Decatur Bowling Hall of Fame

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40th Annual Hall of Fame Banquet
Decatur Conference Center & Hotel
October 24, 2015

Master of Ceremonies: Al Pote
Invocation: Marlene Coffman

Hall of Fame Officers:
Scott Bird, President
Shirlene Wilkin, Vice President
Al Pote, Secretary
Trinity Bush, Treasurer

2015 Hall of Fame Inductees


Gabe Howell

Superior Performance

Escorted by Decatur Bowling Hall of Famer Shawn Reed

When GABE arrived on the Decatur Bowling scene in 1999, it was obvious that he would blaze a new trail on and off the lanes. Gregarious and with a joyful voice that resonates throughout any bowling center, Gabe Howell has already authored, and is still adding new pages to, one of the greatest bowling resumes in city history.
Per official records, Gabe has rolled 38 perfect games and 16 series over 800, and these impressive totals are very likely lower than his actual tallies. His top career series is 833, and his best season's average is 232. In addition to his numerous league titles, Gabe has performed brilliantly in tournaments, not only in Illinois, but nationwide as well.
An annual participant in The National Bowling Association, Gabe grabbed what may be his most prestigious title in the Team Event of the 2012 TNBA National Tournament, held that year in Indianapolis...and he rolled a 300 game in the process. Howell also has career titles in the following statewide tournaments: Big Ern's, Effingham Silver Dollar, Springfield's Firecracker, Mary Tuebner and 700 Club, Pana Holiday, Peoria Summer Sweeper (6-time champ), and Gabe was a member of Decatur's 2014 Braggin' Rights Championship squad. In 2014-2015, either individually or as part of a team, Gabe captured a combined FIFTEEN league and tournament titles.
Gabe has notched several victories with wife Cynthia as his teammate, and the Howells have virtually owned the City Mixed Tournament, winning it on six occasions, including his most recent title just two weeks ago. He has also been an integral part of five BA City Tournament champion teams, and he will also be defending that title in January. Gabe has lended his hand in other ways, proudly serving the BA Board for five seasons, and he is always eager to help youth bowlers with their games. His artistic prowess is also on display; as he did last year, Gabe crafted the display boards for all of tonight's inductees.
At the young age of 37, Gabe Howell is in the prime of his bowling career, and there seems to be no end to the path that he started paving in 1999. His picture will be permanently affixed to our Hall of Fame Shrine, but his biography will require annual revisions. Congratulations, Gabe!


Jackie Smith

Superior Performance

Escorted by her husband, Kirk Smith

A huge auto racing fan and race team owner, JACKIE has also taken her share of checkered flags on the bowling lanes since starting her WIBC career in 1974. Her most dominating victory came in the 2009 edition of the Decatur Women's Bowling Association's 600 Club Tournament. In that contest, Jackie lapped the field in the six-game All-Events with a total of 1533, a record score at that time.
Also proving her worth as a valuable teammate, Jackie captured the Handicap Team title in the 2007 DWBA City Tournament, as she teamed with Carol McGonigle, Janice Timmons, April Veteto and June Lingafelter to shoot 3461. Smith also earned dozens of league awards, including all three (75-125-150) Pins-Over-Average prizes, 250 Game and 600 Series awards, and the Illinois WBA's 675 Award. On two occasions, Jackie exceeded the 700 milestone, rolling a 707 in the year 2000, and a 705 during the '08-'09 campaign.
Jackie has also donated her time to the sport, serving as Vice-President of the N & W Cannonball League for 10 seasons. She has competed in five WIBC national tournaments and also stepped on the State Championship lanes on ten occasions. Jackie has shared many victories with her sister Ginger Fair, and as she starts her fourth decade in the Decatur USBC Women's BA, this Maroa native still plans to hit new milestones as she celebrates her induction tonight into the Decatur Bowling Hall of Fame. Congratulations, Jackie!


Ron A. Snyder

Meritorious Service

Escorted by his granddaughters, Jaylee and Jaisa

RON has been a longtime supporter of Decatur Bowling, with special emphasis given to tournament participation and tournament performance. Ron has entered the IBA State Tournament for over two decades, and in many cases, organized squads to provide more bowlers with the opportunity to compete on both competitive and "fun" teams.
Ron started his Decatur bowling career in 1994, and when his job has allowed him to stay in town, he has been a youth bowling coach and supporter. Ron was elected to the Decatur USBC BA Board in 2013, but for now, his service has been interrupted, as he dealt with myriad health issues. It is good to see that Ron has been able to resume his league play this season.
When he is at or near 100%, Ron is a formidable opponent and a valuable teammate. He owns four city titles, Scratch and Handicap Doubles with Gary "Petey" Hopkins in the 2011 championship, and a scratch and handicap Team Title in 2013. Ron's fivesome rolled a city tournament record actual score of 3651, and Snyder led all players with a 296 game and career-best 795 series.
Ron does not discriminate when it comes to volunteering during local tournaments. He has been seen selling tickets and running errands during DWBA events, in addition to helping his male brethren. He gets as much joy out of seeing others succeed as he does when he topples the pins himself.
Ron's high career average is 220, including six certified 300 games, the latest of which came in the inaugural Bracket Madness Tournament on August 15. Congratulations to Mr. Ron A. Snyder, for your installment into the Decatur Bowling Hall of Fame!


