Andrew Blair Turnbull (February 26, 1884 – October 17, 1960), was a businessman and American football executive. Turnbull founded and owned the Green Bay Press-Gazette and was the first president of the Green Bay Football Corporation (now called Green Bay Packers, Inc.), the non-profit organization that owns the Green Bay Packers. He served as publisher, general manager, and business manager of the Press-Gazette for 45 years. During the early years of the Green Bay Packers, Turnbull helped convert the team from a privately held franchise to a publicly-owned, non-profit corporation. He also helped the team through multiple financially challenging periods, which saw him identified as part of The Hungry Five, a group of early Packers supporters. Between 1923 and 1928, he served as the first president of the Green Bay Football Corporation and remained on the corporation's board of directors and executive committee until 1949. Turnbull died in 1960 and was elected to the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1977.
Andrew B. Turnbull
Turnbull circa the 1930s
|Born||February 26, 1884|
London, Ontario, Canada
|Died||October 17, 1960 (aged 76)|
|Known for||President, Green Bay Packers|
Andrew Blair Turnbull was born in London, Ontario, on February 26, 1884, to John and Janet (née Porteous) Turnbull; he was the youngest of four children. In 1887 the family moved to Windsor, Ontario, where Turnbull attended public school until the age of 15. In 1893 Turnbull's father, who was a train conductor, died from injuries sustained during a railroad accident.
In 1899 at the age of 15, Turnbull moved to the United States to take a job as an office boy for The Detroit News. After six years in Detroit, he moved to Bay City, Michigan and worked as an office manager for The Bay City Times. In 1907, he became the advertising manager for the Duluth News Tribune, but only worked there for one year. He moved on to the Saginaw Daily News, working as the advertising manager. In 1914 Turnbull became a United States citizen.
He moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin from Saginaw, Michigan in 1915 and formed the Green Bay Newspaper Company with John Kline and Victor Minahan. Turnbull had met Kline while working in Saginaw; together the three men purchased the Green Bay Gazette and the Green Bay Free Press, which at the time were competitors and both struggling. The three men merged the papers into the Green Bay Press-Gazette, an afternoon daily paper. In 1920, Turnbull and his associates again purchased and merged two competing papers—The Appleton Post and The Appleton Crescent—to form the Appleton Post-Crescent.
From 1915 to 1930 Turnbull was the business manager and treasurer of the Green Bay Newspaper Company. His business partner John Kline passed away in 1930; Turnbull took over his role as general manager. He would hold this position until 1953, while also serving as the executive vice president. In 1954, he became the president of the Green Bay Newspaper Company after Victor Minahan died. He decreased his day-to-day management of the company in 1950s and 1960s due to poor health, but retained his ownership shares until his death.
Turnbull was an early fan of the Green Bay Packers and was acquainted with its two founders, Curly Lambeau and George Whitney Calhoun (Calhoun worked as an editor for the Press-Gazette). His newspaper has also been recognized as an essential part of the early development of the team. Since the Packers were a small-town team, they relied on local businessmen and civic leaders for support. One of the first recorded interactions between Turnbull and the Packers came in 1922. The Packers were set to play a team from Duluth, Minnesota on Thanksgiving, however 12 straight hours of rain threatened to cancel it. If the game was cancelled, the Packers would have still had to pay the Duluth team, which without any tickets sales or other financing would have bankrupted the team. Lambeau, Calhoun, and other team leaders met in the Press-Gazette building to discuss what should be done. Turnbull happened to stop by the building and was quickly brought into the group to make a decision. Turnbull convinced the Packers to play the game, even though they lost a significant amount of money on it, by promising to rally local business leaders to support the team. Turnbull did just that, organizing a stock sale that raised $5,500 and converted the Packers into a publicly-owned, non-profit football team.
In 1923, Turnbull was elected to lead the new publicly-owned Green Bay Football Corporation as its first president. Turnbull served as president of the corporation until 1928 and was on the board of directors until 1949. His primary contribution as president was helping to keep the Packers in Green Bay during a time when the National Football League (NFL) was paring its member teams down to those located in large cities. Turnbull represented the Packers at NFL meetings and was appointed to a committee in 1926 to help rewrite the NFL's constitution and by-laws. He was so widely respected in the NFL that after resigning as president of the Packers, he was appointed to the NFL's executive committee.
Turnbull was active in many local civic institutions, including as the founder and first president of the Oneida Golf and Riding Club. He also served on the board of directors for two banks in the Green Bay area: the Peoples Trust & Savings Bank and the Bank of Green Bay. During World War I and World War II, he volunteered for various war efforts, including selling Liberty Bonds and organizing membership drives for the Red Cross.
Turnbull married Susan Boyle in 1908; they had two daughters: Catherine Beisel (née Turnbull) and Janet Schneiderman (née Turnbull). The former Ms. Boyle died on August 9, 1944. Turnbull married Jessie Whelan in 1949; Whelan died nine years later in 1958. After suffering from various ailments for the last part of his life, Turnbull suffered a heart attack at his home in Allouez, Wisconsin and died on October 17, 1960, at the age of 76.
Turnbull was a well-respected newspaper executive and is credited with establishing two successful newspapers that are still in distribution as of 2018. He was also widely respected for helping to lead the early development of the Green Bay Packers and the NFL. He was informally identified as part of The Hungry Five, a nickname given by Arch Ward, a writer for the Chicago Tribune, to five of the early Green Bay business leaders who supported the Packers. Multiple writers have identified Turnbull as a key figure in the early formation and continued success of the Packers. His contributions include the organization of the Green Bay Football Corporation, leading the first stock sale, and raising additional funds during periods of financial difficulties. He also provided leadership as the first president of the Corporation, especially when representing the Packers during NFL meetings and the drafting of the League's constitution and by-laws. In recognition of his leadership during the early years of the Packers, as well as his role as the first team president under the non-profit corporation structure, Turnbull was elected to the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1977.
Andrew Turnbull may refer to:
Andrew Turnbull (colonist) (1718–1792), early colonizer of Florida
Andrew Turnbull, Baron Turnbull (born 1945), head of the British Civil Service and Cabinet Secretary
Andrew Turnbull (rugby union) (born 1982), Scottish rugby union player
Andrew B. Turnbull (1884-1960), first president of the Green Bay Packers and newspaper owner
Drew Turnbull (1930–2012), Scottish rugby union and rugby league footballer of the 1940s and 1950sBob Forte
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The Hungry Five are the five Green Bay, Wisconsin area businessmen who were instrumental in keeping the Green Bay Packers franchise in operation during its early years. They raised funds, incorporated the team as a non-profit corporation, sold stock, established the Green Bay Packers Board of Directors and otherwise promoted the franchise.
The Hungry Five consisted of Curly Lambeau, attorney Andrew B. Turnbull, attorney Gerald Francis Clifford, Dr. W. Webber Kelly and Lee Joannes. Turnbull was the Packers' first president and publisher of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Joannes was the president for 17 years, helping guide the Packers through the Great Depression, near bankruptcy and a second stock sale. Kelly served one year as president, and also as team physician and as a board member. Clifford served on the Executive Committee for two decades. All have been inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.
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Members of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame