Celebrating life stories...



Memorial created 05-13-2015 by
Tiffany Ghiselin
Russell "Rusty" Tate Turner
December 31 1925 - March 3 2015

This online memorial was created in loving memory of Russell "Rusty" Tate Turner, whose life story is told throughout this memorial website. Please sign Rusty's guest book and let us know you came to visit. We will remember Rusty forever. If you would like to submit your pictures of Rusty or need other informatoin, please contact Tiffany at tghiselin@gmail.com.

Russell "Rusty" Tate Turner, 89, passed away at his home in Palm Springs of natural causes.  He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Alfred Russell Tate and Lucile Tate.  In the 1950s Rusty moved to San Francisco and in April 1953, he was formally adopted by Franklin N. Turner and Lucile H. Turner.

Rusty was raised in Oakland, Calif., graduated from University High School and studied electrical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.  Inducted into the army in 1944 and trained in cryptography, communications, refrigeration and automotive mechanics, he served as a noncommissioned officer in New Guinea and the Philippines.  He spent his 19th birthday aboard a troop ship bound for the island of Luzon.

Upon his discharge in 1946 he returned to Berkeley, then moved to the East Coast, where he managed equipment and logistics for the late orchestra leader Fred Waring. 

His interest in electronics, and the boom in home organs, led him to establish Russ Turner Organ Services in 1960.  For nearly four-decades he worked with Bay Area organ dealers, many churches and individual clients repairing organs and other home electronics.

In 2010, Rusty participated in the National Association of Music Merchants’ (NAMM) Oral History Program, providing an insightful video overview of the Hammond and Lowrey organ products, and the role of the Hammond Clock Company’s innovations that led to the electric organ. 

Rusty’s love of vintage radios led to over 65 years of collecting, and his personal collection of vintage radios numbered several hundred. To properly display his collection he created the Rusty Radios Museum in Palm Springs, which he opened to other vintage radio aficionados by appointment. He was sought out by collectors for his expertise in repair of vintage radios. He was a member and the former Secretary of the California Historical Radio Society (CHRS).

Rusty’s diverse interests included classic automobiles.  He collected and restored classic cars, was a member of Classic Car Club of America and Great Autos of Yesteryear. He participated in rallies and cross-country tours, including a tour of Australia.  While in Australia he also climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge.

A professionally trained amateur chef, he enjoyed preparing gourmet meals for friends.  He also performed in amateur theatricals in Northern California.  During the 1970s he was president of the Yuba River Recreation Group. When the original Muppets show first went on TV, Rusty became an avid fan.

Rusty met his late partner of over 45 years, Philip “Swampy” Griesbaum, in San Francisco. They lived for more than 20 years in their beautiful Liberty Street home, which Rusty remodeled, and bought a duplex nearby because it had a garage to house their classic cars. In 1985, they purchased a vacation condo in Palm Springs, which they later sold, along with their Liberty Street home, and purchased their lovely Palm Springs home.

Rusty and Swampy loved to travel and made many trips to Greece, France and most frequently to England.  In England, Rusty continued his interest in radios and made friendships with many radio buffs there as well as around the world.

A celebration of life will be held Sunday, May 17, 2015 at Escena in Palm Springs.  A virtual memorial and guestbook is available at www.RussTurner.virtual-memorials.com.

Donations can be made in his honor to the Mizell Senior Center, 480 South Sunrise Way, Palm Springs, CA 92262, (760) 323-5689. 



 Philip "Swampy" Griesbaum Memorial Page


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