Marvin "Mike" Shae

In Memoriam

Induction accepted by his son, Steve Shae

MIKE SHAE was the patriarch of a dedicated Decatur bowling family. He spent over SIX DECADES as a member of Decatur's certified bowling family. Mike's first major victory was the scratch championship in the 1958 Parkview Individual Classic League, and 14 years later, Mike led his Contemporary Vending fivesome, which included Russ Fritz and Hall of Famers Jim Jenkins, Will Barger and Les Grace, to the 1974 City Tournament Team title, rolling 3178 at Schaefer's.
On April 1, 1964, Mike rolled his career-high series of 710, earning him a berth in that era's prestigious Men's 700 Club. In fact, Mike was President of that group for a time, in addition to being President of one of Decatur's top leagues, the Eldorado Bowl's Commercial League. His teams won the league title on over 30 occasions, about two-thirds of the league's existence. An employee of Caterpillar for 30 years, Shae took advantage of that alliance when it came to the annual All-Caterpillar Bowling Tournament. Mike won the 1966 edition of that tournament with a 650 series.
Shae was a member of one the era's strongest teams, sponsored by Stringer Trucking. His teammates read like a Hall of Fame roster: Don Adcock, Earl Gray, Jr., Bob Underwood, Ralph Schwab, Clete Mullinax, Dick Mowry, Tommy Stewart and others. His high career average was 199 during a time when only a half-handful of Decatur's 6000 members would even approach 200.
Always the family man, Mike Shae adored his wife Peggy, as they were together in marriage for 59 years. Peggy Shae passed away in 2012, and the Decatur bowling world was further grieved by the loss of Mike Shae on June 5th of this year, at the age of 86.
Accepting Mike Shae's Hall of Fame installation awards is his son Steve, who just two nights ago rolled his 8th career 300 game! A great way for us to remember Mike Shae this evening, as he will now be forever enshrined as a Decatur Bowling Hall of Famer.


Sandra "Sandy" Propst

Meritorious Service

Escorted by her husband Ron Propst

Last season, SANDY celebrated her 52nd season as a member of the Decatur Women's Bowling Association. That means she has witnessed nearly 80% of the history of local ladies' sanctioned competition. And "competing" is what Sandy truly enjoys. A multi-time city champion and decades-long server of bowling, Sandy Propst has seen generations come and go...even within the confines of a single league.
Sandy was the President of Spare Time's Thursday night Pinpoppers League for THIRTY seasons. Though that league threw its final shot in the spring of 2012, Sandy continues to volunteer her time with events such as the Easter Seals/Independence Pointe Bowl-a-thon, the Special Olympics Area 10 Meet, and the IWBA State Tournament. Sandy served three seasons on the Decatur USBC WBA Board, and she has been a loyal participant in the Women's 600 Club events. In fact, during the 1996-97 season, Sandy captured the 600 Club Handicap Singles crown with a wonderful 750 series.
But it was two decades prior when Sandy made her big splash on the lanes, in the biggest annual ladies' tournament in Decatur. In the 1976 Women's City Tournament, Propst fired a 586 series in Singles, the best scratch score of all competitors that year. Her handicap total of 691 also outlasted the field, giving Sandy two individual trophies. But there was more to come. After adding all nine games, Propst's total of 1884 was sufficient to capture the Handicap All-Events crown.
Sandy was the recipient of the prestigious DWBA Spotlight Award in 2012. She has also converted the 7-10 and the 4-6-7-10, plus she has earned the 150-Pins-Over-Series award from the IWBA.
Sandy took to the lanes over 20 times in both the Irene Kearney and the Illinois Women's State Tournaments, and she entered the WIBCs on three occasions. Sandy's career best average is 164, her high game is 250, and her high series is 629. And Sandy Propst is now a Hall of Famer. Congratulations, Sandy!


