05 27 2015

No Longer At Chronicle But Still Going Strong

For nearly 40 years, people walking into the Wills Point Chronicle office have been able to find Alberta Turner — more commonly known as Bert — dutifully working.
She has seen a lot of changes over that time, but one thing never changed about her, and that was her love for community involvement.
Her daughter, Bobbi Byford, recently spoke about that quality in the woman many people in the area came to know as “the Lois Lane of Wills Point.”
“I think it was her love and her interest in people, and just what was going on in her surroundings,” Byford said. “She cares about the community and people’s lives.”
Turner is being honored on Monday with a special reception at the Wills Point Community center from 4-6 p.m. The public is invited to attend.
Turner reflected on her early days at the Chronicle office.
“When I first started, we did all of our subscriptions on an Addressograph,” she recalled. “This metal with the address on it went into a tray, and you slid the paper through and the machine put the address on them.”
She also talked about one of the biggest changes in operations, the acquisition of a community printing press.
“We had the little press in the smaller room. Everybody worked back there when it was paper day,” she said.
“(Former owner) Tom Campbell passed away and soon after, we got the new press. I remember we were all back there, and they were showing us all how it was to be run,” Turner recalled. “Right after that, we got the inserter.”
John Buzzetta, publisher of the newspaper, worked for 16 years with Turner and recalls how dedicated and reliable she always was.
“I don’t remember a single time, when she was anything, but very pleasant and very professional with all the customers and all other employees,” Buzzetta said. “She will be truly missed,” he added.
Her involvement in the Wills Point community, though, started long before she became a newspaper employee.
“Being the oldest child of four, my mom was the constant as my dad worked away during the week,” Byford said. “She was our go-to parent who did it all.”
The family’s move to Wills Point turned out to be a very good one, Byford added.
“She found it to fit our family’s activities very well. She got involved in everything we were involved in, from Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts to school activities, pageants to programs to ballgames and livestock shows,” she noted.
“There wasn’t much she wasn’t involved in. Her love of small community showed in her involvement through her family, and it showed in each one of us,” Byford explained.
When Bobbi and sons Mark, Kyle and Kurt became adults, Turner continued devoting her time to the community.
Turner said she has loved visiting with customers who stopped by the newspaper office.
“We had customers who came in, and maybe I only saw them once a year when they stopped in to pay for their paper subscription, but I always enjoyed asking how they were and visiting for a few minutes,” she said.
“I think a lot of them liked to walk in and see a face they knew as well,” she added.
Betsy McNeill, former co-owner of the paper, stated, “When Bert Turner worked for Glenn and me at the newspaper office, we depended on her for a lot of things, but one thing stands out in my memory. If we wanted to know who someone was, we could ask Bert because she knew everybody in Wills Point and who their kinfolks were. That was a valuable asset to a newspaper staff.”
McNeill continued, “Bert was great to work with. She did her job well and without complaint. She pitched in wherever she was needed. She worked as receptionist mainly, but she would move to production anytime we needed her in the back. She did a great job there because she could stuff flyers into the newspapers faster than anyone else. She took her job seriously and always did her best to be accurate in everything she did, from making a bank deposit to preparing copy for a customer’s classified advertisement. I know that she will be missed after her retirement.”
One of her more recent community service endeavors has been with the Pilot Club of Wills Point and its ongoing effort to raise money for LifeLine personal emergency alert devices.
Her late husband, Bob, was one who used the device.
“We used that lots of times. Older people who live alone should really have one of them,” Turner said.
Reading and going out with friends to play Bingo are two favorite leisure activities these days, she said.
As for Monday’s reception, she stated, “I hope to see lots of people, but I will be there.”

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