Hudson Orville Turner was born on February 8, 1900, on a farm six miles west of Portis in Lawrence Township, Osborne County, Kansas. The son of Hudson and Mary (Caldwell) Turner, he attended the Portis schools. During his senior year in 1919-1920 Hud was the captain/coach of the high school basketball team, which earned a trip to the state tournament. After graduation he was a student at Ashland (Ohio) College for a term and Kansas Wesleyan University at Salina for another. At a track meet for Ashland Hud scored 27 points, finishing first in the 100-yard dash, 200-yard dash, standing broad jump, running broad jump, standing high jump, running high jump, and pole vault. From 1920 to 1925 Hud was a regular on the legendary town basketball team, the Portis Dynamos, and was also a formidable horseshoe pitcher.
After college Hud worked in sales. On June 28, 1931, he married Nina Marie Tetlow at her parents’ home north of Downs. Nina, the daughter of Fred and Katherine (Hull) Tetlow, was born on the family farm in Lincoln Township, Smith County, Kansas, on July 17, 1908. She graduated from Downs High School and the Kansas State Teacher’s College at Emporia. Nina then taught school at Solomon, Kansas, and at the Downs Grade School in 1927-1931. She and Hud had two daughters, Jeanette and Marjorie.
After their marriage Hud worked for eight years as a car salesman in Smith Center and managed the five farms owned by the Turner family. In 1943 he was appointed postmaster at Portis and served for the next 27 years. Hud became vice-president and a director of the Portis State Bank. During World War II Nina served as a substitute teacher in the Portis schools and in the Portis post office as a clerk. She also worked at the J. C. Penney Store in Smith Center. Later Nina was the assistant cashier at the Portis State Bank and, like her husband, served on the board of directors.
For 38 years Nina’s weekly columns as the Portis news correspondent for several area newspapers allowed thousands of people to keep track of what went on in the Portis region. Hud served on the Portis City Council and was instrumental in promoting the Kirwin Dam and Irrigation District.
Both Hud and Nina were involved in the Order of the Eastern Star. Hud was also a member of the Masonic Lodge while Nina was active in Delta Kappa Gamma. At a time in their lives long past when most people would have settled into quiet retirement, both Hud and Nina remained busy with civic and social activities. Nina served on the Portis Pride Committee, the Portis Reunion Committee, and in the Portis Christian Women’s Association. Hud was a cooperative observer for the National Weather Service from 1972 until his death. A passionate angler and bowler, he was state singles bowling champion in 1974 and again in 1980. In 1982 he was team captain of the Portis Dynamos (named after the old basketball team), which won the state seniors team bowling tournament. And at the age of 81 Hud took up public singing, performing in churches, senior centers and other public forums.
Hud and Nina Turner were active members in the North Central Kansas Tourism Council, promoting economic development through tourism across the region. To this end they backed the establishment of a memorial in Portis to Melvin Millar, native son and animator of Porky Pig, in 1992.
Hud Turner passed away in 1998, followed by Nina in 2001. Their decades of achievements and community service earned them many friends and admirers. Hud and Nina will be forever held with the highest esteem and respect among their fellow citizens, who honored them in 1996 with an induction into the Osborne County Hall of Fame.