To: Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame
From: David Lurtsema, brother of Robert J.
My brother, Robert J. Lurtsema, would have been extremely honored to be accepted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame. He was a maverick in the field of broadcasting during his many years with WGBH Boston. He injected his own style and aura into the programs and for this he became well known. The unique resonance of his voice and unique pauses can be remembered by all who heard him. He became known as “the voice of New England” and people who have lived within hearing range still ask me when they hear my name – “Are you related to Robert J. Lurtsema?”
Robert J. (or “Bob” to the family) was the oldest of 4 children and I was the youngest by 10 years. Our Dad was a carpenter, avid reader, and Past Master of the Masonic Lodge. As we were growing up we enjoyed the stories our Dad told at the supper table of his daily encounters with customers and friends. I like to think of our Dad as a cross between Maurice Chevalier and Santa Claus. Our Dad was a jolly happy man with white hair and a great smile. When Bob, in like manner, had something to say he would look up at you slowly with his bushy pointed eyebrows and that St. Nick twinkle in his eyes – backed up by a smile that made you forget whatever it was you were going to say. Our Dad, Bob, and I have all played Santa Claus on occasion. It must be the twinkle, the build, and the white hair.
Bob was devoted solely to his work and remained a bachelor all his life. He was taken from us at an all-too-early time in his life. We, however, enjoy hearing his voice on all the numerous recordings he left behind.
On behalf of my family, we thank all of you for the honor bestowed upon him today and regret that my wife and I could not be there to help celebrate the occasion. We look forward to visiting the Hall of Fame on our next Boston trip.