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‘Golden Bachelor’ speaks about growing up in Hannibal



ABC's "The Golden Bachelor" stars Gerry Turner.

Brian Bowen Smith/ABC



MARY LOU MONTGOMERY


Gerry Turner’s paternal grandparents, Everette and Delphi Turner, lived at 512 Walnut St., Hannibal’s South Side, in the late 1950s, and his maternal grandparents, Charles R. and Lagora Brannen Mudd, lived at 3100 James Road.


Those are solid boyhood memories for Turner, now 72, who is perhaps best known these days as “The Golden Bachelor,” on a reality show of the same name, airing Thursday nights on the ABC network.


In a Zoom interview on Monday, Turner talked about his formative years in Hannibal.


“My dad’s dad, my paternal grandfather, lived there, I remember going back (to Hannibal) for visits. He lived on Walnut Street; it was a short hill and he was about half way up. I remember going to a certain ice cream shop at the edge of town, I don’t remember the name. That was always a big treat. I remember several things,” about Hannibal, Turner said.


While he remembers the town and his grandparents, he doesn’t remember friends he might have known as a young child. He attended Blessed Sacrament School, located at 2101 Broadway. “I think it was about the second grade or maybe half way through the third grade that I left Hannibal,” he said, when his family relocated to Ottawa, Iowa.  "I’m sorry to say I don’t have memories of friends from that far back.”


Currently, Turner’s focus is on the future. While two episodes of “The Golden Bachelor” have yet to air, filming is complete. He won’t let the final outcome slip.


What he will say is, “The journey came to a very positive and exciting conclusion for me.”


What would his late wife, Toni, who died in 2017, have thought about his final choice?


“I really feel like my wife would have steered me in the direction that I ultimately went. I think she would be very happy with my final choice. I can also share that both of my daughters felt the same way. So I can see that their mom’s influence transferred down to the daughters, and they had the same insight as my wife.”


One of the women featured on the show, Joan, had to leave in order to care for her daughter, who was suffering from postpartum depression. If Joan had remained on the show, would that have affected the show’s final outcome?


“Fate works in mysterious ways, sometimes,” Turner said. “Hypothetical questions like that I have a hard time answering. I just don’t know. The way that things did resolve, and her not coming back, is really the way it should have been. I think Joan will have many opportunities in front of her, and it worked out the best way for both of us.”


While most of the episodes were filmed in Los Angeles, the show did take Turner to some interesting locations.


“The last couple of episodes are filmed in Costa Rica.” he said, “so that changes the backdrop of the show, very exciting, very scenic.”


The show also took him to the hometowns of the three final contestants: Benton, Wash., Minneapolis, Minn., and Shrewsbury, N.J. “Moving west to east across the United States,” he noted.


In the future, would he bring the woman - his final choice - to his hometown of Hannibal?


“That would be a great trip. Show her were I began, some of the early neighborhoods I lived in. It might be great fun.”


While in Hannibal in the 1950s, his family lived on Magnolia Street, near the old St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, and at 3200 James Road, near his maternal grandparents.


Is Turner happy with his decision to participate in “The Golden Bachelor” series?

“There were difficult moments,” he said, “the rose ceremonies were extremely stressful and difficult.”


That said, he’s glad he had the experience. “I’m not sure I’ll get back to my regular life for quite some time. Really, I’m not in a hurry to get there. I don’t feel like I want to go backwards in the book.”


Turner’s father, Wayne, 92, who was a baker for Zimmerman’s Bakery when the family lived in Hannibal during the 1950s, is enjoying the Golden Bachelor experience as well.


"Yes he really is,” Gerry Turner said. “He tells me he (and his wife Peggy have) watch parties every Thursday, (when the episodes air) and the neighbors bring in food. I think he’s more interested in the food that they bring in, than the show. God bless him, he is enjoying all of this.”


The final episode of “The Golden Bachelor” airs on Thursday, Nov. 30.


Mary Lou Montgomery retired as editor of the Hannibal Courier-Post on the last day of December, 2014. She now contributes freelance stories for the newspaper.

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