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Roger Turk

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Steve notified me a day or two ago when he called Roger’s cell phone and spoke with Roger’s brother. Steve, Joe Grill and I attempted to make his last weeks comfortable. We were able to send him a VCR and tapes but he was too weak to assemble the system with his TV. It was Steve Gordin who stayed close to Roger by phone while I traveled to Chicago. I did visit with Roger a few weeks before leaving for Chicago and although he was very weak and restricted to a wheel chair, he rolled himself out to my car to meet my wife and our Golden Retriever Maggie. This was a special treat as Roger provided me with the links that we used to purchase Maggie from a Tucson breeder. I have become very attached to this dog since losing my Lab mix, Jessie a few months before. Maggie travels with us no matter where we go and she has become my closes companion when my wife is not at my side. While this may sound strange to some, I owe a great debt of gratitude to Roger for helping us find Maggie and adding her to our family. This was fifteen months ago and through Maggie I will remember Roger. He was the kind of man, as Steve put it, of strong convictions (he hated Windoze and favored DOS), but he had more in common with Steve and I than we originally knew – both is religion and in heritage. He was receptive to our visit even though I could tell that he was in a tremendous amount of pain. He never flinched or showed his pain, nor did his mind waver from our conversations. Roger invited me to visit on many of my trips to Tucson, unfortunately this was the only time I actually made the time to see him. I wish I did not have to remember him in pain but would rather have enjoyed spending time in his office discussing residential design in the deserts of the southwest.

Roger’s passing reminds me of the Native American Indian / Southern Arizona Jewish Community memorial in Tombstone Arizona. Most people did not know that the west was civilized by Indians as well as Jewish merchants. Roger was of Russian Jewish heritage as I am. Roger was one of “our” people who helped shape the professional community of Tucson and the Oro Valley. I was amazed by this fact, and asked him why he never mentioned his Russian Jewish background. Unfortunately, in this day and age, there are things that we don’t discuss in public. Our heritage was one of them. Roger grew up in the New York area and moved to the desert many years ago (after his stint in the Navy I suppose). His brother is a Mechanical engineer living in Kansas City Missouri and there is much more about my friend that I’ll never get to know. He was alone at the end, except for his peers and friends. I’ve admired this man for many years and as with some others whose memories of contributions to our profession are fading, I have added Roger’s fond memories to my own.

I’m doing a bit of rambling because I can’t say anything better than Steve Gordin said it. When Steve e-mailed me, his words were Rogers Eulogy – moving, beautiful and memorable. We’ll miss Roger – he touched most of us in many ways and left his memory in our hearts. It will be difficult for me to visit Tucson (as we plan to move near this area in a few years) without thinking of Roger, but the thoughts will be filled with kindness and courage of a friend who never complained about the hand he was dealt and who taught me so much about engineering and being a good friend.


Rest in Peace my friend,



Dennis S. Wish, PE

California Professional Engineer

Structural Engineering Consultant



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