New LakeShore hall of famers Audrey Coburn, Jack McWhirter go back a long way
By Anthony Nasella Post-Tribune correspondent November 13, 2012 8:56PM
The LakeShore Bowling Association's 2012 Hall of Fame class was (from left) Missy Arndt, Jack McWhirter, Audrey Coburn and Jeff Schipper. | Steve T. Gorches~Post-Tribune
Updated: December 15, 2012 6:31AM
When Jack McWhirter was giving his acceptance speech at Sunday’s LakeShore USBC Hall of Fame banquet at Innsbrook Country Club, the Lake Station native took a moment to acknowledge fellow inductee Audrey Coburn and told those gathered that the two went way back.
While it produced a hearty laughter across the room, McWhirter was fondly recalling the years that he worked for Coburn and their mutual friend Dave Percudani at Westchester Lanes in the 1960s and when the three bowled together in local tourneys.
In a twist of fate, two individuals from a golden era of region bowling were inducted into the LakeShore Hall in the same year.
“I couldn’t believe when I saw Jack’s name (being inducted),” Coburn said. “That was during a time when we had great teams like Superior Meats and when Jack was a King of the Week for the Post Tribune with a 703 series.”
McWhirter, who spent his first years as pinsetter at the old Whistle Stop and later at Ray’s Lanes, worked at Westchester up until he was drafted into the Army.
“When I bowled at the Whistle Stop, you had to be good enough to the beat the guy next to you so you didn’t have to set the pins,” McWhirter said. “That was the rule: Low man had to set the pins. I remember traveling with (Cressmoor Lanes owner) Jim Fowble in 1965 to bowl my first ABC (American Bowling Congress tourney). And I so remember those days of bowling with Audrey and Dave, who taught me a lot about the competition.”
When McWhirter returned from Vietnam, he didn’t immediately return to the sport. He married his wife of now 42 years and joined the Boilermakers. He averaged 200 for more than 30 years and bowled in 42 ABC tournaments, finishing third in team event once.
Coburn eventually settled in Chesterton in 1967 and rolled the first 800 series (814) by a woman in Indiana in 1985.
“It was so fun bowling in those days,” she said. “I learned a lot of the game from Dave, who bowled with (PBA Hall of Famer) Carmen Salvino, and I had a lot of fun bowling in the Chicago Travel League. And I took all the girls to the state tournament and none of them got pregnant.”
Annual LakeShore awards: During the awards portion of the event, LakeShore president Jeff Snuffer was surprised with a special Tournament Lifetime Achievement Award for his association tourney exploits since around 1990. Snuffer has won three team, four doubles, four singles and three all-events titles. He bowled his first 300 game in the tourney and has three 300s overall and an 814 series in the event over the years.
Association bowlers of the year were Gordy Baer and Helen Gillis in the super senior division, Becky Walkowiak and Andrew Kendera in the senior division, Kelly Gough in the women’s open division, and Steve Gorches in the men’s open division.