane Alumni Regional Fund. In 1983, Turchin was honored with the Business School's Distinguished Alumnus Award for his generosity and support.
Four years later, to honor the Turchins for their ongoing philanthropy, the new business library in Goldring/Woldenberg Hall was dedicated as the Lillian A. and Robert L. Turchin Library.