Santa Fe, N.M., farrier and blacksmith Frank Turley recently passed away.
Turley is best known for operating Turley Forge Blacksmithing School — the “Granddaddy of Blacksmithing Schools” — in Santa Fe, as well as conducting demonstrations at several American Farrier's Association Conventions. He conducted frequent demonstrations at craft schools, regional workshops and universities. He and Marc Simmons wrote Southwestern Colonial Ironwork.
The blacksmithing bug bit Turley early in his life, he told the Chasing Santa Fe blog.
“I was 14 and went to a family reunion,” he recalled. “I didn’t know anyone and got bored, so I wandered around and peeked into a barn.”
He had found a blacksmith shop, and there was no going back for the youngster.
“The Spanish word for hooked is enganchado,” Turley told the blog. “It’s hard to explain why, but the moment I stepped into that barn I was hooked!”
Before embarking on his blacksmithing career, Turley was a farrier, wrote Bob Bachen of Mustad USA. He attended Oregon State University’s farrier science program. He specialized in shoeing Morgans.
“He was also very involved in the early days of the American Farrier’s Association,” Bachen wrote. “Frank judged the forging classes for their first contest in Denver in 1977. He also judged in Fresno in 1979. Frank was a presenter at many AFA Conventions.”
In the meantime, Turley opened his blacksmithing school in 1970, estimating to New Mexico Magazine that he has trained 1,600 people — “from backyard hobbyists to award-winning artists.”
“Our loss is heaven’s gain,” Bachen wrote.
Funeral arrangements are pending.