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Gary Turner (Bodebi)

Gary Turner, who in partnership with his brother John showed and bred dogs under the Bodebi affix, suffered a massive heart attack and died on the afternoon of Monday 3rd April. He was at home when he died and although a friend tried to resuscitate him, neither she nor the paramedics could do so. The funeral took place at Lincoln Crematorium on 13th April. Mourners were requested to wear bright colours for the celebration of Gary’s life.

Gary was a larger than life character. Even if people did not know him personally, they knew who he was. His death at 42 years of age is a tremendous shock to everyone who knew him. He was such a vibrant person and those of us who love the eccentrics of this world will really miss him.
The youngest of four children Gary had a menagerie of animals for a large part of his life. Cats, dogs, horses and guinea pigs were part of his childhood. When he was 5 years old the family acquired a Pembroke Corgi that was shown at small local events, firstly by his brother John and later by Gary.

When Gary left school, he trained as a Post Office Counter Clerk at a Sub Post Office run by the late René Lyons who was a Cocker Spaniel enthusiast. Gary acquired a Cocker and was hooked. Serious showing of the Cocker as well as the Corgis followed.

After his mother’s death Gary moved to Sheffield to train as a hairdresser. There he was taken under the wing of a wonderful lady called Betty Slater who became his ‘adopted mother’. With Betty’s help, Gary was able to keep a dog and John bought Furstin Singing Solo for his 21st birthday. Bred by Wendy Boorer she was sired by Tonsarne Humbug ex Late Arrival at Furstin and became the foundation of the Bodebi Affenpinschers. In 1984 the Bodebi affix was registered. He then acquired a puppy Furstin Phenomenia at Bodebi sired by the breed’s first Champion, Ch. Last Edition at Furstin ex Furstin Phantasmagoria who, subsequently, in the ownership of the late Pat Patchen, became a champion.

Following a serious upset in his personal life, Gary, by now a fully qualified hairdresser, decided to move abroad working on cruise liners so the Affenpinschers were disbanded, mostly taken on by other Affenpinscher owners. Following promotion he was appointed Manager of Hair and Beauty of all the Company’s liners. Based at South Beach, Miami his duties included flying out to meet the liners at various ports, dealing with staff, motivating them and organising hair and fashion shows on board. He worked for the shipping company for about four years, and his job took him twice round the world, but following a bout of ill health and a period in St. Thomas’s Hospital in London, Gary decided to return to England for good.

He made his home with his brother John in Nottingham. Gary became Manager of Saks Hairdressing Salon in Nottingham and won numerous trade awards including Top Salon and Top Manager two years running. Even in his work the competitive spirit shone through. He entered and did well in many hairdressing competitions around the country. But arthritis was troubling him and Gary decided on another change of course. He embarked on a teaching career in hairdressing and became a NVQ Lecturer and Assessor at New College, Nottingham where he was employed until his death.

Living with John and having a more settled life meant that Gary could have dogs once more. Linda McGill had Bodebi Rejoyce when Gary left the country and from a litter by Ch. Last Edition at Furstin, Gary had Ch. Cransbere Kindamagic at Bodebi who proved a wonderful show dog winning 11 CCs as well as siring champions.

Most of the dogs have been jointly owned and bred with John. Bodebi has had winning American Cockers, Cockers and Toy Poodles but Gary’s recent interest was more in the Toy Group having bred and/or owned Papillons, Pugs, Maltese, Smooth coat Chihuahuas as well as Affenpinschers. Gary was successful in most breeds he ventured into and his most recent triumph was a CC with their first homebred Papillon at UK Toydog. He has also owned and shown a red rough Griffon, Cesky Terrier, Boxer, Bulldogs and a Bull Terrier and a Lhasa Apso puppy was a recent acquisition. Cats had been a passion but it was decided to concentrate on the dogs, although there had been champions in homebred Black Orientals and all colours of Siamese as well as Persians in the past.
Gary was an excellent handler and handled dogs for other people on occasion but perhaps his most impressive performance was handling Carol Lees’ Maltese to 4th in the Toy Group at Crufts in 2005.

In the show ring Gary was a colourful character in every sense. His outfits, especially at Crufts, always attracted attention. My favourite being a Stars and Stripes number in which he handled an American Cocker but he has appeared in gold lamé and a mandarin outfit among many others.

Gary judged several breeds at Open Show level around the country including in Northern Ireland. He awarded CCs in Affenpinschers for the first time at Leeds in 2001 and should have judged the breed for the fourth time at Windsor this year. The final weekend of his life was spent in the showring – as an exhibitor at Bridgford & DCS where his Papillon went Best Puppy in Show and as a steward at an American Cocker Ch. Show the following day.

Gary was an avid reader, he loved films and the live theatre, particularly music shows, ballet and opera.

Gary, always the showman – how can we ever forget him?
Our sympathy goes to John and the family at this sad time.
Toni Teasdale