PETER WHITFIELD DAWSON TURNER 1938-2016
LAYING THE FOUNDATIONS FOR GREAT HOCKEY UMPIRES – A TRIBUTE BY STEVE JASPAN AND
Sadly, the passing of another fantastic hockey person has gone virtually unnoticed by the hockey fraternity.
Dr Peter Turner passed away in May of this year leaving behind a legacy of a selfless and massive contribution to the game of hockey, especially in Southern Africa.
After a very successful all-round school career at the famous Jeppe High School for Boys in Johannesburg, Peter attended the University of the Witwatersrand where he graduated as a dentist.
After a stint in London, where he married Penny he returned to South Africa in 1967 where he continued to practice as a dentist whilst Penny and he raised their 4 children. He later branched out and enjoyed a very successful career developing hospitals.
But it was his role as a hockey umpire, coach, umpires’ manager and administrator where he made a profound contribution to South Africa’s growth as a hockey nation.
He was able to impart his knowledge and experience as an international umpire to aspirant umpires and together with many of his friends including Bobby Gagel, Fred Zackey and Dave Metter – laid the foundations for South African hockey umpires rising to the top of world hockey.
Many of the world’s mightiest hockey nations marvel at the fact that we have produced umpires of the calibre of John Wright, Gary Simmonds, Marelize de Klerk and Michelle Joubert to name but a few of those who have graced the local and international scene.
When it comes to umpiring and officiating, South African hockey “punches well above its weight” and that’s due to the foundations laid by the likes of Peter Turner.
As an umpires coach and manager Peter’s excellent inter-personal skills and humour benefitted so many of our young umpires whilst setting the very highest standards. I can recall the All Africa Games in Zimbabwe in 1995 where these incredible skills benefitted a crop of Africa’s finest umpiring prospects.
Peter served on the SA Hockey Executive for a number of years where he held the “Umpiring” portfolio which he handled with vision, wisdom and aplomb.
We will always cherish our time serving hockey with this wonderful, self-effacing man.
A generation of hockey umpires may never quite know the work Peter put in to set the sound foundations for their glittering careers.
Peter – rest in peace, friend – you epitomised all that is great in hockey and what volunteerism is all about!