By Mark Brasfield
A Jonesboro native is finding a home in Trumann as the city's interim Parks and Recreation Department director.
Sharron Turman, a Nettleton High School grad and Arkansas State University alumni, takes over the position after being involved in the Jonesboro softball program since the 1970s.
"The people have been so nice to me here, and of course they are in Jonesboro too," Turman said. "I lived at Jonesboro all of my life and if I need something there I could pick up the phone and call them. Here I'm not real comfortable yet and I'm getting to know the community. But, anyone I've asked to do anything for me or help me, they've been really receptive and done it for me."
Turman has always been involved in the Jonesboro Softball Association in one form or the other. She was a board member there for eight years.
"I've been associated with softball since the early `70s, playing in some form or fashion," Turman said. "I actually formed the first girls softball team in Jonesboro. In 1979 we started out with two girls 13-15 year-old softball teams and last year they enrolled 57 teams. The girls now that I had coached by then actually have daughters that are playing now."
"I watched that program grow and that complex grow and that's what I anticipate this one to do," she added.
Turman was a treasurer of the JSA, which owns the Jonesboro Sports Complex. Her duties included running the concession stand, ordering the products, ect.
After earning a degree in early childhood, she taught kindergarten at Nettleton for 15 years, but had to chose one day between teaching or helping her husband of 34 years, Garry, in the family trophy business.
"It got to the point that I was teaching all day and then I would help him out all night long," she said. "It got to be too much and I started having migraine headaches. So, the doctor said, 'you either need to teach or you need to help your husband.' I opted out, took sick leave for a year and decided not to go back to teaching. At that point we opened a T-shirt shop and then I got a monogram machine. We still own an monogram shop and we do screen printing and monogramming."
She played softball and basketball in high school, but didn't play a sport for eight years afterwards. She got back on the diamond, playing for a Jonesboro team and continues to play the sport on the Senior Olympic team, which will participate in a national tournament in September. Her team was also in the national tournament two years ago in Orlando, Fla.
Turman and her husband also sponsored a 12-year-old girls softball team, the Turman Monogram Shop Tigers, who competed for a national title.
Turman lettered in softball in high school, and once earned M.V.P. of a softball tournament in Memphis after pitching seven games in a row.
"They gave me the most valuable trophy for endurance I guess," she said jokingly.
She has obviously mastered softball, now she will try to do the same with a new sport to Trumann- soccer.
Turman said she doesn't know much about the sport, but she's eager to learn. The new league, which begins this fall and continues during the spring, allows children 10 and under to learn the game.
"I learn stuff new everyday," Turman said. "Soccer is kind of intriguing me because it's something new I have to learn just like everyone else will. I love the sport of softball, and when it first started in Jonesboro we even gave clinics. And, we probably will give clinics here because I'll have time to do it."
She has a son, Eric Turman, and a daughter Tammy Copeland along with three grandchildren Tosha Copeland, and Jas and Kaycee Turman.
"I wasn't on the Jonesboro Softball Board this summer so I really got to sit down and watch my granddaughter play," Sharron said. "Up until then, being on the softball board, I'd sit down to watch a game and the Coke machine would breakdown or I'd have to go umpire a game because an umpire didn't show up. I was just so involved that I couldn't really enjoy watching her play her game."
Turman said she is eager to get athletes signed up for the leagues the complex will host this fall.
"That's what keeps me young, staying involved in this sport," she said. "A lot of people say, 'you still play softball.' They can't believe it. But, I think that is probably what keeps me going-staying involved with kids."
Her parents, Vera (Perry) and J.T. Roberson were born and raised just north of Trumann. Her father attended Trumann High School, where he played football. He also drove a taxi in Trumann in the early 1940s. He later moved to Nettleton and opened a grocery store and service station.. Sharron was born and raised in Nettleton before later teaching at the school.
"I am loving Trumann," she said. "It is a small town as I remember Nettleton being at one time."