The Dr. Mary Culver Carlile Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Northeastern State University, was presented to Maurice Turney at the 13th Annual Hearts of Gold Gala. Born in Pryor, Oklahoma, Turney moved to Tahlequah at age four. While he has traveled the world, his heart always remained in Tahlequah.
After graduating Bagley High School, he went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in math and education from then Northeastern State Teachers College and a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Houston, while serving in the army for 14 months.
Turney began his professional career with Conoco in 1948, and being under the age of 21, had to get parental approval before the company would issue him a paycheck. So, smartly, he waited until he was 21 before marrying his wife, Clarice; and this year, they celebrate their 68th wedding anniversary.
Turney has lived in 12 different cities and traveled to seven different countries, even playing golf with two kings, but it’s safe to say that Tahlequah remains his favorite city … returning after retiring in 1985.
With the decision to get involved in the community, his service and commitment have left a positive mark.
He has served in leadership positions for First Baptist Church, is a 32-year member and officer in Kiwanis, a lifetime member of the Northeastern State University Alumni Association, a board member of the NSU Foundation, helping to raise money for scholarships and building projects, and a board member for the Tahlequah Hospital Foundation since its creation, as well as a board member for the Thompson House.
Turney has served on the Tahlequah City Council, the Northeastern Health System Board, and the Public Works Authority Board.
He has received numerous awards: the N-S-U Citation of Merit, the Heritage Award from the Chamber of Commerce and the Hixon Award from Kiwanis. He was even voted Tahlequah’s Favorite Senior Citizen.
Turney would like to continue serving the Tahlequah community as long as he is physically and mentally able.
He enjoys seeing young people get an education and likes being a part of helping them earn scholarships.
His goal this year is to reach his 90th birthday.
For a lifetime of service to the Tahlequah community and support of Northeastern Healthy System, Turney is an ideal recipient of the Dr. Mary Culver Carlile Lifetime Achievement Award.