Pearl Keller, USBC and PWBA Hall of Famer, Dies at Age 95

by Terry Bigham, USBC Communications 0

ARLINGTON, Texas – Pearl Keller, a United States Bowling Congress and Professional Women’s Bowling Association Hall of Fame member, passed away Oct. 2 in Brighton, Massachusetts, at age 95.

She was inducted into the PWBA Hall of Fame in 1997 in the Builder category and two years later joined the USBC Hall of Fame for Meritorious Service.

Keller was a trailblazer for women’s bowling, teaming with Jean Fish in 1971 to start the Women’s All-Star Association to promote tournaments specifically designed for high-average women bowlers. WASA drew the best amateur and professional bowlers from throughout the country to its events.

She served as WASA Executive Director for more than 30 years. In 2001, WASA had a membership of 325 competitors and awarded more than $85,000 in 17 tournaments.

Keller also paved the way for women bowling writers. A bowling columnist for 27 years for Gannett Westchester Newspapers, the largest newspaper chain in the country, she was one of the first women writers admitted to the Bowling Writers Association of America.

She joined the BWAA in 1973, and held many leaderships positions before she was elected the first woman president of BWAA in 1992. She also served as president of the National Women Bowling Writers (NWBW) for six years.

She won numerous writing awards, including the BWAA’s Mort Luby Distinguished Service Award, the NWBW Alberta E. Crowe Award and the Murrey International Bowling Writer of the Year Award.

Keller, who lived in Chappaqua, New York, for nearly 50 years, served bowling on the local, state and national levels.

She was on the Women’s International Bowling Congress (WIBC) board from 1984-1999, and was a longtime board member of the Westchester Women’s Bowling Association and New York State Women’s Bowling Association. The WIBC recognized her work as an innovator with Joyce Deitch Trailblazer Award in 2002.

Born Dec. 19, 1923, she graduated from Yale University in 1947 with a bachelor’s degree in music (piano major) and spent a year teaching piano at the Perkins School for the Blind. She did graduate work toward a Master’s degree at Texas Christian University and was a graduate assistant in the school’s music history department.

Keller is survived by her four children, Jan Schultz (Howard), David (Mary), Richard, and Lisa Lee (Daniel), six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Services are pending.

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