The longtime former Voice of the Illini has a special birthday coming up this weekend. On Saturday, Jim Turpin turns 90 years young.
Turpin planned to attend Thursday’s Illinois-Ohio State men’s basketball game. He is having a celebration brunch Saturday in Champaign with his family.
“We’re going to get together and reminisce a little bit,” Jim said.
Good timing for the Turpin family. With COVID-19 cases falling, gatherings are again doable.
Turpin has been careful during the pandemic, wearing a mask and following safety guidelines.
“I do all of those things,” he said.
Turpin has three kids: daughter Chris (married to Jim), son Dan (Suzanne) and daughter Jayne (Joe). He has seven grandkids (Carly, Kendall, Shayne, Jenna, Quinn, Jordan and Trey) and two great-grandkids (Luka and Ozzy).
Turpin continues to live in the same Champaign home he and his late wife, Louise, moved to in the 1980s. Louise passed away in September 2019.
In 2017, Turpin retired after a long stint as host of WDWS’ “Penny For Your Thoughts.” His last day on the air was Dec. 22, 2017.
Turpin keeps busy these days reading, watching sports and visiting friends. He follows the Illinois men’s basketball team closely.
“You can ask me about any team in the country, because I watch a thousand games,” he said. “I really enjoy that. It doesn’t matter who’s playing; I like basketball so much.”
Turpin called the Flyin’ Illini games in 1988-89 all the way to the Final Four. He likes coach Brad Underwood’s current squad.
“I think it’s a very good basketball team,” he said.
Turpin has become a regular at Champaign’s Original Pancake House.
“We go there for breakfast, meet some friends, lie to one another and get the day started off right,” he said. “It’s about five minutes from my house. It’s a home away from home.”
On Tuesday, he bumped into longtime former WCIA weather anchor Judy Fraser, whom he hadn’t seen in years. Small world in C-U.
Turpin was born and raised in Olney, which is famous for its white squirrels.
Bob Asmussen can be reached at 217-393-8248 or by email at email@example.com.