Remembering a Great Friend: The Phone Not Ringing This Time Isn’t a Good Thing

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September 20 2021 05:00 am

FAYETTEVILLE — We all get tired of our phone ringing or beeping all day with calls and messages, but it isn’t always a good thing when it doesn’t ring.

One of the best persons in this world, Richard Turbeville, passed away on Monday, June 14. He had gone into the hospital the previous Thursday for what was supposed to be an out-patient surgery. He had been diagnosed with gall bladder cancer. The surgery that Thursday was to see if it was malignant or not.

According to Robert Turbeville, his brother, and another good friend of mine and former co-worker at two different jobs, the doctor had told the family the surgery went well. But as Richard was getting dressed he collapsed and never regained consciousness.

Richard has been a dear friend since the early 1990’s. He was a very successful attorney in Little Rock and had a heart as big as the state of Texas.

He was an avid Razorback and New York Yankees fan. He would call me anywhere from once to countless times a day. He knew what he was talking about. Very sharp fan who followed recruiting very closely and had a very good feel for how well the Razorbacks were doing.

The Wednesday before his surgery he called me a few times. We talked about the Hogs and Yankees and he was wanting New York to trade for a center fielder. He was excited about the possibility of Dowell Loggains coming home to coach the tight ends for the Hogs.

I told Richard the same thing I told Pat Gazzola and others I am close with that I wouldn’t call him after the surgery. I told him just call or text me how it went because I knew he would be getting a lot of calls and I didn’t want to burden him with yet another call.

But then I got no messages on Thursday night, Friday and Saturday. I became concerned, but still held off on calling him. When Arkansas lost on Sunday to North Carolina State and Richard didn’t call I then suspected something had happened. Richard was a great person, but he got fired up when the Hogs lost. When Robert worked with me we would be in the press box and it wasn’t unusual when the Hogs lost for Richard to call us immediately even though he knew we couldn’t answer because we had to interview coaches and players. Robert and I laughed when the phone started ringing and if he didn’t answer then Richard would call me. That was Richard being Richard.

Then early Monday afternoon Robert called me. When I first looked at the phone I saw Turbeville and thought it was Richard, but then I saw it was Robert. I answered the phone by asking is Richard OK? Robert told me Richard had passed away two hours ago. That was like a kick in the groin.

Richard was someone I could talk to 20 times a day and never get tired of it. We agreed on most things and disagreed on a few others, but it didn’t matter. Richard was as hard-headed as I am so it was a perfect situation.

Little did I know the last phone call I got from Richard on that Wednesday would be the last time I talked to him. Tomorrow will be two weeks since I talked to him. It saddens me tremendously to know I will never get to talk to Richard again.

He knew he had cancer, but that wasn’t stopping him from making plans for stuff. He was excited the Hogs were going to play Texas. He even told me his plans tor a political run in the near future.

Richard did so many favors for me I couldn’t list them all here. As I said earlier the guy had a heart as big as Texas. Not only was Richard a very good attorney and sport’s fan with a wealth of knowledge, he was just a very good person as well.

We got to hang out together when he came to Orlando for Arkansas’ bowl game against Wisconsin. He had plans to go to the Notre Dame game last year before it was postponed. He was excited thinking the Razorbacks would beat Texas this fall.

I suspect that Richard, Steve Edwards, Pat Gazzola and John Sharp will be looking down on the Razorbacks this season and Heaven will hear a very loud Hog call several times. While they will be calling the Hogs in Heaven, what I would give to look at the phone and it be Richard calling me.

If you have a friend or family member call you tell them you love them and enjoy the call no matter how busy you are at the time. You never know when it might be the last call you ever get from them.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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