Howard West Turtle

  • Born: November 26, 1912
  • Died: March 16, 2008
  • Location: Leawood, Kansas

Johnson County Funeral Chapel and Cemetery

11200 Metcalf Avenue
Overland Park, KS 66210

Tel. (913) 451-1860

Tribute & Message From The Family


Howard West Turtle, 95, of Overland Park, Kan., died March 16, 2008, at home.

Mr. Turtle was a reporter and editor with The Kansas City Star 40 years. He was Sunday Editor from 1960 to 1970 and was editor of STAR Magazine from the magazine's founding in 1970 until his retirement in 1976. He was a member of the University of Kansas Chancellor's Club, a trustee of the William Allen White School of Journalism, and member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity. In student days he followed music as a profession, earning most of his way through the University of Kansas as a trumpet player in Red Blackburn's dance band. In retirement he followed music as a hobby, playing for 20 years in the Junk-Yard Jazz Band, Lawrence, Kan. In Kansas City he was a volunteer cornet/trumpet player with The Entertainers, a subsidiary of The Senior Barn Players, In 15 years he appeared with The Entertainers in more than 500 events, mostly in nursing homes and churches. Another of his jazz groups, composed of both amateurs and former professionals, was called Clyde Nichols and His Bad Pennies. He played as a guest with bands at the Historic Jazz District, Kansas City; Country Club Hotel, Lake of the Ozarks; Jacaranda Restaurant, Sanibel Island, Fla.; and the 606 Club, London, England. Mr. Turtle was born Nov. 26, 1912, in Salina, Kan., the son of Richard Howard Turtle and Martha West Turtle. He graduated from Salina High School, studied at Kansas Wesleyan University, and received an A.B. degree in journalism, University of Kansas, 1934. He started as a reporter on The Kansas City Times in 1936 and retired in 1976. In 1976 he was chairman, national convention of newspaper magazine editors, Louisville, Ky. In World War II, he was a staff sergeant, combat medics, 5th Armored Division. He served in five campaigns in Europe - Normandy, Northern France, Central Europe, Ardennes and Rhineland. He was awarded the Bronze Star medal and Purple Heart from action in The Battle of the Bulge, Germany, Dec. 16, 1944. Between 1936 and 1960, he contributed articles to national magazines: Reader's Digest; Saturday Event Post; Collier's Magazine; and Esquire. In 1978 he was chairman, founding committee, of the Dr. Mark Dodge Fund for Medical Education, St. Luke's Hospital Foundation. He was a former member of the Vanguard Breakfast Club, Kansas City Press Club, and the American Association of Feature and Sunday Editors.

Mr. Turtle married Ms. Thelma Anderson of Nashville, Tenn., on March 8, 1946. They were introduced by a mutual friend while Mr. Turtle was training for combat in Tennessee. Mr. Turtle often relayed how he knew she was the girl he wanted to marry the first time he laid eyes on her. They enjoyed many wonderful times together with friends and family. They loved socializing, traveling and most of all fishing. Mrs. Turtle died in 1995. They leave a daughter, Mrs. Julia Turtle Kirk and her husband Mike of Fairway, Kan.; a son, James W. Turtle and his wife Beth of Manhattan, Kan.; and five grandchildren, James Christopher Kirk and Kristin Elizabeth Kirk of Fairway, and James Anderson Turtle, Frisco, Colo., Joanna Marie Turtle, Lee's Summit, Mo., and Eric West Turtle, Chico, Calif.

Mr. Turtle was a warm and loving husband, father, grandfather and friend. He was loved and admired during his lifetime and will be greatly missed.

Services will be at 3:30 p.m. Friday, March 21, at D.W. Newcomer's Johnson County, 11200 Metcalf, Overland Park, with visitation at 2:30 p.m. preceding the services. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Luke's Hospital Foundation or to the University of Kansas Endowment Association.


Condolence & Memory Journal

I am so sorry that I cannot be there to pay my respects in person. I enjoyed playing in the Junkyard Jazz Band with Mr. Turtle for several years, and I will have nothing but fond memories of him.

Posted by Will Harvill    December 12, 2008

The staff of D.W. Newcomer's Sons Johnson County Chapel wish to extend sincere sympathy to the Turtle family.

Posted by D.W. Newcomer's Sons Johnson County Chapel    December 12, 2008