Dennis Turner passed away at his Hermiston home Monday, ending his 2-year battle with cancer.

Turner, 70, worked as an orthodontist in Eastern Oregon for 40 years until he retired due to his health issues and sold his practice July 13.

In June 2009 he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and after having his prostate removed that August believed the cancer was gone. But in July 2010 he was diagnosed with colon cancer and after three unsuccessful rounds of chemotherapy, opted out of a fourth round.

The Turners contacted hospice, which cared for him at home, said his wife, Brenda Turner.

She said he will be remembered as a fun-loving, yet spiritual, hard-working guy who would light up the room. He also never met a stranger.

“People would tell him personal things that they would never tell anyone else,” Brenda said. “I think they could see his heart. They knew he wasn’t looking for little bits of gossip, he was talking to them because he really cared.”

Throughout all of the diagnoses, treatments and heartbreak, Turner’s wife and son Jordan served as his support system. During an August interview Turner said that without those loving, caring people in his life and his own relationship with the Lord, he would not have made it through his battle. 

He celebrated his birthday Aug. 27 during a party at his home with over 300 people in attendance, and for those four hours experienced no pain, Brenda said.

“I know it was through their thoughts, prayers and love that he was able to do that,” she said.

During Turner’s time as an orthodontist he responded to emergencies at all hours of the day or night and helped start a program called Advantage Smiles for Kids to get at-risk welfare patients free braces. The foundation has about 140 kids in braces, which would not have been possible without the work of the company that Turner and a handful of other dentists helped start by entering venture capital 20 years ago, Turner said in August.

 He also had time to be an avid outdoorsman. Turner had been on every trail in the Wallowa Mountains either on foot, horseback or on a mule.

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