If I could have traded places with any of my fellow Leo Men during my days as a Leo student, I might have chosen Stan Turner.
Stan could jump out of the gym, for starters, which made him the envy of us ground-bound white guys who misguidedly thought of ourselves as basketball players. Though he barely exceeded the 5-foot-9 “lightweight” height limit for most of his time at Leo, Stan was a smart, skilled, explosive player on the “heavies,” good enough to make All-Catholic League and attract some recruiting interest as a senior.
What I liked most about Stan was how he carried himself. He was a cool, classy, dignified young man who never big-timed anybody, a good guy whom we all respected and admired at a time when racial tensions in the surrounding neighborhood could occasionally make Leo a rather testy place in the uneasy late sixties.
Post-Leo, Stan went on to a distinguished career with the Chicago Police Department. Whenever I read that he was the lead detective on a case, I figured everyone involved would get a fair shake.
On Wednesday I got a call from Stan’s pastor. The effects of a stroke Stan suffered weeks ago proved fatal, and he died this week at 67. In keeping with his wishes, his family requested donations to Leo High School in lieu of flowers.
I appreciate the gesture, but I mourn the passing of a quality guy who even back then epitomized what Leo is all about.
If Stan Musial was Stan the Man, Stan Turner was Stan the Leo Man.
Safe home, sir.