CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – He was a sports broadcaster, a friend to many, and so much more. The Champaign-Urbana community lost a legend over the weekend.

Jim Turpin died Sunday morning at 90 years old. His WDWS radio colleagues celebrated him Monday with a special show.

“He set the standard of excellence. When I got into the broadcasting field, I wanted to sound as professional as Jim Turpin,” “Penny for Your Thoughts” host Brian Barnhart said. He and fellow broadcaster Loren Tate said in all the time they spent together as friends and coworkers, two iconic moments from 1989 stood out – a buzzer-beater against Indiana and the win against Syracuse that sent Illinois to the Final Four.

Even decades later, everyone remembers the calls he made in those games. And if you’re Champaign-Urbana native, you’ll recognize the “Voice of the Illini.”

Barnhart said Turpin’s brand of passionate commentary sticks with people. It makes sportscasters unique, and none were more unique than him.

“Going to the ‘Final Four, Final Four, Final Four’… those are just iconic memories,” Barnhart said, referencing Turpin’s 1989 call that he replayed during the show.

He’s most remembered for his love of sports and how he covered U of I basketball and football for decades. He was also the beloved personality behind “Penny for Your Thoughts” on WDWS.

Barnhart said Turpin’s impact was just as stong on and off the air. “He told me when I took over the show, he said: ‘always be curious. Be willing to learn every day.’”

Colleagues say he inspired a generation. “I grew up an Illini fan because of Jim Turpin. I had no idea that growing up as a little kid in Tolono that I would end up succeeding him in both roles,” Barnhart said.

Many, not just sports fans, admired his work. “The community impact that he had from ‘Penny’ is something that is going to always be remembered by many,” U of I’s Associate Athletic Director Kent Brown said.

Several loved ones called in and shared memories of an iconic trio: Turpin, coach Lou Henson, and Loren Tate. “Jim did it all. We did it all together for a lot of years,” Tate said.

He said even outside of radio, Turpin was an active part of the community. People would often ask him to lead ceremonies and banquets.

“It’s very unique that somebody can do something so well for so long. He had a special talent,” Tate said.

Friends say that special talent will never be forgotten.

“Just from the old days… It’s hard to think that that voice is gone,” Mary Henson said.

Turpin left his mark across the community. A stretch of Windsor Road – near where he broadcast his show – was designated as Jim Turpin’s Penny Lane in 2002.

“He established a longevity record that will be really hard to top. Brian [Barnhart], you’ve got a long way to go,” Brown quipped during the show.

Funeral arrangements have not been made yet.