If you were to visit to Taku Lanes, Juneau’s bowling center, on a typical Thursday or Friday noon-time you would probably run into a group of exceptional bowlers tooling away at their game. What makes these bowlers so exceptional is their age. The usual lineup includes:
92 year old Marty Johnson, 88 year old Roger Silvester, 86 year old Jack Bodine, 85 year old Jim Tyner, 85 year old John Furness, 82 year old Louis Tyner, and 80-something year old Tom Pittman. Bowling helps “keep ‘em young” as Bodine says. Johnson has been bowling in Juneau every year since the bowling alley first opened, believed to be in the 1950’s.
In February, Juneau’s Octogenarian bowling legend Jack Bodine celebrated his 86th birthday in typical “Jack Style” as he bowled games of 195, 218, and 211 for a 624 series in the Sunday Mixed Bowling League. Throughout the night Bodine had only one open frame, and that was at the end of the third game. His 624 scratch series resulted in a handicap series of 840, which was third best in the league for the entire season.
Bodine got into bowling late in his life - in 1960 at the, according to Bodine, “late age of 33.” He quickly fell in love with the sport and by the 1970’s was bowling in six league’s a week. Juneau’s bowling center briefly had a “scratch league” (leagues are normally handicapped to even out the playing field among bowlers) that Bodine won “four or five” consecutive years. Bodine was inducted into the Alaska Bowling Hall of Fame in 1997.
If you are interested in joining Bodine, the Sunday Mixed League, as well as other leagues, are looking for bowlers. To sign up for the Sunday Mixed League (5:45-8:30 pm), a league for beginners, please call Tim Powers at 790-3228 and leave a message with your name and phone number. You can sign up for all leagues at Taku Lanes or by calling 586-1595.