Reba A. Turnbull, 91, entered into rest on May 5, 2018 in Manteca. She was born January 15, 1927 in Oklahoma to the late Newton and Mary Riley. In heaven, she joins her husband, William F. Turnbull, her sisters Allie and Edith Riley, and son-in-law David C. Perry. Heaven received a “strong willed” “determined to have it her way” angel.
She leaves behind her daughters, Mary Turnbull-Perry of Escalon and Reba Ellen Turnbull of Manteca, her granddaughter Sherry Perry-Hylton and husband Joe Hylton, and her great granddaughter Joelle Hylton of Manteca. She was a member of First Baptist Church of Manteca and Linden. She was hard working, but on her down time, she enjoyed visiting the casinos. She loved a good book, could sew everything beautifully, and was passionate about keeping memories by scrapbooking. She will be remembered as a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and friend who will be deeply missed.
Reba quietly resided in Manteca for most of her life. In the world of the special needs person, she was well-known and most definitely heard. Coming from humble beginnings, Reba never shied away from hard work; she was too proud to accept assistance. During her life, she was a nurse, cut wood, drove a truck hauling logs, picked crops, bailed hay, worked in cannery, was the first owner/operator of transportation for special needs persons, and owner/ operator of Heritage Estates, Inc., residential care homes for the developmentally disabled adults with behaviors. When Reba’s daughter was four months of age, she was diagnosed with Polio Encephalitis. The doctors informed Reba that her daughter would never walk or talk and would be a living vegetable. Reba worked tirelessly to find medical care for her daughter. Reba’s endeavors were rewarded when her daughter walked, talked, and is living her life to her full capabilities. Reba’s daughter’s diagnosis placed Reba on a path that would lead her in a world where Reba would exceed life’s expectations. While pursuing educational opportunities for her daughter, she discovered there was no transportation for the special needs person to attend their educational programs. Reba had a station wagon that she transported her daughter. Soon, she was transporting other special needs students. The parents would pay what they could afford or nothing at all. When there were more students than the station wagon could hold, Reba went to the County School Superintendent and requested funds to transport the special needs students. The County Special Education Director and Reba went to Sacramento to request funding. Funding was approved, and Turnbull & Turnbull Transportation evolved. The first ever of its kind in San Joaquin County. Reba attended the California Highway Patrol Academy for State School Bus Instructor Course and a First Aid Instructor Course to train the drivers. Reba had the funding and the verbal contract, but no funds for the vehicles. Reba contacted the Volkswagen Dealership in Stockton and secured a verbal contract for 66 plus vehicles on a will and a promise. During the time when there were riots in Stockton, Reba was respected by the people rioting, the rioters would escort Reba’s buses through the troubled areas. Reba’s shop and office were safe; all rioters were informed not to involve Reba’s business. When Reba sold the transportation business, she went into the care home business full time. Reba had provided care before she had started transportation. Reba was the first to open crisis respite-care with the use of designated beds for the placement agency. Over the years, she owned and operated over 12 homes. Upon her death, she still had six facilities. Reba was one of the parents that traveled to Sacramento and helped orchestrate the Lanterman Act for the special needs population. Reba gave endless hours being on boards and committees for the betterment of special needs persons. Reba’s walls adorn over 19 different awards for giving of her time.
Reba was a breast and colon cancer survivor. Through her different medical issues that Reba dealt with, she sometimes worked from her hospital bed. Only the administrative staff was informed. The outside world was not aware. Reba was in complete control passing peacefully as she had ordered. We truly lost a one of a kind, independent, strong-willed, self-made woman.
P.L. Fry is honored to serve the Turnbull family. For condolences to the family, please visit website www.plfryandson.com, search obituaries. She will be laid to rest at Sunset View Cemetery, Jackson, CA in a private family service.