Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: William James “Bill” Turnock (1929-2008)


Born in Winnipeg on 17 May 1929, he received a BSc Agriculture in 1949 from the University of Manitoba and a MSc (1951) and PhD (1959) from the University of Minnesota. During the period 1949 to 1970, he was a Research Scientist and Section Head with the Canada Department of Forestry. In 1970 for two years, he was Science Advisor to the Minister of State for Science and Technology in Ottawa. In 1972, he and his family returned to Winnipeg where he worked in Agricultural Research and Program Planning and was Section Head for some years with Agriculture Canada. Bill also spent a year at the Agricultural University, Wageningen, The Netherlands, and a year at the Department of Pure and Applied Biology, Imperial College, Sunninghill, UK.

Bill was a dedicated member of the Manitoba Environmental Council which gave expert advice to the Minister responsible for such issues as mosquito control and Dutch elm disease, and latterly, the environmental implications of the hog-processing industry. Bill was a long-standing member of the Entomological Society of Manitoba and the Entomological Society of Canada. He was also an avid gardener and, following his retirement from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in 2002, he was part of the volunteer board that has published the periodical The Prairie Garden for over 65 years. Bill’s articles helped to make insect pests more understandable to the home gardener.

He was an enthusiastic supporter of the Delta Marsh Field Station for many years. While research at the site was not part of his official work, he spent considerable time studying the life of the resident ladybug population on the beaches of Lake Manitoba, particularly at the Field Station. Bill was a member of the Friends of the Field Station, and served on its executive (as its treasurer for five years) and was almost always at the annual Pignic where he could be found up to his elbows, with a cleaver in hand, carving the roasted porker. Bill was known for his pointed comments, his acid wit, his proficiency at unmerciful kidding, and his warm, caring, generous character.

He died on 5 April 2008, after a prolonged illness.


This biographical sketch was prepared by Dr. Barrie Webster using information provided by the Turnock family.

Page revised: 18 July 2014

Memorable Manitobans

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