(Updated 2/18/17 with published obituary at bottom of this post.)
Darrell Ducat, the proprietor of one of the nation’s most famous centers — Imperial Lanes in Toledo, Ohio — for many years, died on Tuesday. He was 91.
The Professional Bowlers Association reported the news on Wednesday. The patriarch of bowling’s Ducat family had been living in Florida, where he and his son, Larry, were operating Spanish Springs Lanes in The Villages. Another son, Michael, is a past President of the Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America.
Imperial Lanes opened in 1963, just months before President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. It closed on May 13, 2009, a victim of declining league business and increasing land values. The center’s exterior was noted for its unusual circular structure with floor-to-ceiling windows that housed the center’s Crown Room restaurant for many years.
At 60 lanes, Imperial Lanes was the second-largest center in Toledo. Several of its leagues relocated to the city’s largest center, Southwyck Lanes.
Spanish Springs Lanes is scheduled to host the PBA50 Tour’s UnitedHealthCare Sun Bowl in The Villages Presented by Radical, April 22-25. In 2013, Ducat, a founding member of the PBA, became the oldest player ever to bowl in a PBA tournament when he competed in the 2013 PBA50 Sun Bowl at Spanish Springs Lanes at age 87.
Darrell Ivan Ducat, age 91, of Perrysburg, Ohio and formerly of Toledo, passed away on February 14, 2017 surrounded by his loving family. He was born in Rudolph, OH, the second eldest son of Alvin and Ethel Ducat on January 18th, 1926. Darrell enlisted in the Air Force in 1944. He maintained his pilot’s license for most of his life. Darrell worked as an auto mechanic in his early 20’s and later co-owned Ducat’s Automotive and the Miracle Mile Ballroom along with his older brother Dick. However, Darrell’s first love was bowling, and he was a long standing member of the Professional Bowlers Association after it was founded in 1958. His dream of owning his own bowling center was realized in 1971 when he purchased Miracle Lanes. He went on to co-own Showcase lanes with Norm Sobiecki, and Varsity Lanes in Bowling Green from 1977-1984 along with fellow PBA member, Dean Mooseman. Through the 1980’s, Darrell acquired several bowling centers and hotels in Ohio and Michigan. It was at Imperial Lanes in Toledo that Darrell and his son Michael hosted the annual PBA National Championships which were televised on ABC sports from 1981-2002. Imperial was sold in 2009 when Darrell began living in Florida part-time. He continued to co-own several hotels in both Ohio and Florida, and two bowling centers in The Villages, Florida, with his son Larry. Darrell never stopped bowling! In April of 2013, he became the oldest player to compete in a PBA tournament at the age of 87 when he bowled in the PBA50 Tour in The Villages, Florida.
Darrell was preceded in death by his parents, his first wife, Marianne (Knapp), and his second wife Rose (Balog), and brothers, Herbert and Dick. He is survived by his brother Paul (Diane); sister-in-law Dorothy Ducat, sons Larry (Sue) Ducat and Michael Ducat; daughters, Debbie (Mark) Augustyniak, Terri (Bruce) Duerringer, Elizabeth (David) Starr and Tami (Bret) Bonaminio; grandchildren, Brain (Jen) Ducat, Michelle (Craig)Amon, Jasin (Shannon) Ducat, Kimberly Wolfe, Erica Krause, Erin (Robert) Lewandowski, Greg (Marie) Knerr, Chris Duerringer, Steven (Rachel) Duerringer, Emily Duerringer, Jourdan Ducat, Chelsea Ducat, Olivia Bonaminio Isabelle Bonaminio,13 great-grandchildren and special friend Phyllis Steele.
Family and friends may visit on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 from 2-8:00pm at the Walker Funeral Home, 5155 Sylvania Ave. (west of Corey Rd.) where funeral services will be Wednesday at 11:00am. Interment to follow at Toledo Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers contributions in Darrell’s memory may be made to Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Northwest Ohio 4 Seagate #660 Toledo, Ohio 43604. Online condolences can be shared at www.walkerfuneralhomes.com.