Matthew Gary Turner, 32, of Arkadelphia went home to be with the Lord on Saturday, October 6, 2012 following a car accident. Matt was born January, 8 1980 in Arkadelphia, AR. He was the first son of Lisa and the late Gary Turner. He attended Arkadelphia High School where he played football and baseball. Matt began his college career at University of Southern Mississippi before transferring to his hometown where he played quarterback for Ouachita Baptist University. He graduated with a degree in Mass Communications. Matt met the love of his life, Julee Bell in their hometown of Arkadelphia and began dating in September 2000. They were married January 13, 2007 at Third Street Baptist Church, where his father was a long time pastor. His dream of a family was fulfilled when his daughter, Preslee Bell was born November 29, 2011.
Matt started his media career by doing high school play-by-play, serving as an intern at Hootens Football Magazine and KATV Sports. He was hired by KNWA (NBC) in Northwest Arkansas in 2003. He first covered the Razorbacks and then was promoted to nightly news anchor in 2006 before moving to Little Rock to work as the nightly news anchor at Today’s THV in August of 2012 (CBS). Matt was voted best news anchor by several publications, was named to the Arkansas Business Journal's "40 Under 40" list for achievement in business, and won first place for a sports story by the Arkansas Society of Professional Journalists. He was considered a rising star in the television news business. He volunteered his time at numerous charities and had a heart for cancer research after losing his dad to cancer seven years ago. Matt always loved and protected his family and his greatest asset was his love for his daughter Preslee. He always put his family and friends ahead of himself and was constantly thinking ahead and planning on their behalf. Matt was proud of his hometown and never missed a chance to return home to visit family and friends. Matt was a man of integrity and had a strong faith in God. Matt and Julee were members of Cross Church in Fayetteville, AR.
He is survived by his wife Julee of Little Rock and his daughter Preslee. He is also survived by his mother Lisa Turner of Arkadelphia and brother Andy Turner (Chelsey) of Benton and his grandparents, Ray and Hilda Wingfield of Arkadelphia and E.T. Pruitt of Gurdon.
Visitation with the family is Tuesday, October 9, from 6-8 p.m. at Third Street Baptist Church in Arkadelphia. A Memorial service honoring Matt’s life will be Wednesday, October 10, at 1p.m. at Third Street Baptist Church. A private burial service for family will follow. In lieu of flowers a memorial fund has been set up at Summit Bank and Southern Bancorp for Julee and Preslee Turner.