Cover photo for D. Lester "Les" Turnbull's Obituary
D. Lester "Les" Turnbull Profile Photo
1936 D. Lester 2023

D. Lester "Les" Turnbull

April 3, 1936 — March 24, 2023

Donald Lester (Les) Turnbull passed away peacefully on March 24, 2023, in Missoula, MT. 


A graveside service has taken place in Pinecrest Memorial Park in Sandpoint, Idaho.


He was born April 3, 1936, in Sagle, ID, to Harley and Mary Lee (Converse) Turnbull.  Les grew up on the family property that his grandfather, father and Les had owned and now his son lives there, soon to be followed by a grandson and his family.   Les attended local schools, graduating from Sandpoint High School in 1954 where he excelled in football and baseball.  He graduated from the University of Idaho, in 1958, with a degree in Civil Engineering.  He married his high school sweetheart, Vinita Apedaile and together they had three children, Steven, Teresa and Michael.  They later divorced.


Les began his engineering career with the U.S. Forest Service in Northern Idaho, Missoula and Great Falls, MT.  He then worked for a time at a private engineering firm in Great Falls before striking out on his own with a partner, starting Turnbull & Plummer Engineering, which later became Turnbull Engineering, until his retirement in 1996.  In addition to having a successful engineering business, from 1972 - 1996, Les was one of five engineers who had as a client, a national insurance firm that insured ski areas.  This gave Les the opportunity to visit and inspect ski areas throughout the nation, including Alaska and Southern Canada.  It was an exciting part of his career and he had some adventurous tales of this time.  He and a close friend, Dick Ainsworth, were also instrumental in developing a large portion of Placid and Salmon Lakes.  This was something they were very proud of.


He married Sandra (Tague) Higgins on April 1, 1983 and they had 40 years of happiness, travel, golfing, friendship and fun together.  Their travels took them to their beloved Kauai over 30 times.  They also loved road trips and thought nothing of getting in the car to drive across the country to either the D.C. area or NH to visit their two daughters.  One year their travels took them from the Arctic Circle to the Mexico border and from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean.  They truly enjoyed their few years in St. George, UT., but most of all, they were happiest in their home at Placid Lake, MT.  He was an avid New York Yankees, Green Bay Packer and Duke fan until the very end!


Les was preceded in death by his parents, son Steven and his brother, Richard.  He is survived by his wife, Sandra of Missoula, MT; daughter Teresa (David) Espinoza and son Michael, Sagle, ID; sister Judy (Russ) Collett of Kingston, WA; step children Suzanne (Geoff) Curtis of Hanover, NH and Dan (Shelly) Higgins, of Hailey, ID; grandson Christopher (Chelsey) Turnbull, Sagle, ID; step grandchildren Siena and Lucy Curtis, Tague and Luke Higgins; niece Lisa (Paul) Meehan and nephew Brent (Jessica) Collett and their families.  


On a happy ending note…Les’ great grandson, Harley Turnbull, was born the day before Les passed away.  A new life here to love, while a wonderful, much-loved man has left us. 

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