Jordan “Turk” Eliades

Jordan “Turk” Eliades

East Ely, White Pine County, Nevada, USA
Death 15 Dec 2016 (aged 93)
Bakersfield, Kern County, California, USA
Burial Bakersfield, Kern County, California, USA
Memorial ID 174074420 · View Source
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North High legend Eliades dies at 93

Anyone compiling a list of North High School’s most influential people would put Jordan “Turk” Eliades in the top spot.

Eliades, days short of his 94th birthday, died Thursday night surrounded by family at his home in north Bakersfield.

Eliades joined the North faculty as a math teacher and varsity football head coach when the school opened in 1953. He was there 32 years before retiring in 1985.

“He’s one of the greatest men I’ve ever known. I’m really sad he’s gone,” said Greg Williamson, who retired as Bakersfield’s Chief of Police this week and graduated from North in 1982.

Williamson played two seasons for Eliades and was an All-City lineman his senior year.

“When you were on the football field, things equated back to life,” Williamson said. “If you went on to play football somewhere, that’s good. But for his players and students: After being with him, they would be better prepared to go out into life and succeed.”

North High’s football stadium was renamed Eliades Field in his honor. Eliades was inducted into the Bob Elias Kern County Sports Hall of Fame in 1991, was part of the 2013 inaugural class of the North High Hall of Fame and is also in the White Pine High School (Nev.) Hall of Fame.

Karen Langston, a 1984 North graduate, took two math classes from Eliades. She’s now an associate athletics director at Cal State Bakersfield and was the first chairperson for North’s Hall of Fame.

“Most people who had him in class loved him as a teacher,” Langston said. “Most people talk about him as a legendary coach. But they don’t realize his impact in the classroom. He had such a memorable style as a teacher. He taught like he coached. He was so animated and enthusiastic in the classroom. I could tell you 100 classroom experiences.”

Eliades grew up in McGill, Nev. He enlisted in the Air Force shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack and had two stints in Bakersfield during the war before he volunteered to go overseas and was sent to Europe.

A fighter pilot, Eliades shot down one German plane and was later shot down in the final year of the war. He spent six months in a German POW camp before it was liberated.

He returned to Kern County in 1950, when he was hired as a teacher and coach at Shafter High School. When North opened in 1953, Eliades joined the faculty as a math teacher and the Stars’ first varsity football head coach.

Eliades compiled a 175-117-8 record with the Stars from 1953-84 and was equally passionate as a math teacher.

“What a great life he had,” said Jack O’Brien, who was an assistant coach on Eliades’ staff for 15 seasons and was North’s varsity football coach in the 1990s. “I can’t know the number of lives he touched.

“The whole school’s history is wrapped around Turk Eliades. Everyone around Turk benefitted and came out a better person. …

“He took a bunch of Oildale kids and made them believers, not only on the football field but in the classroom. He was a tremendous math teacher. This community will really miss him.”

Tony Silver, a coach and teacher at North for 37 years, said he coached with Eliades for six or seven years.

"The end of his career was the start of mine," Silver said. "He was really great to my kids and a mentor to me. He was quite a leader.”

Don Ward coached at South High for 26 years, including 16 as varsity football head coach, and then was Stockdale’s first athletic director. First, he was North’s quarterback in the 1954 and 1955 seasons.

“I’m not the only one he was a second father to,” Ward said. “He was a second father to thousands, especially the boys who played for him.

“I know the influence he had on me. I’m probably the only one who played for him who ended up a football coach and math teacher like him.”

“When we’re born, if we could sign on to have the life he had, we’d sign the paper immediately,” Ward said. “He influenced a lot of people.”

Ned Permenter, Foothill’s varsity football head coach for 37 years before he retired in 2001, faced Eliades-coached teams numerous times. Eliades was part of a special group of coaches who were already established by time Permenter began coaching, he said.

“Turk, Paul Briggs (at Bakersfield High), Larry Lafond at South, Bob Carroll at Garces, Migs Apsit at East — all World War II guys who were around when I got started,” Permenter said. “None of them are around anymore.

“The way they coached, there was never any problem with film exchange. Their handshake was their word, their bond. That was such a special period. They didn’t go for three or four years and look for another job. They gave those schools their life. …

“Those North of the River people are their own nation and pride,” Permenter said. “He was a good fit for those people out there. He was a heck of a trailblazer in this community.

“I’m the last of the Mohicans. I’m glad I got a chance to go up against guys like Turk and Paul Briggs.”

Eliades and his wife, Cookie, were married for 63 years before her death in 2010.

He is survived by sons Tim, Daniel and Jay; daughter Jane Eliades Davidsaver; and grandchildren Jill Davidsaver, Jason Davidsaver and Jordan Eliades.

A celebration of life is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 5, at North High’s Eliades Field. In lieu of flowers, the family has set up a Jordan and Frances Eliades Memorial Scholarship Fund at North High. Contributions can be sent to North High, attention finance office.

