The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Hawkeye Gold to Golden Bachelor: Gerry Turner recalls time at UI

UI alum Gerry Turner shares tales about growing up in Iowa and the lessons he learned while filming the Golden Bachelor.
ABC Press Kit

Golden Bachelor Gerry Turner has been sporting the University of Iowa’s Black and Gold for over 50 years.

In an interview with The Daily Iowan, Turner talked about growing up in Iowa and attending the UI, as well as takeaways as being the first-ever Golden Bachelor, which is a spin-off of the Bachelor dating show series on the ABC Network.

You can watch Turner in the final episodes of the season as he makes this Thursday in the fantasy suite episode and the finale airing on Nov. 30.

The Daily Iowan: The show talks about you living in Indiana, but I read you grew up in Iowa and spent much of your life there. Can you tell me a bit about that?

Gerry Turner: I went to high school in Ottumwa, Iowa. I went to Catholic high school, Walsh; the spirit lives. I enjoyed my high school tremendously. My high school years were great fun. I played on the basketball team, I was a debater, and so forth. After college, I moved to Davenport, Iowa, and I lived in Davenport from the time I was 23 or 24 years old to when I was 65 years old.

And you’re a Hawkeye. Could you share about your time at Iowa?

I’m sorry to say I didn’t graduate. I got to the end and decided the lure of marrying my wife Tony was stronger than staying on campus. I did make up for that making sure both my daughters are Iowa graduates. We’re all in for Iowa every Saturday for football and every other day.

What was your major?

It was liberal arts. I spent a number of classes in the writing labs, at that time it was early, and I learned a lot of good lessons there. I enjoy writing and it served me well in my career where I did a lot of commercial writing.

Do you think Iowa can beat the odds and win the Big Ten Championship this year?

I pray every day. I was at the Championship game two years ago against Michigan, and I just hope it’s not the same.

The “Women Tell All” episodes of The Bachelor are usually contentious and the contestants are mad at the Bachelor and each other. Your episode seemed to be full of mutual respect and the women all getting along. Why do you think it was such a different experience for everyone?

First of all, I’m glad that message came through because it’s genuine. The reason I think it’s there is because of the maturity of the women who were involved in the show. When you get to our age, some of the petty differences that happen become so unimportant.

I was really impressed by how supportive and helpful the women were of each other and how they were elegant and poised. It completely went against that nature if they were to have fallen into some of the habits of the former bachelorettes.

What’s the biggest lesson you learned from the experience?

The biggest lesson is to remain open to all possibilities. As I talked to the women on the show and tried to give them my undivided attention, I constantly reminded myself to not prejudge anyone — to not disqualify anyone until the very last minute until I had to make those choices because I was always learning, and I was always getting inputs on all of their personalities and points of view. Stay open at all times.

How have your family and friends reacted as they’ve watched the show?

That’s a mixed bag. My family has been 100 percent supportive. They’ve been helpful in making decisions and so forth. But I have a group of pickleball friends that have absolutely refused to allow me to have any ego on this. I see them several times a week and they make fun of me relentlessly and it keeps me grounded.

If you could talk to your college-age self, what advice would you give him?

I would tell him to slow down. I would tell him to enjoy the world around him rather than just focus on a career and the learning process. I look back on a lot of those years early on and I spent entirely too much focus and energy on a career. I needed to broaden my horizons a little bit.

What’s the biggest message you hope America receives from watching your show?

The message I hope they received is that we are not the invisible generation. We have wisdom to offer and we’re more than happy to share it with anyone who will ask. I hope they see a lot of joy.

Would you do it all over again?

I absolutely would. Someone asked me recently if I recommend it to one of my kids if they were single to go through this process, and yes, I absolutely would. It was a wonderful productive experience.

RELATED: Former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay to speak at IMU

What does it mean to you that not only the university, but the state of Iowa is backing you while you go through this?

It’s pretty great to know that I have that following back home. I hear from a lot of my friends back there and it’s nice to know that the message has wide appeal.

Is there anything else you would want our generation and the young students at Iowa to know either about you or any other advice that you have?

Obviously, you’re a very intelligent group of people. I’m not sure that I could give you advice, but if there is one thing I could say to you: Try to remain open to all possibilities. As you through life or in your college years, don’t prejudge where you want to go, but listen to options, and once you finally have to make a decision commit to it wholeheartedly and don’t look back.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Grace Olson
Grace Olson, News Reporter
Grace Olson is a first-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communications. She's a news reporter for The DI, reporting primarily on local government. She is from Denver, Colorado and worked on the pirnt publication from her high school prior to her work in college.