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I Remember SHIRLEY GARMS - My Senior Inspiration

by Frank Weiler

HIGHLAND, CA - Shirley Garms passed away recently at the age of 94. She competed as a professional bowler for decades, winning her first professional title in 1962 at the age of 38. She won her fourth and final professional title in 1978 at the age of 54! She also won four WIBC (USBC) women's championship titles.

Shirley was a founding member of the PWBA and a charter member of the organization's Hall of Fame in 1995. She was inducted into the WIBC (USBC) Hall of Fame in 1971. She was also inducted into the World Bowling, Illinois and Chicago Halls of Fame.

Shirley Garms did it all. She won titles, set records and became a Hall of Famer. Shirley Garms is a legend.

Shirley winning a National Title at the age of 54 was and still is a BIG DEAL. As a senior bowler she beat the best bowlers in the world, in their prime. It's a BIG DEAL because a senior winning a National Title is rare. I can't remember any other senior woman to win a National Title. Also, Her win may be a record by making her the oldest woman to win a National Title.

I am a senior bowler. Shirley Garms winning a National Title as a senior is MY INSPIRATION to continue competing against younger strikers.

I saw Shirley bowl in Florida in the early 1980's on the new Ladies Professional Bowlers Tour (LPBT). By then she was in her 60's and still competing against professionals thirty to forty years her junior. Greats like Donna Adamek, Tish Johnson, Robin Romeo, Aleta Sill and Lisa Wagner were rookies back then and learning from Shirley. Other greats like Carolyn Dorin Ballard and Wendy McPherson weren't even on tour yet.

I didn't know Shirley personally but I did watch her compete. I wasn't a friend of hers but I was a fan. I didn't know if Shirley was a nice person but I did know that when I saw her bowl she conducted herself professionally. I REMEMBER SHIRLEY GARMS for her big smile, her class and grace. It's been three and a half decades but I still remember Shirley Garms.

I was a young fella back then while Shirley was a senior. At the time I didn't appreciate what she was doing. Now as a senior bowler myself I am amazed at how she competed against bowlers half her age. She was fearless. That's why Shirley Garms is MY SENIOR INSPIRATION.

I REMEMBER SHIRLEY GARMS and salute her for being a great bowler and outstanding example for all senior bowlers. Shirley Garms is MY SENIOR INSPIRATION as I compete as a senior bowler.


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