Dr. Turgut Kemal Gokturk February 2, 1929 – October 23, 2022 Dr. Turgut Kemal (“Turk”) Gokturk died peacefully in his sleep at his Fairfield Bay, Arkansas home on October 23, 2022 at 10:30 p.m. with his loving wife, Grace, and his son, Kemal, by his side.
Turgut was born to Mahmure and Idris Hulusi in the Black Sea region of Turkey in February, 1929. He attended Istanbul University and graduated with a medical degree and honors, one of the top five in his class. He said that many of his favorite professors were Jews who had fled Nazi Germany. He remained life long friends with a number of his classmates. After successfully completing his medical residency in Istanbul, he became a board certified general surgeon. In 1957 he began his required fifteen month Turkish Military duty as Chief of Surgery at Hadimkoy Military Hospital (Istanbul). Afterwards he established a successful general surgery practice in Samsun, Turkey. A few years later he moved to Richmond, Virginia where he completed a residency in anesthesiology at Medical College of VA.
In 1966 he moved to Memphis, TN to accept a position at the University of TN as associate professor of anesthesiology. He took pride in being voted one of the “Best Regarded Professors” by his residents, many of whom he mentored beyond their graduation. About 5 years later he left the University of TN to begin private practice and soon thereafter specialized in neuroanesthesia and later pain management. He established one of the first pain clinics in Memphis at Methodist Hospital, introducing new pain management techniques such as radio frequency. When he retired in 2001, he proclaimed “ 45 years excellence—-thanks to God—- in the practice of surgery, anesthesiology and algology.” Turgut will be remembered for his quick wit, sense of humor, being fiercely competitive at backgammon, enjoyed tennis, running, weight lifting and arm wrestling.
He was an avid reader, favoring the Wall Street Journal and the Economist, keeping up with world affairs. He was a knowledgeable collector of oriental carpets and fine art. His knowledge of world wide geography was admirable and he loved to travel. He also was a fan of classical music and opera. He enjoyed attending services at St. Francis (Heber Springs, AR) and Trinity bythe-Cove (Naples, FL) Episcopal Churches with his wife, Grace. And last but not least, his fondness for a good Scotch shared with friends. He was a member of the American Association of Anesthesiologists, American Academy of Pain Management, American Medical Association, Tennessee Medical Association, The Naples Botanical Gardens, Naples ARTIS, the Fairfield Bay Animal Protection League and The Conservancy of SW Florida. Despite his 93 years, Turgut was able to enjoy tending to his garden at their home in the Ozark Mountains and rest under the shade of flowering trees with his beloved canine companion, Toby.
In his later years, he found a quiet peace in nature. He appreciated the beautiful early autumn leaves of Fairfield Bay, Arkansas where he and Grace reside overlooking the waters of Greers Ferry Lake. A generous host, he shared his love of life with friends and family wherever he was. He enjoyed spending the winters at his home in Naples, Florida and summer visits to his seaside bungalow on the Aegean coast of Turkey. An excerpt from a poem he wrote in Pendulum, a book of his memoirs: “…Let nature take its final course, like a distant star disappearing from the sky. No breathing nor a sound, let friends burn a few candles to fill the emptiness in the sky.”
Turgut was preceded in death by his parents, his son, Murat, sisters Sabiha and Sevim and his brother, Turgul. Dr. Gokturk is survived by his wife of 32 years, Grace Thompson Gokturk, his son Kemal (Margaret), daughters Ferda (Guenter), Nuran (Paul), Ayla (Scott), and Nevin. He was blessed with 4 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren, four nieces and three nephews. The care and dedication of the Home Instead caregivers and Hospice Home Care were instrumental in helping Grace honor Turgut’s wish of staying at home in the last days of his life. Also a special thanks to Ozark View Funeral Home.
There will be a private memorial service at a later date.
PLEASE DO NOT SEND FLOWERS. The family asks that you please make a charitable contribution and honor Turgut’s love of animals, wildlife and nature. Contributions can be made to: Fairfield Bay Animal Protection League, PO Box 1460, Fairfield Bay, AR 72088 Or The Conservancy of SW Florida, Naples, FL 1495 Smith Preserve Way, 34102
Fairfield Bay Animal Protection League
PO Box 1460, Fairfield Bay AR 72088
The Conservancy of SW Florida
1495 Smith Preserve Way, Naples FL 34102