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John Guenther, USBC and PBA Hall of Famer, dies at age 82

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John Guenther of Edmonds, Washington, a United States Bowling Congress and Professional Bowlers Association Hall of Fame member, died Wednesday after a brief illness. He was 82.

One of the most memorable moments of Guenther’s pro career happened on the way to one of his 11 PBA titles. In his second match of the stepladder finals of the 1969 San Jose Open at Saratoga Lanes, Guenther rolled just the second televised 300 game on national television, beating Don Johnson, 300-189.

He then defeated Billy Hardwick (233-214), and, in the title match, Wayne Zahn (268-194). In addition to the $9,000 he collected for the title, he received a $10,000 bonus for the televised perfect game.

Guenther captured his first PBA title at the 1965 Oxnard (California) Open, setting records at the time for an eight-game block (2,022) and 16-game total (3,830). His lone major title came at the 1972 PBA National Championship, where he beat Dick Ritger in the title match.

Ranked 45th on 2009 list of 50 Greatest Players in PBA History, he was selected as the Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award winner, voted on by his fellow competitors, in 1966 and 1967, the first two years of the award. He also shared the award with Ritger and Dave Soutar in 1970.

Guenther owns two USBC Open Championships titles, winning the Classic Team title in 1967 and 1974.

He was inducted into the USBC Hall of Fame for Superior Performance in 1988 and into the PBA Hall of Fame in 1986 in the Veterans/Senior category.

Services are pending.

Herbert Bickel

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