TURK, F. JEROME

TURK, F. JEROME (20 May 1923 - 6 Dec. 2011). Born and raised in Cleveland, Jerome “Jerry” Turk was a writer and radio and TV director and producer. 

In WORLD WAR II, Turk served as a machine gunner, won a Bronze star in Europe, served as press chief for the 103rd Infantry Division, and with Ralph Mueller, co-wrote a division history, Report After Action. The history was well received. "The reason the book is so good," wrote the Chicago Tribune, is because "it was written by a corporal and a private, by exhausted guys who couldn't see why in the hell they had to go over that mountain, but nevertheless did it with the Germans rolling grenades down them." 

A graduate of BALDWIN-WALLACE COLLEGE, Turk shuttled between Cleveland and Chicago before finally settling in Cleveland. He wrote for the CLEVELAND NEWS and several advertising agencies, then went out on his own. His films, radio shows, and documentaries promoted Ohio all over the world. Turk represented Fashinger Modeling Agency in the ARCADE and married its Dorthea Patricia Fashinger in 1951. Together they had three sons and a daughter. 

Turk always loved Cleveland. "I was shocked by Cleveland's inferiority complex," he told THE PLAIN DEALER in 1971. "I was determined to look for the sunny side of the street... We don't have to take a back seat to any area or community of people on Earth. Cleveland's accomplishments are really quite spectacular."

For many years Turk had an office at CINECRAFT PRODUCTIONS, where he worked on projects for many organizations, including Eastman Kodak, the SISTERS OF CHARITY, and the CLEVELAND ELECTRIC ILLUMINATING COMPANY (CEI). In 1968 and ’69, Business Screen magazine listed him as Executive Vice-President of Visual Techniques, Inc., a Cleveland-based SPONSORED FILM studio. 

Turk produced CEI’s  “On Location,” a five-minute radio program that aired daily on Ohio radio stations for 18 years - 1961 to 1979. Bruce McDonald, program director of WJW AM-FM radio, narrated the shows. Although "CEI had used best Location in the Nation" before Turk got involved, he takes credit for "inventing" the slogan in his obituary. “Best Location in the Nation” is still used in promoting Cleveland. 

In the 1960s, Gov. James Rhodes made Turk one of the original Ohio Commodores. He became their “Grand Commodore” and promoted Buckeye businesses around the world. Turk also won local and national awards from the Freedoms Foundation, Advertising Age, and the Radio and Television Council of Greater Cleveland. He produced "Speaking of Money,” a weekly 5-minute radio program from 1961 to 1966.   

A history buff, he started "Dateline History" in 1974, a nationally syndicated weekly newspaper column covering the Revolutionary War as if it were live. Co-written with Edward Walsh, the column was popular because of the country's upcoming bicentennial.

Another Turk project was the CEI’s documentary, The Perry Story (1977), a film built around interviews with the residents and community leaders of the proposed nuclear power plant in Perry, Ohio, on the shore of Lake Erie, 40 miles west of Cleveland. 

Jerry Turk was known for "filing by piling" on his messy desk and scrambling to meet deadlines. He once jumped on a plane with an overdue script for Eastman Kodak in Rochester, NY, and ended up in Rochester, MN, instead.

Later in life, Turk spent many years as public affairs director for AAA and editor of its Ohio Motorist Magazine. Based on their travels, he and his wife co-wrote the magazine's "Two for the Road" column. Phil Hartman, who worked with Turk at the American Automobile Association, said, "He was an inventive guy. He'd sit around staring at the wall, and pretty soon, an idea would come out."

His wife died in 1992, and Turk retired from the AAA the following year. The Turks lived in Cleveland, PARMA, STRONGSVILLE, and Kirtland, OH.

 

Jim Culley


 

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