Memorable Manitobans: Ross Holtby “Hope” Turner (1911-2005)
Farmer, horseman, community activist.
Born at Carroll on 29 July 1911 to Elva Eileen Holtby (1882-?) and John Allen Turner (1876-1957), he grew up on his parents’ farm just outside of Carroll and carried on operating his own farms in the area until he retired to Souris in 1996. In 1947, he married Emily May Hunter (1925-2013), and they went on to have four children. When he had time to spare, he could be seen atop a tractor or combine helping friends and neighbours with their seeding or harvest.
His love of horses was kindled during the early days on his parental farm, when his father, who farmed with horses, helped him develop a keen eye for a good horse. He purchased his first team of Clydesdales shortly after he married and began to show them at local fairs. As his hobby grew, he soon had a six-horse hitch and began to show in the bigger fairs in Brandon, Regina, Saskatoon, and Toronto from 1949 through 1959. He was well respected in the heavy horse world. After he no longer had his own show horses, he was regularly called upon to be judge at events or act as ringmaster. For many years he helped Jim Poole of the Alberta Game Farm with his show hitch, and later with the famous Budweiser hitch, taking him to many major events throughout Canada and the United States.
Outside of the show ring, he was a staunch supporter of organizations to improve the opportunities for his friends and fellow competitors in both the heavy and light horse world. He was a Director of the Brandon Provincial Exhibition (1956-1978), serving as President (1964-1967). He was on the Brandon Winter Fair Board for 28 years and served on the committee for the construction of the Keystone Centre. He was a member of the Manitoba Horse Breeders Association, and in 1987 received recognition from them for his 40 years of service and fellowship in that organization. In 1979, he was made an Honorary Director of the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba. In 1981 he received the Manitoba Light Horse Association's Certificate of Appreciation for his outstanding and dedicated service in equestrian sports. That same year, he also received recognition for his support of and assistance to the Manitoba 4-H Council and its programs. In 1996 he received the Jim Figol Memorial Award for Outstanding Volunteer of the Provincial Exhibition.
For 40 years he was a member of the Souris and Glenwood Agricultural Society. In 1998 he was made an Honorary Director and Life Member of the Souris and Glenwood Agricultural Society, and later that same year was awarded with an Honorary Life Membership in the Manitoba Association of Agricultural Societies. He was known as well for his involvement in church and community, always willing to help his neighbours.
He died at Souris on 27 June 2005 and was buried in the Rosewood Memorial Gardens at Brandon.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, on 8 July 2005.
Obituary [Emily Turner], Winnipeg Free Press, 22 May 2013.
“Ross Holtby Turner,” JF Bailey Family Tree, Ancestry.
This page was prepared by Lois Braun.
Page revised: 8 October 2022