Ken Turner, a native of Greer, South Carolina, (make that “Apalache”) was named the Grand Ole Gospel Reunion “Living Legend” for 2010 by Charlie Waller during the 23rd Grand Ole Gospel Reunion at the Hyatt Regency in Greenville, Saturday, August 21st, 2010. This is an annual award presented to only one deserving individual.
Turner sang on stage at the Grand Ole Gospel Reunion both Friday and Saturday nights and was surprised when Charley Waller called him to the stage and presented him with the “Living Legend” award. The fun loving entertainer known both for his musical and vocal talents and for his impersonations and humorous antics on stage was almost speechless, maybe for the first time in his life, as he expressed his appreciation for the Grand Ole Gospel Reunion recognizing and honoring his many years of presenting the Gospel in song.
Turner was inducted into the South Carolina Gospel Music Association’s Hall of Fame last year.
Ken’s father gave him a guitar when he was a boy and he said he sat on the front porch at night playing with the few chords he knew and singing.
A cousin who remembers Ken in his youth recalls that he was an entertainer of other children at an early age. He had a natural God-given talent that he delighted in sharing with his audiences.
His professional singing career began in 1960 when he joined the Palmetto State Quartet. In 1968 he moved to the Dixie Echoes and sang with them until he joined the famous Blackwood Brothers Quartet as bass singer in 1971. He sang with the Blackwoods much of three decades. He ministered in 52 countries while traveling with the Blackwoods.
Ken appeared on several television programs with Dinah Shore, Barbara Mandrell and the cast of Hee Haw.
Ken Turner came off the road and began a personal ministry with his wife after 2000. They helped build a school in the Dominican Republic and during one three-year period, he made 60 trips to churches in the Caribbean Islands carrying Bibles, critical necessities, medicine and toys for children. They currently reside in Rock Hill, South Carolina, but his memories of growing up in the Greer area are close to his heart.
The Times Examiner and the South Carolina Gospel Music Association salute Ken Turner, a true Living Legend and one of us.