Published by the Bakersfield Californian December 16, 2016

Jordan "Turk" Eliades

Jordan Eliades, died with his children, in his home of 61 years, late evening, December 15, 2016, five days short of his 94th birthday. He was born in East Ely, NV. He was the eldest son of Greek immigrants, Georgeos and Mary Eliades. He grew up with five siblings, with six additional, that never made it to adulthood. His family moved to the Kenecott Copper Company town, of McGill, Nevada at the age of five to start school at McGill Elementary. His first language was Greek and he learned English at school to share with his family at home. Every day after school he attended Greek School, at St Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, McGill, NV. In his high school years, he would ride the company train 13 miles each way to attend White Pine High School, in Ely, NV, where he was a standout athletically as well as academically, graduating in 1940. He was honored in the first White Pine Hall of Fame induction group in 1993.

After his graduation, he stayed home a year to work and financially assist his family. His Freshman year began at the University of Nevada, Reno, in 1941. His father died in a mining accident in 1942 leaving his mother and five siblings. He enlisted in the Army Air Corp in 1943. He trained in various US air bases including Minter Field, Shafter, CA, where he was a flight instructor and became a member of the 55th Fighter Group. During WWII he flew P-51 Mustangs, stationed at Wormingford, England. He was shot down in November 1944, on a mission over Nazi Germany. He was kept in Stalag Luft I, Barth, Germany, November 1944 - April 1945.

He returned to the United States continuing his education, graduating in 1948. During this time he met his future wife, Frances Cook 'Cookie' and his daughter was born. He was president of his fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha, and a member of the famous University of Nevada Salad Bowl Team of 1947.

They moved to Los Angeles, California, where he completed his Masters Degree at USC. They then followed his White Pine High School coach, Dan Bledsoe, to Shafter High School, where he taught and coached 1950-53. At that time they were one of the many families living in Kern Homes.
In 1953, he was hired as an original staff member opening North High School. He taught Advanced Algebra, Head Varsity Football Coach, and golf coach until his retirement in 1985. The football field was dedicated and named in his honor, 1992.

He is a local inductee in the Bob Elias Kern County Sports Hall of Fame, 1991. In 2013, he was a member of the first induction into the North High School Athletics Hall of Fame. In 1987, he was recognized for countless officiating hours and inducted into the Kern County Official Association Hall of Fame.

He always had a summer job, which included Minter Field recreation director, Kern County Agriculture inspector and for table grape growers, Kovacevich Farms, Arvin, CA, 1959-2002, retiring at 80 years old.
In his retirement, he was a devoted family man, gardener, hunter and fisherman, world traveler, sports enthusiast, mathematics tutor, avid LA Lakers fan, March Madness follower, cigar aficionado, champion of all things North High School and Oildale, a friend to many, and a lifelong golfer. A highlight he was proud was scoring a hole-in-one and taking home a Lincoln Continental Mark IV. He achieved the milestone of shooting his age in golf multiple times. He and Cookie traveled all over the United States attending 55th Fighter Group Reunions, where they made many new and lasting friendships. They always extended the trip seeing the sights and making visits to numerous family and friends.

He is survived by his youngest brother, Nick Eliades of Las Vegas, NV; daughter, Jane Eliades Davidsaver (Rick) of Pahrump, NV; sons, Timothy Eliades (Barbara), Daniel Eliades (Christina), Jay Eliades all of Bakersfield, CA; grandchildren, Jill Openshaw (Scott) of Arlington, VA, Jason Davidsaver (Tiffany) of Reno, NV, Jordan 'Jordy' Eliades, of Bakersfield, CA; son-in-law, Ray Pastorino, of Cupertino, CA; first cousins, Celia Anderson of Roseville, CA, Angelina Assuras, Reno, NV, Alex Eliades, Sparks, NV and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, parents, Godfather, Theros Jordan; brothers, James Eliades (Ruth), Sam Eliades (Betty); sisters, Helen Herz, Sophie Pastorino.
Thank you to the many lifelong family friends and neighbors that were constantly reaching out to the Eliades Family. Thank you to all former players, students and their families continued contact. We are forever thankful to his fishing buddies known as Turk's Boys, the Monday breakfast group and the many that our Dad shared a meal. Your enduring friendship towards our Dad and his entire family will never be forgotten. A special thank you to his doctor's and the Gentiva Hospice staff, that assisted our Dad on his final journey.

A private family interment will be held at Greenlawn Cemetery (River Blvd) Mausoleum, Cloverdale, where he will join his wife, Cookie, of 63 years.
His family welcomes others to join them for a Celebration of Life for their father, Jordan, January 5, 2016, 11:30 AM, NHS Eliades Field, which is wheelchair accessible.

If you so choose, memorial donations may be made to the Jordan and Frances Eliades Memorial Scholarship Fund, North High School, Attn: Finance Office, 300 Galaxy Ave, Bakersfield, CA 93308.

Published by the Bakersfield Californian Decemver 23, 2016

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  • Created by: This Side of the Grave
  • Added: 16 Dec 2016
  • Find a Grave Memorial 174074420
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Jordan “Turk” Eliades (20 Dec 1922–15 Dec 2016), Find a Grave Memorial no. 174074420, citing Greenlawn Cemetery and Mortuary, Bakersfield, Kern County, California, USA ; Maintained by This Side of the Grave (contributor 47231340) .