Bill Turner (Making Decorative Bird Houses)


Bill Turner

Bill Turner

When Bill retired, he had a hobby that made good use of his work-a-day skills.

Bill taught high school science and industrial arts. Now he designs and builds small bird houses out of wood, glass, and leftover pieces of tile. It takes him between two and seven hours to make a house, depending on the style, materials, size, and complexity. Each house is unique.

Bill has also made other wooden objects, glass terrariums, and stained glass lamp shades, sun catchers, panels. During the summer he works at his home in Dearborn, Michigan, where he has spent most of his life.

While attending Western Michigan University, Bill met his future wife, Susan, on Sweetness Day in 1960 at a dance at Nazareth College. . But after graduation, his army service separated them.

billworkingBill became a commissioned officer in the Army. He was at Fort Hood, Texas, on the day that Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. It was John Kennedy who had signed his commission papers. As his 6-years were up just as the war with Vietnam began, being married, Bill gave up his commission.

He returned to Dearborn, and taught industrial arts at Lincoln Park High School — drafting, woodworking, printing, auto mechanics, and machine/metal working. When the industrial arts program became too expensive to maintain, it was phased out and Bill was asked to teach science to include Life Science and Earth Science.

Lincoln Park was a magnet school for the blind. For two periods each day Bill taught visually handicapped students. They took notes using their brail machines while teachers’ aids helped with tests, etc. For two years Bill was president of the local Lions Club.

Bill also spent several hours each day counseling troubled students. He studied psychology and earned two Masters degrees, in science and education.

Meanwhile, he and Susan were raising a son and a daughter. For many years they visited her family at Deerfield Beach on the Atlantic coast. He still spends holidays with them, but Tanglewood seemed a safer place to retire. He came in 2003, after Susan passed away, and just before three hurricanes hit Sebring in 2004.

Now Bill has more time for his hobby. For a workshop he’s equipped his golf cart shed with a work table, hand tools, and various grinders. His houses are made of tile/glass fragments imbedded in cement or used for roofs.

Some of the houses he gives away, and some he sells, especially special request projects. He’s exhibited his houses at schools, in senior groups, at the Tanglewood Craft Fair and in their library.

bill__3housesHis spare time he often spends reading, mostly non-fiction, or he may go to the exercise room.

You may contact Bill by writing to him at, with comments or questions.

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