Engineering professor recalled as “friend to all”

Richard Turpin

Richard Turpin

Richard H. Turpin, a professor of engineering at University of the Pacific who also served one year as dean, died in Stockton August 28 at the age of 84.

Turpin taught engineering for 21 years at Pacific (1984-2005) after working as a professor at University of California, Davis and Indiana University—Purdue University at Indianapolis.

“He was a colleague and a friend to all, from the day you met him,” said Abel Fernandez, professor of civil engineering. “In all his roles, from professor to department chair to interim dean, there was never a sense of detachment. He remained close to everyone. He was a special person.”

Turpin earned bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering and mathematics at Iowa State University, a master’s in electrical and computer engineering at USC and a PhD in electrical engineering at Ohio State University. 

Turpin was an avid musician, photographer, cyclist and tennis and pickleball player. He also enjoyed traveling.

“He biked to campus almost every day from his home [in west Stockton],” recalled his son Tim Turpin. “He had a couple different bikes and that was part of his routine. He was a very active person in many of his interests.”

Turpin and his first wife Sylvia had three children: Tim, Mark and Rebecca. After Sylvia died, he met Carolyn Lawrence through the Quail Lakes Orchestra and Stockton Concert Band and they married in 2017.

The family will establish an endowed scholarship in Richard H. Turpin’s name to honor his career-long devotion to supporting the learning and development of engineering students. Each year, in perpetuity, an outstanding student at the School of Engineering and Computer Science will receive the scholarship award. Memorial gifts honoring Turpin can be made by contacting Dan Mackeben at or 209.946.2643. 

A memorial service will be held Saturday, Sept. 23 at 10 a.m. at Morris Chapel on the Stockton Campus.