The Greater Toledo Bowling Association recently inducted its 2002 class into its hall of fame.
Art Dudley, Bob Brissette, Leroy Fowler and Doug Rechtine were honored at a banquet at Sommerset Hall on Sept. 28.
Members of the hall of fame and officers of the GTBA voted for the new inductees, each of whom must have been a member of the GTBA for a minimum of 20 years.
“It exceeds any scores I ever had,” Dudley said. “It's better than any 300 game. It's something special to me because the guys voted me in. It means a lot that they thought that much of me.”
Brissette and Rechtine will enter the hall under the Superior Performance category. Dudley was inducted under the Meritorious Service category, and Fowler earned his place through the Veteran's Performance category.
Dudley, 74, started his bowling career as a pinsetter in 1938 and went on to work at various centers around the area. The life-long Toledoan has been a volunteer director for the GTBA since 1992.
Dudley, who retired from Jeep in 1980, is the chief inspector of all local lanes and he certifies centers. He also has worked at every GTBA tournament over the last decade. He was named the director of the year by the GTBA in 2001.
Dudley said his greatest accomplishment on the lanes came last year when he bowled a 299 game at Jug's with his wife in attendance.
Brissette, 65, a retired robotics engineer, said the honor was the perfect way to complete his career that started in high school.
“It's a good feeling knowing I'm in with the good bowlers in this town,” he said. “It's a proud feeling to think that I'm in the same category as those guys.”
Brissette, who lives in Petersburg, Mich., has been a member of the GTBA for 33 years while competing in the area's top leagues. He joined the Senior Professional Bowlers Tour in 1989, and cashed in more than 50 percent of the PBA senior events. In 2001, Brissette won a PBA Senior Regional title in Detroit. In the same year he cashed in six of 12 PBA events.
Brissette said he bowled the first 300 game at Jug's Bowling Center, in 1971.
“It'd been open 16 years and they had this huge trophy for whoever shot the first 300 game there,” Brissette recalled. “When I shot the 300, the trophy had sat around so long that they had to get it refurbished.”
Brissette's high series was an 817 and he bowled an 802 series last November. He now competes in the super senior class and has cashed in three tournaments.
Fowler, 74, said he was thrilled to have his name up there with Toledo legends like Junior Powell.
“I bowled in the classic leagues and in a lot of big tournaments, but this is above and beyond that,” the Williston resident said. “To be with the greatest in Toledo is something else. It's quite a goal to obtain.”
Fowler has bowled in Toledo since 1958 and was an original member of the Metro Classic. He competed in the top local league for 14 seasons, and was on a team that won the City Tournament actual title.
Fowler, who worked for a telephone company before retiring in 2000, has won titles in each of the last five decades.
He continues to excel in the senior leagues as he helped lead his team to four titles recently and still has an average of 200. His career high game is 289 and his high series is 749.
Fowler recalled bowling in a league in 1973 that set a world record for average per man (220).
Rechtine, who at 44 is the youngster of the class, said he started bowling at the old Mercury Lanes when he was 5 years old.
The Holland native has had a distinguished career already. He has won seven GTBA championships, four team events and three doubles events. He won the GTBA doubles event last February with Ed Pawlowski Jr., who also is in the hall.
Rechtine, who is a financial planner, said he and Pawlowski have bowled together since they were youths. Currently, the two compete with three other hall-of-famers in the classic league.
“I don't think that's ever been done before,” he said.
Rechtine also has won seven other local titles, including the Strike It Rich Tournament and the Shammy Burt Tournament. He carries a 192 average for his 17 ABC tournaments.
Rechtine has also helped his teams win many local classic titles, including last season's Barney's Convenience Mart Men's Traveling Classic crown.
Rechtine has bowled 11 300 games and seven 800-plus series. His career high is an 848. His high season average is 237.
Despite all of those tremendous accomplishments, Rechtine said entering the hall is the highlight of his career.
“When you think of all the competitive people who have bowled in Toledo over the years, it's incredible to be recognized in this fashion. I didn't think this day would ever happen.”