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Dorth Witt
Dorth Witt

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At 86 Years Young Dorth Witt is still at it
By Mary Lynly

Among the many devotees that are the adhesive in the majority of leagues throughout our nation, the people that started in the ‘50’s and ‘60’s are the ones who still can hardly wait to get to the bowling center today. Dorth Witt is one of these people. Dorth - short for Dorothy – was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a hot bed of bowling over the years, and says she never considered herself athletic but she was a certified tree climbing tomboy for sure. Growing up she recalls the signing of the Armistice in 1925 when they stood in a long line and faced east in honor of our soldiers.

She met the love of her life - Dave Witt – at 14 and he was the older man at 15. They were an item for several years – on and off - and he went off to do this stint in the service during WWII. When he returned they decided it was meant to be and they married in 1948 and ultimately brought two daughters into the world – Nanci and Muffie.

Dave was a policeman and then a Deputy Sheriff and one of his fellow police officers was into selling Chicken Delight franchises. Dorth said, “You know, don’t cook tonight call Chicken Delight!” Dave and Dorth were talked into heading west to run a franchise and sell them as well. They landed in San Mateo, California in 1960. The business was thriving and it was here that a friend asked Dorth to take some Learn to Bowl lessons. Her first game was 221 and she said, “Nothing to this game.” Reality set in when she bowled 97 on the second game but she was hooked and joined a beginner’s league starting a long time love affair with the bowling game. She said, “In the early years I bowled every day except weekends.” The Witts discovered they couldn’t run the franchise and sell them as well so they gave up sales and bought another franchise and moved to Alameda.

Dorth was into it! Their business sponsored four bowling teams including a men’s scratch. When she bowled her first 600 she said she got the whole nine yards – the shirt, the pins and membership in local, state and national. Her husband was not a bowler but she decided he would appreciate bowling more if he watched some experts so she invited him to watch the men’s classic league. There were two women in that league, one being the much acclaimed bowler Phyllis Massey. He watched for awhile and he said, “Why don’t you get her on your team?” Dorth just smiled.

Dorth didn’t miss the association involvement experience and became a Center Rep. at Mel’s Bowl. As so often happens, many good people are never allowed to move up. She said she did this for two years and decided she didn’t want to deal with the “click” and backed away. This increased her awareness of the administrative side of bowling but didn’t dampen her love for the game.

After ten years of running their Chicken Delight franchise they ran into a problem with their parent company who tried to force the franchises to buy their products from them when they could buy supplies for less elsewhere. It became a class action suit and they won but she said the attorneys got all the money and didn’t leave them in very good shape. She also admitted they were not very astute business owners so they decided to get out of the business.

She moved to Sacramento to be closer to her daughter and in 2003 she lost Dave. She enjoys the company of her three cats – Love Bug, a girl, and two boys Oreo and Grey Boy. Wonder what color Oreo is? Among her four grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren she is proud of one of her “greats” currently the only other family member who bowls - who finished first in the Youth Pepsi Challenge in 2011. At 86, Dorth Witt continues to bowl four days a week! She loves it, is always at the bowl early and this sharp, lovely lady likes everyone she meets and keeps herself aware of world affairs and all things bowling. Thank God for seniors.

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