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Charles Turco '69 October 18, 2021 2:59 PM updated: October 18, 2021 3:15 PM

Dr. Charles P. Turco
September 23, 1934 - September 12, 2021

Dr. Charles P. Turco, a retired Professor of Biology and administrator of Lamar University died September 12, 2021. A native of Brooklyn, N.Y. he was the eldest son of Louis and Mae Turco, born on September 23, 1934. He attended Catholic Schools graduating from St. John’s Preparatory H.S. in 1951. He began his college studies at St. John’s College. It was there that he found his love and life partner, Francine Tortorice. His studies were interrupted when he answered the call for duty with the U.S. Army, serving as a medic during the Korean War. He completed his education at St. John’s College with a B.S. in Biology, and at St. John’s University Graduate school with a Masters of Biology and a Master of Science Education.

The Natural Science Foundation honored him with five different grants from 1960 to 1964. One such grant brought him to Lamar University, Beaumont where he was offered a teaching position and began a 36-year career. After earning a Doctorate of Biology from Texas A&M University, he served in a variety of positions at Lamar University, among them being Biology Professor, Director Research and Programs, Dean of Graduate Studies and research, Acting President of the John Gray Institute, and Director of Special Programs. Four different governors of the State of Texas utilized Charlie’s talents from 1969 to 2003 on commissions dealing with the coastal and marine council, community affairs, private industry council, state jobs training, and the council of physical therapy and occupational therapy examiners.

He loved family, church, hunting, fishing, traveling to places far north, and servicing in the community. He was a member and President of Texas Association of Private Industry Councils, Texas Pilot Commission, Beaumont Rotary Club, Beaumont Ducks Unlimited, Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, and Neches River Festival President – 1985. He was a member of St. Anthony Cathedral from 1972-1999 and the Diocesan Fund Co-Founder. Throughout his life, Charlie remained very close and involved with his faith. In 1974, the Pope honored him as a knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem. In retirement he has been a faithful member of Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church, Houston. Charles Turco was a man of impeccable character and faith. His leadership and strong presence impacted many young men and business partners. He was a monumental figure in the lives of his family and he was an especially thoughtful and dedicated husband to Francine. His students and friends saw him as a mentor and as a witty observer of life.

He and Francine enjoyed 66 years of marriage and is survived by his children: Charles Turco Jr. and wife Jana, Luanne Jones, Jamie Trahan and husband Paul '85, Joan Pillitere and husband Chris, and nine grandchildren: Anthony Turco, Blake Jones, Charles Vincent Turco, Danielle Jones, Elizabeth Turco, Joseph Trahan, Christopher Pillitere, Charles Trahan, Casey Pillitere, and nine great grandchildren.

We find comfort in knowing that Charles is in heaven watching over us.

A Memorial Mass will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Friday October 22, 2021 at Christ the redeemer Catholic Church, 11507 Huffmeister Road, Houston, Texas. Reception will follow immediately after Mass. Graveside services will be held at 2:00 P.M. at Klein Memorial Park Cemetery, 14711 Cypress North Houston, Cypress, Texas 77429.

Memorial contributions in Dr. Turco’s name may be made to Lamar University Foundation, Beaumont, Texas 77710


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