BY SUE ERWIN – John Paul Turner may have been born in Sarasota, but he’s a true Boca Grande local. “I think as soon as I could leave the hospital we were headed toward the bridges back to the island,” John Paul said.
He was one of the first students to attend kindergarten through fifth grade at The Island school.
“Watching a new school grow from the early stages was interesting, he said. “I still have many close friends that I grew up with … we’re all still good friends, although some have moved away.”
After attending L.A. Ainger and Lemon Bay High School, John Paul chose to attend the University of Central Florida. The family has since been big fans of sporting events at the school.
John Paul studied business management and earned a bachelor’s degree.That opened up a few choices for him. He could have gone on to earn a master’s degree in business or join the family company (CIMS) started by his grandfather in Ohio.
“It’s a very successful business, and I interned there for a couple of summers, but I wanted t do something different and try something out on my own,” he said.
He chose to take an internship with Merrill Lynch in Sarasota under the guidance of Boca Grande financial advisor Tim Dumas.
“It’s really great to be working with Tim. I think the amount of experience he has and the knowledge that I’ll be bringing in will make us a very good team.”
His grandfather taught him about investing and following the stock market when he was very young, so it seemed like a perfect fit for him.
“He transferred some stocks to me when I was 11, and I’ve been interested in following the market ever since … I think he’d be happy with where I am right now.”
So far John Paul seems to be thriving in his new business adventure. He started an internship 10 days after graduating from college, and he has been a full-time financial adviser since August. The first four months of the programs were dedicated to licensing and testing.
“It’s a new interactive academy that was just rolled out recently,” he said.
Since then, he has earned his series 7, series 66 and Florida life and health insurance licenses. Now that he is fully licensed, his days are getting busier as he tries to build relationships in the Sarasota area, and he also comes out to network with lifelong friends in Boca Grande on the weekends.
John Paul said he is extremely fortunate to have grown up here, and to have met all of the wonderful people of the community through his parents’ restaurant business.
“It just makes me smile to come back here on the weekends … it’s beautiful and there is no place like it,” he said. “The community is amazing.”
Growing up on the island, John Paul used to participate in the “BOMO” tarpon fishing tournaments for kids, before the Gasparilla Island Kids Classic Tournament existed. He recalls that it cost just $1 to enter the tournament. Three out of six years that he fished, his partner caught a fish, so he believes he was the good luck charm on the boat. Now, he volunteers each year at the Kids Classic Tournament street party.
John Paul will be traveling to Baltimore in a couple of weeks to attend a training camp with several other colleagues.
“Merrill has one of the most in-depth and intense training programs,” he said. “I’ve seen many positive results already. I think the role is fitting me well and I’m enjoying it.”
As an adviser,, his main goal is to get to know his clients as much as possible and tailoring to their needs.
John Paul’s mother, Kathleen Turner, managed PJ’s Seagrille and The Grapevine for more than 30 years. He recalls pitching in whenever the restaurant was busy during season, whether it was washing dishes, working the salad station or helping out with catering parties. Kathleen is now a Realtor with Michael Saunders Real Estate on the island. His dad, J.T, is a chef at Hudson’s Grocery, and he also does some catering jobs that John Paul often helps him plan and cook. His sister, Abigail Susan, is a senior at Lemon Bay High School. At 6’1”, it’s not surprising that she plays basketball, volleyball and tennis.
On a smaller culinary scale, John Paul enjoys preparing dinners for family and friends.
“I find it soothing and relaxing – I guess I get that from my dad,” he said. “It’s always nice to enjoy a great meal together.”
His grandfather, the late Paul J. Kruder, was in the tire industry for many years up north before he decided to purchase the Old Theatre Building in Boca Grande in 1978 and lovingly renovate the historic building. When he is not working, John Paul enjoys spending time with his family on the weekends in Boca Grande. He loves sports (all kinds) and of course spending time out on the water fishing. He especially enjoys going out on the boat and spending quality time with his dad.
He also enjoy traveling and seeking out new adventures. The family just returned from a cruise to Cozumel.
“We all had a great time. We went to celebrate Abby’s 18th birthday and also her graduation coming up in May.”
The Turner family has one dog, Peyton, a rescued Pomeranian/Shih Tzu/beagle mix.
“This will always be my home – I’ll never venture too far away,” he said.