Erma Reese still rolling along for the Open Door Mission
Born: February 16, 1916
Entered into Rest: February 21, 2012
Photo provided by Bellevue Leader
"Her children rise up and call her blessed..."
By Ron Petak - Executive Editor Bellevue Leader
March 9, 2011
With spare time on her hands, Erma Reese at the spry age of 95 is a regular at Wednesday afternoon get togethers of senior bowlers at Leopard Lanes, just as she's been the last eight years or so.
"I like to bowl, but I'm not a good bowler, "Reese said last week after rolling games of 143 and 127, the latter stymied by a 7-10 split in the 10th frame.
Earlier this year, the three-step right-hander recorded a 191 game.
A mother of two, grand-mother to 13 and great-grandmother to 32, Reese took up bowling in the 1950s. Her first trip to the alleys was to the long-closed Space Lanes, which sat across from Offutt Air Force Base on Fort Crook Road.
Throughout the years, she's competed in women's and mixed leagues at Omaha venues Kelley's Bowlatorium, Ames Bowl and Rose Bowl, as well as Belle Bowl, the later a one-time fixture in Olde Towne Belleveu.
"The last game I bowled at Belle Bowl was a 192 and it burned down that night, " Reese said, referring to the December 1977 night when Belle Bowl burned to the ground.
Though she only bowls two games a week these days, it wasn't long ago when Reese was on the lanes with other seniors at Leopard two days a week, bowling three games each days. She decided to cut back to once a week about three years ago.
More so than any high games (her career best is a 234), Reese said it is the fellowship she cherishes most at the bowling center.
"I Like to talk to people," she said. "It keeps me socializing with people."
Nor lost on Reese, who bowls weekly with her daughter Elaine Farris, are the health benefits of bowling each week.
"This is my exercise, and it helped me get to 95," said Reese, who switched from a 12-pound to an 8-pound ball 10 years ago. "It takes coordination to bowl and as long as I can do it, I'm going to do it."
Staying fit is nothing new to Reese, who continued to water ski into her late 70s "but had to quit because I didn't have anybody to pull me."
Reese, who still drives, said her advice to her peers is stay active as long as they can.
"Keep trying, even if you come out and bowl just one game, "she said, "Don't ever give up. I know I'm not going to give up."