Fort Wayne loses jazz radio legend Leah Turkow

| June 20, 2014

FORT WAYNE—The Summit City lost a legendary broadcast figure and one of the area’s biggest supporters of jazz on the radio.

Widely acclaimed radio show host Leah S. Tourkow crossed over June 16 at her residence.

She was 91.

Born in Fort Wayne, Turkow was the daughter of Jacob Schwartz and Esther Kretzman Schwartz.

A member of B’nai Jacob Synagogue, she was on the Board of Directors of Hospitality House International. Additionally, Turkow was very active in the community serving on the Board of Directors and helping to found WBNI public radio, serving on the Board of Directors of the Three Rivers Festival for 25 years, She also was pas president of the Board of Directors of B’Nai Jacob Synagogue, and president of the Fort Wayne Jazz Club for many years.

While she was active and well known in the spiritual community, most of Fort Wayne knew Turkow as a jazz host on WBNI (later WBOI) public radio and talk show host on W.GL radio for many years. Although she had a personal love for the music, her radio duties also took on the mantle of service as she put together shows for returning World War II and Korean War veterans. She also had a jazz radio show on the VA radio station.

She was past president of the Jewish War Veterans Auxiliary and was an incessant writer of letters to the editor.

She was survived by son, Josh (Donna) Tourkow of Fort Wayne; daughter, Deborah Sheray of Fort Wayne; six grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by husband, Frederick; son, Ralph; and brother, Ralph Schwartz. Funeral service was June 19, 2014, at Jewish Cemetery, Old Decatur Road, with Rabbi Mitchell Kornspan officiating. Preferred memorials may be made to B’Nai Jacob Synagogue. Arrangements were by Klaehn, Fahl & Melton Funeral Home, Winchester Road Chapel.

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Category: Entertainment, Local, Obituaries, Spiritual Matters

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Frost Illustrated is Fort Wayne's oldest weekly newspaper. Your Independent Voice in the Community, featuring news & views of African Americans since 1968.

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