Just Because It’s In Print Doesn’t Make It True

I never knew my maternal grandfather, Howard Arthur Turner, as I lost contact with my mother and her side of the family when I was very young.  One day I discovered his obituary on GenealogyBank.com and became intrigued with knowing more about him.

From his obituary I learned he died on June 26, 1992 and that he was survived by his wife Carol; son Tom Turner; daughter, Mrs. Kathy Currier; brothers, James Turner Jr., Michael Turner; two stepdaughters; two grandchildren; nephews and nieces. 1

That would be the first piece of information that is wrong.  He was survived by at least 4 grandchildren.  My sister and I are the daughters of Kathy Currier by a previous marriage.

When reading obituaries, family histories, newspapers, wills and other documents we use to understand genealogy it is important to remember details are often presented to fit current realities.  Given that my sister and I had not had contact with the man since we were very young and that we haven’t had any contact with the family for well over 30 years, it is understandable.  And a different story for a different day.

The paragraphs that I find the most intriguing from the obituary are:

A radio newscaster at WBT (1110 AM) in the early 1940s, Mr. Turner also taught David Brinkley, now host of the Sunday news Program “This Week With David Brinkley,” who was a UPI news reporter at the Charlotte Station, how to announce on the radio – or so the story goes, says Mr. Turner’s son, Tom.

“My dad would like to tell us about how he taught David Brinkley how to announce on the radio. I don’t know if it’s absolutely true, but he sure liked to tell the story,” said Tom Turner, now president of his father’s supply company. From 1941 to 1946, Mr. Turner paired with Grady Cole, for whom the Grady Cole Center on Kings Drive is named, to produce morning news reports on WBT.” 2

There is a story there.  How much of it is true? I know there are already missing pieces in this brief summary of his life. One thing I do know, the story is probably interesting. Tomorrow I’ll start trying to unravel it.

1. “Howard Arthur Turner,” obituary, The Charlotte (North Carolina) Observer, June 28, 1992; digital images, Genealogybank.com, (http://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 5 April 2009), Newspaper Obituaries Collection.
2. “Howard Arthur Turner,” obituary, The Charlotte Observer, June 28, 1992.

3 thoughts on “Just Because It’s In Print Doesn’t Make It True”

  1. Good advice. Facts — and the stories within which they are presented — are complicated things. Sounds like you have some intriguing stories to pursue.

  2. Yes I have a obit of a g-grand aunt who died in New Orleans, not in previous Census or her Obit, does it mention this good church woman was ever married before or had children from the 1st marriage.

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