Jack Turner brings wood carvers of all skill levels together once a week at the YMCA Healthy Living Center.
Turner is a native of Augusta, Georgia, where he lived for the first 50 years of his life. He graduated from high school in nearby Cochran in 1965. After college, Turner went on to teach school, but later left to help his father run the family logging business. He did that for nearly 15 until his father passed away, and then Turner went out on his own path once again.
He took an insurance job with Woodmen of the World, now WoodmenLife, which took him all across Georgia until he ended up in Indianola and later Council Bluffs, where he’s been since 2005. He worked at the Woodmen Tower in Omaha until he retired in 2010. A passion that has followed Turner throughout his life is wood carving, which he first took up as a young boy, whittling away at sticks and branches with a pocket knife.
Although timber was in his family, Turner speculated that his fondness for crafting it was coincidental. In the 1970s, Turner said he learned about the use of carbon knives and other instruments for woodworking, which helped him craft more detail into every piece he made.
Wednesday afternoon, Turner and a few other carving enthusiasts were seen quietly etching and carving away at blocks of wood for various projects. He said he hosts the woodcarving meetings at the YMCA Healthy Living Center every Wednesday from noon to 2 p.m. Turner is always on hand with tools, templates and wisdom to pass along to any guest who passes through the door.
More information about the YMCA Healthy Living Center, 714 S. Main St., and its various classes and other programming can be found online at metroymca.org/locations. Turner said he hopes everyone has a merry Christmas, and he’s looking forward to seeing new woodcarving enthusiasts at the Y in the new year.
— Joe Shearer
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