Hall of Famers all: Marquette County Bowling Hall of Fame inducts 4 in its third year

Four past bowlers were inducted into the Marquette County Bowling Hall of Fame on Sunday at River Rock Lanes in Ishpeming. From left are James “Roxie” Lawson; Mary Ann Mitchell; Bonita Bray, the niece of the late Everett Senobe; and Heidi Ross, the daughter of Patsy Ross. (Journal photo by Steve Brownlee)

Even a thousand miles away in Texas, Patsy Ross wanted to be on hand for her induction into the Marquette County Bowling Hall of Fame on Sunday.

Of course, attendance wasn’t mandatory for induction at River Rock Lanes. Her daughter, Heidi Ross, was happy to stand in for her mother.

Patsy Ross was joined by Mary Ann Mitchell, James “Roxie” Lawson and the late Everett Senobe as the third four-person class to bring the total plaques on the wall at Ishpeming bowling center up to an even dozen.

“Next year, we have to start the second row,” said Pat Gingras, Marquette County U.S. Bowling Congress Association president, during the unveiling ceremony behind lanes 13-16.

Gingras has been the driving force in getting the hall of fame into its third year, encouraging all those he talks to in the area bowling community to come up with people to nominate.

Steve Brownlee

As someone who has also worked with Gingras and others on the association board with the hall of fame, the toughest part is finding solid information on nominees.

Gingras encourages anyone with info on someone that may be deserving, whether for their bowling talent or their service to bowling in the area, to contact him.

Even if you don’t have the information yourself, maybe you know where that info might be obtained.

It’s unfortunate but a lot of information and memories slip away as many bowlers from the sport’s heyday are passing on.

Call Gingras at 235-7597 if you’d like to point him toward some of that info.

Now with this year’s inductees, let’s start with Ross, who summers in the Gwinn area while wintering in Texas.

She was seriously considering flying back to Marquette County just for the hour or two while 50 to 60 people gathered in Red Rock’s banquet center to pay tribute to the four inductees.

But both Gingras and Heidi Ross said she’ll be able to see her plaque and hear the platitudes heaped upon her and the others when she gets back in the spring.

Patsy Ross bowled in at least four centers in Marquette — the Four Seasons, Olympic, Windmill and Westwood — but has said the most joy she got out of the sport was working with young bowlers, children and teenagers, during their Saturday morning leagues in years past.

She also joined one of her league teams in venturing to the Wisconsin state women’s tournament for 25 consecutive years while enjoying the camaraderie and not worrying about big scores.

She was most active on the lanes from the 1970s to around 2000.

Senobe, who passed away early in 2015 at age 102, was an accomplished bowler and golfer throughout his life, but for those of us still active on the lanes, we knew him as a senior bowler and golfer who didn’t give into age.

On the links, he shot his age or better for an 18-hole round numerous times.

And on the lanes, he was winning all-ages association events well into his 80s and continued to bowl with the seniors until past age 95, stopping his once- or twice-weekly drives from Marquette to Ishpeming only because of injury.

He credited plenty of walking for staying limber.

Senobe also participated in many tournaments both around the Midwest and occasionally in other parts of the country for many years.

Lawson goes all the way back to the 1930s as a top-notch bowler, especially making his mark post-World War II after serving with the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division during the big war. His skills from his youth as a ski jumper served him well as a soldier.

During the late 1940s into the 1950s in an era of hard rubber balls and full-roller releases, Lawson was pumping out all kinds of 250 and higher games and multiple 700 series, bowling out of the Viga Lanes in Negaunee.

He was a three-time Marquette County association champion and won the Upper Peninsula Bowling Association all-events title in 1951.

He continued to bowl through the rest of the century and into this one at the Miracle Bowl and Country Lanes in Ishpeming.

Like Senobe, he was a regular traveler to tournaments all over the country, including participating for 29 consecutive years at the American Bowling Congress nationals.

Mitchell was a sanctioned bowler in the Snowbelt Women’s Bowling Association from 1953 until about 1990, a regular in the Thursday and Friday women’s leagues at the Miracle Bowl in Ishpeming for 37 years.

She joined Dorothy Heinonen as they were the first two women in the county to roll a three-game series of 700. Mitchell’s came in December 1971 with a cornerstone 278 game, second only to her best game of 279.

She had a league high average of 182, an average only the elite men of that era were carrying, and won league championships reaching double figures.

She also worked with youth bowlers and was a volunteer at the U.P. women’s tournament, league president and regular competitor with one of her league teams in the 1960s and ’70s at the Wisconsin Women’s Bowling Association state tournament.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.