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Local bowling: Longtime Stardust II employee Babe Razumich will be missed

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Updated: December 19, 2012 12:06AM



Hearing the news Saturday morning made me realize as we get older, more of our friends in the bowling industry are disappearing.

And one of the true ambassadors and good people in the sport in Northwest Indiana died at 12:15 a.m. Saturday.

For those of you who didn’t know Babe Razumich, she worked at Stardust Bowl II for about 35 years as a secretary, league data coordinator and director of youth bowling and was a member of the Lake Suburban Women’s Bowling Association Hall of Fame. In those 35 years, she touched the lives of thousands of young and old bowlers alike.

Youth bowlers who have grown up still remember her announcing whenever a team hadn’t paid its league fees yet and she threatened to “shut off the lanes” until they brought the envelope to the counter.

Former Stardust II youth bowler and current Valparaiso University bowler Jill Larson recalled one time when she came to work at Stardust wearing jeans with holes in them, and Babe not being too happy.

“She ripped me a new one,” Larson joked.

I only knew her for 14 years, but in that fairly short time I didn’t go a week without knowing she was on top of her job.

Every time she faxed the weekly bowling scores, she provided a cover letter with several items in her distinct handwriting: the date, To: Post-Tribune, Attention: Steve, From: Babe, and some comments, which was where she listed any award scores or high series. I’ve saved several of those cover letters in a group on my cubicle wall at the office. They include my son’s first 300 game last year and some of my 800 series, including my first one in 2008. But now when I look at those cover letters, all I’ll think about is Babe and how much she meant to the region’s largest bowling center.

It just wasn’t the same this week when a different cover letter arrived without her name on it and an apology for the scores being two weeks behind.

Babe is what she was known as to almost every longtime bowler at Stardust II, and most know that her daughter, Mary Hileman, and son-in-law, Bob Hileman, are pretty darn good bowlers. What many, including myself, didn’t know is that her real name was Frances, or that her husband of 59 years is named Robert, or that she had a furry dog named Harry.

What I do know is that no matter how stern she was behind the counter if you didn’t turn in league fees in a timely fashion, or if you hadn’t fully paid off your ball in the summer hav-a-ball league, she still cared for every bowler and knew them by name.

Former youth bowlers Billy Robinson, Tim Loudermilk, Jennifer Kirk and Lynn Strohl will miss her.

Her longtime youth league partner Bruce Kafantaris will definitely miss her.

Current and former Stardust II youth league parents, such as Paula and Dave Larson, Bob and Dawn Kammer, Dave Loudermilk, Dave and Karen Ruehl, Paul Mewes and Jeff Schipper, will miss her.

Paula Larson described Babe best: “She was everyone’s mother, grandmother, boss, friend, comrade — and a force to be reckoned with. If I am lucky to live until I am 85, I hope to be as loved and respected as Babe was.”

Billy Joel once sang that only the good die young. Not true, because Babe was one of the best in Northwest Indiana bowling, and she lived a long life of 85 years, surviving breast cancer and thousands of obnoxious bowlers who may have never realized how much Babe did for them behind that counter and behind the scenes.

P-T SSC around the corner: Are you ready for another Post-Tribune Sport Shot Classic? The third PTSSC and second annual winter event — last year’s inaugural PTSSC attracted 146 entries — will take place at 9:45 a.m., on Jan. 6 at Stardust III. Like the other two PTSSC tourneys, there are three divisions — men, women and youth — with and entry fee of $30 prepaid ($40 day of event) and first place paying $600, based on 120 entries in each.

Last January there were 46 youth entries alone as they got ready for the high school postseason. For more details on the tournament, call Shaun Ciesielski at Stardust III at 322-3666, or call me at 648-3141.

Snow Bowl at Stardust II: The 17th annual Snow Bowl no-tap singles tournament will be held at 10 p.m., on Saturday, Jan. 13 at Stardust II in Hobart. The late-night event has a $25 entry fee (through Jan. 5 with a $5 late fee for entries after that date). The tourney is open to men and women, 18 years and older, with handicap based on a 215 average. Out of every entry, $5 goes toward the Lakeshore Association scholarship fund.

And by popular demand, the late-night breakfast portion of the tourney will be back. For more details, contact tourney manager Ken Laviolette at 741-4915 or kdlcsl89@hotmail.com.



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