They say he died in his sleep, after watching his beloved Red Sox beat the Yankees one last time.
Fred Turner, the longtime sports editor of the Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, passed away Monday after a long illness. He was 67.
I had the privilege of working for Fred on the sports desk in the early ’80s, when every night at the paper was a new adventure.
Fred was a bundle of energy, and his spirit was infectious. He made it fun to come to work. Fred taught me how to think outside the box, to take risks, whatever it took to make the sports section shine.
And what a sports section it was. Great writers like Mitch Albom, Gene Wojciechowski, Bill Plaschke and many others were members of the team at one time or another. Slot guys like Jeff Otterbein, now sports editor of the Hartford Courant, Mark Kazlowski, now at the Dallas Morning News, and Tom Christensen, Fred’s able assistant editor for many years. All worked for Fred and learned from him at the Sun Sentinel.
Still hanging proudly on my wall is a “First in Sports” poster from 1982, when under Fred’s stewardship, the Sun Sentinel won the Associated Press Sports Editors contest for best daily sports section in the country.
In the spring of 1982, I received an offer from a paper in Virginia. Fred matched it, and so I decided to stay in Fort Lauderdale. Six months later, I received an offer to join IBM’s communications team. This time Fred told me to go, that it was my time to move on, that IBM was a great company and that it was the right career move for me and my young family.
Although I never regretted the move, sports blood still pulses through my veins, thanks in large part to Fred.
Fred Turner was not only my boss and mentor, but a good friend as well. The sun isn’t quite as bright at the Sun Sentinel today. Safe home, Fred.