When we think of Pulitzer Prize winners, we think of John F. Kennedy, Harper Lee or Ernest Hemingway.
It’s not many communities that can boast a Pulitzer Prize winner in their midst, but Gardner was one of them.
Bettie Turner, Gardner resident who passed away this week, was the recipient of The Pulitzer for her part in the coverage of The Hyatt Regency disaster in the 1980’s.
Hungarian born Joseph Pulitzer, an innovative newspaper publisher, established the Pulitzer to encourage excellence in journalism. Winners include papers such as The Washington Post, The New Yorker, The Chicago Tribune, and The Kansas City Star.
Turner was one of the journalists honored for the coverage of the 1981 disaster Hyatt Regency collapse. It was caused by failure of the connections between the fourth-story box beams and the hanger rods supporting the second-story and fourth-story walkways. There were 114 fatalities.
Locally, Turner was known for her kind spirit, community service and historic knowledge. She did a stint with The Gardner News and the Johnson County Best of Times.
Turner was always humble about her Pulitzer. Unless asked directly, she rarely discussed it. She would quietly enter The Gardner News office, hand over a typewritten copy, and ask if we had a place for a “little piece” she wrote.
A Pulitzer prize winner – got that? a Pulitzer Prize Winner – she didn’t puff up with pride and ego. She was always polite, intelligent, self-effacing and busy trying to make the world a little better.
We believe she did.