Richard E. Turley Sr., former University of Utah mechanical engineering associate professor who was also Utah’s first state science advisor and an Emeritus General Authority for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, passed away Sunday, Oct. 10. He was 90.

Turley, who was born in El Paso, Texas, in 1930, began his engineering studies at Texas A&M University until he served an LDS church mission. Upon his return, and at the request of his cousin, Henry Eyring, Turley attended the University of Utah in 1952 where he received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. His first job out of college was as a nuclear test engineer for aircraft manufacturing company, Convair, in Fort Worth. During that time, and while working for El Paso Natural Gas Co., Turley attended classes in nuclear physics and mathematics at Southern Methodist University.

He was invited back to the University of Utah to teach nuclear engineering courses in the mechanical engineering department while earning his master’s degree. While a professor at the U., Turley arranged to have the university’s first nuclear reactor shipped to campus for use in his courses.

Later, while married and with seven children, Turley eventually earned his doctorate degree in nuclear engineering at Iowa State University while also working as an associate professor there. In 1967, he returned to Utah where he again taught at the U’s mechanical engineering department while also working as the executive director of the Utah Nuclear Energy Commission.

Turley helped launch Utah’s Advisory Council on Science and Technology and was the state’s science advisor for five years while he continued to teach and conduct research at the U. He was also director of the Industrial Engineering Division for the U’s College of Engineering.

He was a life-long member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served in the Second Quorum of the Seventy from 1997 to 2000 and spent much of that time in Mexico. He was also president of the Mexico Hermosillo Mission and later served as a counselor in the church’s Mexico South Area presidency, according to the Deseret News.