Charles "Ray" Ballard


Escorted by his wife Jean and his son Rob Ballard

RAY started his Hall of Fame career at age 23 in the year 1965. For the next 35 seasons, Ray was a reliable top player who let his bowling ball do the talking. A two-time city champion and owner of one perfect game, Ray was well-known to all league bowlers who took to the lanes at Pla-Mor and The Bowl. In separate stints, Ray served as one of the top mechanics in both houses. Of course this meant that on rare occasions, Ray...and his team...would have to bring their league match to a halt, as he would have to sprint from the settee area to the back, behind the masking units, to make repairs.
Ray's game seldom needed fixing. His career high average was 205, and on Friday, October 1, 1993, Ray rolled his only 300, in Pla-Mor's Cavalier League. Ray's perfecto was in game two, and it stands as one of the best bounce-backs in Decatur history, as he more than doubled his first game of the night. The season prior, Ballard rolled his top career series, a 736.
Ray entered his Pla-Mor-Cavalier Nelson Pest Control team in the fall 1972 City Tournament, and the quintet, which included Herb Peyer, Archie Forcum and Hall of Famers Bob and Tom Crowe, won the Handicap Team event with a 3169. Ray's second city title came five years later, when his 641 series topped the Scratch Singles field.
Ray also served two seasons on the Decatur Men's Bowling Association's Board of Directors, serving on three committees and as the board's representative for Pla-Mor Lanes. He earned nearly every score emblem that the DMBA and the American Bowling Congress provided at the time.
Ray Ballard retired from league bowling in 1999, and now at age 73, Ballard resides in Georgia, working as a freelance photographer.


Thomas "Tom" Whitcomb


Escorted by his brother, Gary Whitcomb

Perhaps the best phrase that can be used to describe TOM is "team player." A native Illinoisan, he dutifully followed the orders of his employer Caterpillar, taking him over three decades from Davenport, IA to York, PA and eventually to Decatur. In bowling, he shows the same loyalty to every league or tournament team on which he competes. Tom Whitcomb is willing to do whatever it takes to optimize each situation. Tom has followed this philosophy to two city titles and dozens of award-winning scores.
Prior to his arrival in the "Pride," Tom was already a tournament champion. He captured the title in the prestigious Rock Island Singles Classic, rolling 1168 for 5 games, outlasting a field of 782 players. Tom has six certified 300 games and five series of 800 or better, with a top score of 827.
Tom joined the Professional Bowlers Association in 2006, and during that year, he had his best performance in a PBA Senior (now PBA50) Regional event, in his latest hometown. Tom was the top qualifier after the first block of the 2006 Decatur Senior Regional and made the match-play finals. Unfortunately, Tom suffered two close losses and finished 12th.
On two occasions, Tom was just as close to city tournament wins, finishing second in the City Mixed tournament and in the 2012 City Team event. But the following year, Tom made up for that by captaining his team to both the scratch and handicap city titles. Who else was on that team? Fellow inductee Ron Snyder, 3651 scratch and 3688 handicap in 2013. Tom is a 5-time member of the All-City Senior Team and was Senior Bowler of the Year for the 2012-2013 season. Congratulations, Tom, and welcome to the Decatur Bowling Hall of Fame.

DBA Calendar

Final Results of the 2018-2019 Open Championships (City Tournament)

80th Annual Decatur USBC Open
Championship: Feb. 16-Mar. 10, 2019 - at Spare Time Lanes

Handicap Singles

  • Daniel Goebel - 793
  • Cory Hollis - 768
  • Michael Abel - 756

Scratch Singles

  • Phillip Barry - 747
  • Shawn Reed - 738
  • Jason Queen - 729

Handicap Doubles

  • Tom Adcock/Jason Queen - 1533
  • Garrett Strohl/Jarid Thompson - 1488
  • Bob Gray/Frank Bilyeu - 1458

Scratch Doubles

  • Tom Adcock/Jason Queen - 1533
  • Tim Frey/Phillip Barry - 1372
  • Patty Dodd/Bennie Holman - 1358

Handicap All Events

  • Cory Hollis - 2285
  • Bryson Poe - 2210
  • Jason Queen - 2168

Scratch All-Events

  • Jason Queen - 2168
  • Tim Frey - 2156
  • James Heckwine - 2113

Handicap Team

  • Nic Riley (Nic Riley, Ben McCoy, Michael Wilcox, Jon Alford, Phillip Barry) - 3634
  • Dad's Team - 3535
  • Bring Back Pla-Mor - 3406

Scratch Team

  • Nic Riley (Nic Riley, Ben McCoy, Michael Wilcox, Jon Alford, Phillip Barry) - 3567
  • Bring Back Pla-Mor - 3406
  • Balls Deep - 3187

Your 2018-2019 All-City Teams!