The U.S. veteran who made an indelible mark on the athletic footwear business during a 60-year career died July 9. He was 84. Less than two years ago, Turner emerged from retirement with Turner Footwear, some six years after selling his Irvine, CA-based American Sporting Goods to the former Brown Shoe. Co. (now Caleres).
But it was earlier in his career, after serving two years in the Army and graduating with an MBA from the University of California-Berkeley, that Turner made his biggest mark on the then-fledgling athletic shoe industry. As president of Brooks Athletic Shoe Co. in the 1960s and the 1970s, he invented the stability running shoe category and introduced the first style with an EVA midsole after a conversation with famed distance runner Marty Liquori and working with a chemical engineer at the Monarch Rubber Co. in Baltimore.
Besides his wife Margaret Oung and former spouse Jo-Ellen Turner, he is survived by three children and six grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, donations in Jerry’s name may be made to Omaha, NE’s Central High School Foundation. Turner endowed an annual scholarship there for a graduating senior attending the University of Pennsylvania.