Will Rogers Memorial Foundation elects new officers
Staff Reports Claremore Progress
Steve Turnbo, Tulsa public relations executive with a long-time involvement with the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore, has been elected Will Rogers Memorial Foundation president.
His connection to the Memorial dates to 1998 when he was named to the Memorial Commission, a gubernatorial appointment. He was vice chairman and served until resigning in 2013 to take an appointment on another state board. He has been on the Foundation board since its formation.
Other new leaders are Beth Bovaird, vice president; Jody Jill McIntyre, secretary; and Carl S. Milam, treasurer. Bovaird and McIntyre live in Tulsa, Milam lives in Oklahoma City.
All have powerful connections to Will Rogers and the Memorial Museum and all were involved in The Event, a successful fall 2013 fund-raising.
In addition to new leaders, Larry Gatlin, singer-songwriter who was cast as Will Rogers in The Will Rogers Follies: A Life in Revue, has accepted an appointment to the Foundation board.
Turnbo began his career as sports information director at The University of Tulsa, where he graduated with a bachelor of science degree. He joined a prominent Oklahoma advertising agency, a career which evolved into forming his own public relations firm in 1981. He later merged with Schnake and Associates, Inc., forming Schnake Turnbo Frank, where he now serves as chairman emeritus.
A leader in public relations, business and civic affairs throughout Oklahoma, he has long been involved in Rogers County. He worked with the agency promoting the Tulsa Port of Catoosa and the group successful in purchasing the then city-owned Claremore hospital.
His most recent civic involvement include TU trustee, and Chairman of Oklahoma Academy, Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce, and Metropolitan Tulsa Chamber of Commerce. He is on the board of Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice and a member of the LIFE Senior Service advisory board.
Bovaird is a public relations/marketing consultant, with ties to both Tulsa and Claremore. She earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Tulane, and master's degree in Counseling and Human Service from Texas A&M.
Her involvement with the Memorial Foundation stems from her passion for ensuring the legacy of Will Rogers and her commitment to honor her mother, Gwen Collins Cloninger, who was raised in Claremore.
As a child, Bovaird visited relatives in Claremore, a trip which often included a visit to the Will Rogers Memorial. Her grandfather, James Franks Collins, and her uncle Raymond “Scotty” Collins, operated Collins Drug Store in Claremore from the early 1900s until the late 1960s. Mr. Collins was one of the first registered pharmacists in Indian Territory. Will Rogers was a regular visitor to the drug story and received his mail there many years.
Jody McIntyre grew up in Tulsa, but moved to Los Angeles in 1974, where she started her television career.
As a Tulsa native and daughter of media mogul and educator Ken Greenwood, she was immersed in Will Rogers' lore from an early age.
He produced seven episodes of Cowboys in Tallgrass, including one on Will Rogers, the Museum and Birthplace Ranch.
She has been a natural “go-to” person for the Will Rogers Memorial Museum in helping promote Museum activities on KTUL Good Day Tulsa.
McIntyre worked more than 25 years in network television, including The Jeffersons and other shows at Norman Lear's company, then for NBC.
The mother of twins, she returned to Tulsa in 2004 “so they could grow up in the real world.” She has been widowed since 2007.
Her work in executive production of Good Day Tulsa has included numerous segments focusing on the Will Rogers Museums and special events and personalities involving the Claremore Museum and Birthplace Ranch.
Milam, an Oklahoma City businessman with varied interests, is a descendant of Will Rogers. His father, Tom, was the son of Maud Irene McSpadden, daughter of Will's sister, Sallie.
He owns Will Rogers Theatre in Oklahoma City, an Oklahoma landmark built in 1946 and named for Will Rogers.
From that space, decorated with photos and drawings of Will Rogers, he runs Western Concepts Restaurant Group. Included in the group is Sushi Neko, The Lobby Cafe', Musashi's, Coach House, and the Theatre.
The Foundation is in discussion with the Will Rogers Memorial Commission to develop a public/private partnership to operate, maintain and sustain the Memorial Museum in Claremore and the Birthplace Ranch near Oologah.
The goal is to build support locally, regionally and nationally to enhance Museum programming and provide capital improvements.