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Annual BVL Tournament To Be Renamed

Contact Phyl Knoll

Sacramento-To honor and fondly remember our wonderful bowling friend Helen Duval, who passed away July 29th, the California Board of Directors unanimously approved to rename our 2011 tournament and those henceforth to ”The California USBC Helen Duval Veterans Tournament”.

Helen was a lifetime resident of Berkeley, California, joining her first bowling league in l939. She was a natural and by the l950’s was teaching at bowling clinics and eventually was instrumental in bringing bowling to the California youth. In 1959 she was a founding member of the women’s professional bowling movement. By 1967 Helen held a high average of 200 and had captured titles from the professional ranks and WIBC tournaments.

Helen’s son Richard was stricken with Polio at age 5 and hospitalized for over a year. Helen taught Richard to bowl, first from the wheelchair and then later to stand at the foul line. Richard eventually became a 200 average and joined the Professional Bowlers Association Tour. By working with Richard, Helen had developed the tools to teach any disabled individual and volunteered to work with the BVL, the nonprofit group that provides programs to veteran and active duty service men and women. For over 20 years she traveled across the country, visiting veteran’s hospitals to teach the sport.

Helen was honored in hundreds of ways throughout her career. To note just a few: Appointed and served 5 years on President Kennedy’s Council on Physical Fitness; In l985 The BVL named her honorary co-chair and in 2000 she received the Secretary’s Award, the highest award given by the Department of Veterans Affairs for her dedicated commitment to America’s Veterans; Was honored as a “bowling legend” at the National Bowling Hall of Fame and Museum’s Salute to Champions Gala in 1993; Received the BPAA V.A. Wapensky Award; Selected as BPAA’S Dick Weber Bowling 2007Ambassador Award; in 1970 inducted into WIBC (now USBC) Hall of Fame for Superior Performance; in 1995 inducted into the Ladies Professional Bowlers Hall of Fame; in 1996 inducted into the Senior Athletes Hall of Fame; and posthumously in 2011 “The California USBC Helen Duval Veterans Tournament”.

This wonderful woman may have left us but will never be forgotten.

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