Hall of Famer Marion Ladewig dies at age 95

    04/17/10

    United States

    WIBCHallofFamerMarionLadewig.jpgMarion Ladewig, recognized as the greatest woman bowler of all time, died Friday, April 16, in Grand Rapids, Mich. She was 95.

    Ladewig was a dominating performer in women's bowling from the mid-1940s until her retirement in 1963. The Bowling Writers' Association of America voted her Bowler of the Year nine times from 1950-63 and in a 1973 poll she was named the 'Greatest of all Time'.

    "It is a sad day for bowling," United States Bowling Congress President Jeff Bojé said. "She was truly great as a bowler and as a person. She was truly an inspiration and a champion of epic proportion."

    WIBCHallofFamerMarionLadewig2.jpgIn 1949, Ladewig captured the first of five consecutive U.S. Women's Open Championships, then known as the BPAA All-Star tournament. From 1949-1960, she won the event eight times and was runner-up twice.

    In 1950, she won her first Women's International Bowling Congress (now USBC) All-Events title and was a member of team title winner Fanatorium Majors. The following season she won the All-Events title at the city, state and national level. She would take the WIBC All-Events title in 1955 along with the WIBC doubles title.

    Her list of honors includes being selected the first inductee in the Superior Performance category of the WIBC Hall of Fame in 1964 and the first woman bowler inducted into the Women's Sports Foundation Hall of Fame in 1984. She also was named Michigan's Woman Athlete of All Time.

    Born in 1914 in Grand Rapids, Ladewig was a sprinter in high school and also played softball. She started bowling in her early twenties and took a job at a local bowling center where she learned the sport. She would win her first bowling title during the 1940-41 season, a doubles title at the Western Michigan Gold Pin Classic.

    In 1965, she retired from competitive bowling after winning the World Invitational for a record fifth time.

    Funeral arrangements are pending.