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More World War II remembrances — the Turkovich family

Buzzings from BeeLines

March 14, 2012
By Marybelle Beigh - Current Westfield Historian (westfieldhistorian@fairpoint.net) , Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

Do you remember the large World War II Honor Roll sign that was displayed in Moore Park from 1942 through 1945?

The Westfield Republican of Sept. 23, 1942, page 1, center top, shows a photo headlined, "Westfield Unveils Honor Roll" under which the caption reads, "Monday evening, Sept. 21, in Moore Park at 8:00 o'clock, after a fitting ceremony, Miss Helen Turkovich, who has four brothers surviving in the armed forces of the country, unveiled Westfield's Honor Roll." This photo was reprinted in the New Year 1943 paper among "Pictorial Review of 1942" of the most important happenings in Westfield the preceding year. Among the Turkovich brothers who survived as veterans of World War II was Peter Turkovich.

Recently, the Westfield Historian was given a large number of newspaper clippings mostly from the years of 1973 to 1975 and 1983. Among the clippings were three in which Peter Turkovich was the "main character." One clipping was an obituary, from the Westfield Republican of Jan. 22, 1975, stating Turkovich was born in 1915 and was 59 years old at his death. He had been a resident of Westfield most of his life, "formerly was employed by Welch Foods and the Westfield Post Office ... Mr. Turkovich was a veteran of World War II ... surviving are three sisters ... Mrs. Helen (Turkovich) Mosher."

Article Photos

Submitted photo
Peter Turkovich was one of many Westfield residents honored by a large World War II Honor Roll sign displayed in Moore Park from 1942 to 1945.

A second clipping, from the May 22, 1974 Republican, headlined, "Youngsters Care About Friends" and told about how "Jason and Jay Beers, age four and three, and the sons of Mr. and Mrs. David Beers of 61 Union Street, have learned at an early age to 'give and care.' The youngsters have a friend, Pete Turkovich, whose home in that vicinity was severely damaged by fire last week. Pete, a war hero and veteran, made a point each day to stop and talk with Jason and Jay, rarely failing to have a bit of candy for them on a return trip from town. When the boys heard of Pete's bad fortune they went out and took up a collection from nearby neighbors which they gave to their friend. This story came to the newspaper through a close friend of those involved. Jason and Jay's parents consented to the story being told thinking others might also reach out to those in need."

The third clipping, published Jan. 9, 1974, on page 3 of the Republican may bring back memories of two former WACS coaches - Al Tripp, who was also a teammate of Turkovich, and Alton Douds, their couch. Tripp wrote to his teammate in verse as follows:

Tribute to a Soldier-Athlete

Fact Box

Marybelle Beigh is the current Public Historian for the Town and Village of Westfield. Her office is located at 3 East Main Street in Westfield, N.Y, 14787 - inside Parkview Ice Cream Parlor. Her scheduled office hours are Monday through Friday 9 to 11 a.m.; other hours by appointment.

Beigh can be reached at

westfieldhistorian@fairpoint.net or by calling 326-2457 (office), 326-6171 (home) or 397-9254 (cell).

By Al Tripp

He was a stellar athlete

on the teams of Alton Douds

His years were bright and flashing

like the lightning in the clouds

He played the game of football

in a smashing, bruising style

At the end of every scrimmage

he rose smiling from the pile

He was a natural leader

his actions took command

His was an all-out effort

no less could he demand

He learned the game of round ball

in the hallowed YM gym

Perfected high arch shooting

and rebounding off the rim

Here too he was a leader

he set a blazing trail

Hustle! Hustle! Hustle! You seldom saw him fail

From boyhood up to manhood

he was this solid kind

When you recall victory

it brings him back to mind

Then came a fateful moment

the sneaking Jap attack

He traded in his gym bag

for an army sack

He learned to use a rifle, a pistol, and grenade

He was a solid soldier

rising quickly up in grade

He was among the first troops

to hit the foreign shores

There he fought the Nazis

like the Christian fought the Moors

'Gainst rifle fire and mortar

and the rest that makes war hell

He did his duty daily

he did his duty well

Now GI's have a saying

there's one with your name

To our soldier-athlete

that crippling bullet came

It ripped into his body

it took a mighty toll

No more high-arched shooting

or rebounding off the goal

For him the war was over

no more battle trial

And at the end of scrimmage

he rose smiling from the pile

He came back to Westfield

now proudly walks the streets

Living life with gusto

a smile for all he meets

Our nation has many heroes, who saved us from defeat

But none are any greater

than the guy we all call Pete

 
 

 

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