When you attempt to highlight the athletic career of Bob Turner, where do you start?
Do you point out that Bob was a member of state championship basketball and baseball teams at Joplin High School in 1955?
Or do you single out his collegiate basketball and baseball career at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He lettered three years in both sports and was named to the All-Southwest Conference freshman basketball team after strafing Texas Tech for 32 points in one game and getting 27 against Southern Methodist in another.
How about career, although brief, in professional baseball and basketball? He signed with the St. Louis Cardinals and played with farm clubs in Winnipeg, Canada, Keokuk, Iowa, in 1961. He played professional basketball with the Battle Creek, Michigan, and Braves in the Northern Basketball League in 1967.
But then Bob also excelled in golf and bowling. He teamed with Stan Heater to win the Class A doubles bowling title in the Joplin city tournament in 1961.
Fast pitch softball has a special place in Bob’s heart. He played three years at Springfield and helped his team earn a berth in the World Tournament in 1963. When his employment took him to Illinois, Bob played fast pitch softball form 1966 to 1976 and posted a lifetime batting average over .300. “We traveled all over and must have played over 700 games the first six years I was with the team,” he recalled.
After returning to Joplin in 1976, Bob has played championship-caliber golf on city and area courses. He won the Briarbrook Invitational in 1978, won the Show Me Classic and low gross honors at Twin Hills Country Club in 1983, was low amateur in the Mickey Mantle Charity Pro-Am in 1983, and won the Missouri State Seniors 4-ball scratch championship with partner Ed Spencer in 1997.
Turner and Spencer teamed up to win the state seniors low net four-ball title two years later. He’s been club champion club champion at Loma Linda country club and at Briarbrook Country Club and he’s been Senior Club champion at Twin Hills.
He’s qualified and played in more than 14 Joplin-Springfield Horton Smith and Ky Laffoon Cup matches. He was on winning teams with Loma Linda and Twin Hills clubs in the Joplin Globe City Championships 10 times.
For his many accomplishments in golf, the Joplin Golf Foundation inducted Bob into its Hall of Fame in 2006.
An insurance agent most of his adult life, Bob and Wally Wilson formed the Wilson-Turner Agency in the early 1980’s. Bob remained with the firm until selling the agency in 2002.
The son of Gene and Patricia Turner, Bob was married twice and has four children: sons Steve and Mark by his first marriage and son Jeff and daughter Debbie with his second wife, Rose.