Mother of Blues Legend Freddie King to be Honored
Gravestone for Ella Mae King Turner installed in East Springfield, TX cemetery
Gilmer, TX – June 30, 2014
Gladewater Memorials will install the gravestone for the late Ella Mae King Turner today. Born and raised in Upshur County, Ella Mae was the mother of the late Freddie King, blues legend and 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, also born in Upshur County.
During a visit to Gilmer in February 2014, King’s half-brother Benny Turner, also an accomplished blues musician, visited the East Springfield church cemetery where his mother and two of his uncles are buried. Turner left with determination to properly honor his mother by providing a headstone for her unmarked grave.
“Finally, Benny Turner found a permanent marker from his past, the gravestone of Uncle Linon ‘Lonnie’ (Leon) King, the man who taught everyone in the family who wanted how to play the guitar… He left the spot planning to return after a marker is placed on his mother’s empty spot.” – Kirby, Mary L. “Blues man Benny Turner returns to Gilmer roots.” The Gilmer Mirror
Ella Mae enjoyed playing the guitar and singing with her brothers, to the delight of her young sons. It is therefore significant to have both Ella Mae and Leon King's monuments together at last, as they were the earliest influences on Freddie King's blues, as well as Benny Turner’s. Turner is currently finishing work on his new CD, which will have two songs on it that pay tribute to his mother and his Uncle Leon. Freddie never had the opportunity to do so, but Benny wants to be sure that his family’s musical heritage is acknowledged and honored appropriately.